Budget reaction: town’s response

PEOPLE in Scarborough have given a mixed reaction to yesterday’s Budget – with many hoping that the Government would have done more to help struggling families and businesses.

Chancellor George Osborne presented a mixed bag of changes, saying: “It’s not a tax-raising budget, but nor can we afford a giveaway.”

Help was offered to motorists with a 1p cut from pump prices taking effect at 6pm last night.

A planned 4p per litre rise due in April is to be delayed until 2012. However VAT on fuel will not be reduced.

There were no additional changes to alcohol duty rates and tobacco duty rates went up by two per cent above inflation.

Jill Mandy, chief executive officer at Scarborough Citizens Advice Bureau, said many families in Scarborough have been struggling with their finances due to job losses, inflation and rising fuel and food prices. She said: “The main thing that affects people is the inflation rate as wages and benefits aren’t going up.

“The price of fuel is a major issue in terms of poverty, so it’s good to see it addressed.

“However I don’t think there’s anything hugely dynamic in this budget.”

Fuel costs have also been putting pressure on Scarborough Dial a Ride, a charity which provides minibus transport in the community.

Manager Julie Banks said: “We’re paying out about £4,000 a month on diesel – it’s one of our biggest outgoings.

“We’ve been trying to plan routes differently to reduce mileage, but it’s been very difficult.

“I would have liked to see fuel prices go down to the level they were at a few months ago. Every time you go to the pumps the price seems to go up.”

The Budget also featured measures aimed at helping businesses, such as corporation tax being cut by two per cent in April, not one per cent as previously planned.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, president of the Scarborough Chamber of Trade, said: “I would really have liked to see VAT coming down, as this has been the biggest issue for our members.

“The corporation tax cut will help businesses generally and the changes to fuel duty will help because everything depends on it. But I had hoped they would address the issue of VAT.”

A £250 million scheme was also announced to help 10,000 first-time buyers get on to the property ladder.

Nick Fenwick, a partner at Colin Ellis estate agents in Aberdeen Walk, said: “There are lots of people wanting to get on the ladder in Scarborough, but are unable to do so.

“Hopefully this will help.”

l Chancellor’s surprise – page 8