A Budget box of good and bad news

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his annual Budget yesterday. Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Wire
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his annual Budget yesterday. Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Wire

YESTERDAY’S Budget brought a mixed bag of implications for residents in Scarborough.

Chancellor George Osborne introduced a range of measures which will affect the pockets of families in a variety of ways.

One of the announcements was that personal income tax allowance will be raised by £1,100 from April 2013, meaning people can collect their earnings tax free up to the value of £9,205 a year.

The move is set to see 24 million better off by £220 a year.

Also from April 2013 the 50p top rate of tax will be cut to 45p, however 300,000 more people will be drawn into the higher rate tax band as the threshold is reduced from £42,475 to £41,450.

Smokers have been hit again as duty on all tobacco products rose by 5 per cent above inflation as of 6pm yesterday, the equivalent of an extra 37p on a packet of cigarettes.

There were no changes to the existing plans on alcohol duty, which will rise as planned two per cent above inflation.

The move will put more than 5p on the price of a pint.

Jimmy Rice, landlord of the Castle Tavern in Castle Road, said: “We have been hit by rises in alcohol duty for a number of years so it’s of some relief that it’s not going up any more than the two per cent that will already be added on. As an industry we are struggling and that two per cent will be felt enough as it is.”

There was little good news for pensioners as age-related income tax allowances are to be removed for new pensioners from April 2013.

Allowances for those already of pension age are to be frozen, a move which is expected to affect 4.41 million people, putting them out of pocket by £83.

Audrey Cooke, chairman of the Scarborough and District older peoples forum Voice, said: “It seems that pensioners are missing out again. In real terms we will end up taking less money because pensions don’t go up in line with the inflation of living costs.”

Moves to relax Sunday trading laws in line with the Olympics were announced as expected, meaning stores will be able to open longer on eight Sundays from July 22.

Chris Golder, chairman of Scarborough’s Chamber of Trade, said: “I think that will be good news for all the traders in Scarborough. The timing is just right for us as we are a seaside town, and when summer comes the town comes alive.

“It will be a big benefit for local traders who operate in the summer to try and last through the winter. Scarborough will be at its busiest when the Olympics are on, so it’s good news.”

Mr Osborne showed the Government’s support for the armed forces by announcing an extra £100 million will be put towards improving military accommodation, while personnel service overseas will receive 100 per cent relief on council tax bills.

John Senior, founder of the Scarborough-based charity Heroes Welcome, said: “The armed forces will welcome these moves with open arms.

“While they are serving away they aren’t using local services so it’s only right rates don’t have to be paid.

“These men and women are away on operation in extremely dangerous conditions, it’s the least we can do to give a rate relief.”

Businesses were also given a small boost as corporation tax is to be cut to 24 per cent from next month, which will fall to 22 per cent by 2014.

l See also page 14.