As area MPs slammed the Chancellor’s Budget last week as doing nothing for ordinary citizens, the business world was more positive.
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero slammed the Government as out of touch and said the Budget would not help hardworking people facing a cost-of-living crisis.
After nearly four years of the Coalition Government families are on average £1,600 a year worse off, she claimed.
The Budget saw the point at which people start paying income tax raised to £10,500, while the threshold for 40p income tax is set to rise from £41,450 to £41,865 next month, and by a further one per cent to £42,285 next year.
She said: “The Chancellor talked about how well things are going but millions of working people on middle and lower incomes in Ashfield are not feeling any recovery at all while those earning over £150,000 a year have been given a tax cut.
“Nick Clegg and David Cameron can’t deliver a recovery for the many because they stand up for a privileged few, not hard-working families.”
Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale echoed her sentiments, describing the Budget as a “gazetteer of disappointments”. He said: “A penny off a pint of beer which would save the average alcoholic 8p a night. Nothing if they’re in a sorry state and drink only cheap cider.”
“For the low paid a couple of hundred pounds increase in their tax allowance whilst a cut is levied against them for much more than people earning more than £150,00 per annum.
He added:”So there you have it - welfare to the poorest capped. A further reduction in £1 billion in Government departments which means more cuts.
“This Budget does nothing for ordinary citizens in Mansfield and elsewhere especially those on lower incomes. What is required is investment in jobs, education and our public services. Lifting people out of poverty and creating a better society, not just for one for those better off.”
Business organisations in the area saw some positive aspects to the Budget.
Brian Stopford, Director of networking organisation Mansfield 2020, said:
‘Although the Chancellor is talking up the Economy, we are still not out of the woods yet. There was, however, some good news for business including the increase in the annual investment allowance to £500,000, the increase in the research and development payable tax credit and as was previously announced the £2000 National Insurance Employment Allowance”.
Chris Hobson,speaking for the Chamber of Commerce for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, said there were some encouraging measures, which business would take heart from.
He said: “An emphasis needs to be placed on the UK being a place where we make, build and sell to others. The first indications that this is happening will come from the East Midlands – the spine of the UK’s manufacturing and engineering industry.
Mr Hobson welcomed the focus on reducing high energy costs for businesses.
Doubling the level of export finance lending to £3bn and cutting interest rates on it by a third would support smaller businesses looking to enter new markets, he said.
He said extending the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers would enable more firms to recruit young apprentices.
What will the Budget mean for the East Midlands?
Key facts released by the Cabinet Office say:
The Budget will mean 201,000 people in East Midlands will be taken out of income tax when the Personal Allowance rises to £10,000 this April, and another 22,000 will come out of tax when the allowance rises again to £10.500. 1,780,000 people will see an average real terms gain of £61.
Apprenticeships Grant for Employers (AGE) will be expanded in 2014-15 and extended to 2015-16. This will build on 3,760 apprenticeship grant payments up to July 2013
Extending the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme to 2020. The scheme has already supported 1,476 purchases of new homes in East Midlands
From Autumn 2015, tax-free childcare will cover 20 per cent of working families’ childcare costs up to a limit of £10,000 a year. This will help 460,000 children in working families in East Midlands with 25 hours of childcare a week for a child under two saving on average £943 a year.
The business energy package in total will be worth at least £318 million in the East Midlands.
Announced at last year’s Budget and starting this April, the new Employment Allowance will offer £2,000 cash to up to 87,000` employers in East Midlands.