Budget 2013: Essex family pleased with rise in tax allowance but disappointed by pay increase cap

Hooly and Simon Keep with their three children

Hooly and Simon Keep with their three children

NEWS that the proposed increase in fuel duty has been scrapped and that the rise in personal tax allowance to £10,000 will be introduced a year earlier has been welcomed by the Keep household.

Simon and Holly Keep live in Middleton, Essex, near Sudbury, with three children under the age of seven: Oscar, Rainbow and Suki. Husband Simon, 37, is the main breadwinner. He is a sound designer who lectures half the week at the New Suffolk College in Ipswich and works freelance the rest of the time.

The family’s semi-detached house, which they own, is in a rural location, so any help with travelling costs will have a positive impact on the household purse.

Holly, 36, said: “Fuel is our biggest expense. Simon has to travel to Ipswich and London a lot – it’s the nature of his work – and I have to ferry the children around to school and back.

“Bringing forward the increase in personal tax allowance will also make a huge difference to us.”

But, there was less enthusiasm for the announcement that public sector pay will be capped at 1% until 2015-16.

“Simon has only started work at the college so we won’t feel it this year but he may have pay to train for his PGCE teaching certificate next year and without any extra income it is going to be tough for us,” added Holly, who is a freelance designer and stay-at-home mum.

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However, potential cheer came when the Chancellor announced new tax reliefs for the creative industries like high-end television animation and visual effects - the type of businesses Simon creates soundtracks for from his home office. “Simon does a lot of work with animators, so hopefully we will see a knock-on effect in terms of more work coming his way,” said Holly, who also thought the help small companies will now receive with National Insurance payments might benefit the firms her husband contracts work from.

“Many of the companies in the creative sector are small businesses, so that might make a difference also.

Holly has decided to stay at home to look after her youngest daughter Suki, who is now 18 months, so said the additional help promised for child care costs were not relevant to her.

She also takes a keen interest in environmental issues and had mixed feelings about the measures announced for the energy sector. She said: “The decision to invest in shale gas worries me. I know we must lower our emissions and move away from coal but the case for fracking is not proven. I think more research into the impact on ground stability and water safety has to be carried out before we get fully behind it.”

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