Budget: local politicians’ mixed reactions

LOCAL politicians have given mixed responses’ to last week’s budget from Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne.

Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon Malcolm Bruce praised the budget for the ‘boost’ it would give to the north-east’s economy. He was particularly enthusiastic about the increase in personal tax allowances - a move which will benefit those on low or middling wages.

“Raising the personal tax allowance again over the next year will see 200,000 people across the City and Shire benefit from tax cuts of up to £220 a year,” he said. “Nearly 15,000 people are being removed from paying income tax altogether. This will give people a real choice on how they manage their budgets rather than targeted tax relief and cuts.”

He added that the oil industry would benefit from the budget, saying that it demonstrated that Westminster had listened to the concerns of the oil industry following last year’s windfall tax.

“I am glad that the Coalition Government has been listening to the voices of experience in the industry and is continuing to engage with the sector,” he said. “Through the Budget measures announced, the Treasury has recognised the potential still to be exploited from the North Sea for the national benefit.

“Incentivising investment and easing the restrictions on decommissioning will allow investors to increase production in marginal fields which will also be a boon to subsidiary and supporting businesses as well. Moreover, the targeted support for deep sea water development will help to reinforce the North East’s global dominance in subsea technology.”

However, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP warned that the Chancellors decision to freeze personal tax allowances for the over-65s will hit pensioners hard.

Dr Whiteford said: “The Budget truly fails the fairness test when millions of pensioners are penalised while millionaires get a tax cut from the Tories.

“While, as expected, the Chancellor increased personal tax allowances, his decision to freeze the higher age allowances granted to those aged over 65 will hit pensioners hard.

“The devil is always in the detail with Treasury announcements, and the Chancellor must now say whether any assessment was made of the impact that this decision on pensioner households.”