Chancellor woos pensioners

PENSIONERS and first time buyers were the main beneficiaries of Gordon Brown's "re-election budget" today as the Chancellor announced the raising of stamp duty thresholds, council tax rebates, and free bus travels for OAPs.

By Graham Dines

PENSIONERS and first time buyers were the main beneficiaries of Gordon Brown's "re-election budget" today as the Chancellor announced the raising of stamp duty thresholds, council tax rebates, and free bus travels for OAPs.

Mr Brown helped hard-pressed home buyers, doubling the point at which stamp duty is paid from £60,000 to £120,000.

All pensioner households will receive a £200 council tax rebate ad from next year, every pensioner and disabled person in the UK will be entitled to travel free of charge on the buses.


You may also want to watch:


He put off a number of revenue raising measures - there will be no rise in fuel duty until September, and a freeze on corporation tax, capital gains tax, air passenger duty, insurance premium tax and company car tax.

Revenue duties will rise however - he put 1p on a pint of beer, 4p on a bottle of wine, 7p on a packet of cigarettes but froze duty on spirits, cider and sparkling wine.

Most Read

The Chancellor hailed the low inflation rate and strong growth as he unveiled a Budget he said was designed to promote stability while giving extra help to Britain's hard-working families and pensioners.

With the General Election expected on May 5, Mr Brown insisted he would take no risks with the country's economy.

He said the UK's long-term prosperity could only be secured "if we make the right decisions to be world leaders in science, enterprise and education'.

But he added that family prosperity could only be secured if a strong economy was matched with investments to "help parents balance work and family life, to give every child the best possible start in life, and to deliver a fair deal for pensioners."

"My Budget choice is to lock in stability and never put it at risk; and to strike the right balance between tax cuts that are affordable, investments that are essential and stability that is paramount: at all times putting Britain's hard working families first.'

He contrasted inflation, unemployment and interest rates with those under the last Tory government and highlighted what he claimed was a 50% increase in personal wealth and a reduction in pensioner poverty.

He promised new measures to fill what he said was a total of 650,000 vacant jobs needing people with skills to take them.

These include an extension of the New Deal, which Michael Howard's Tories want to scrap, and new rules to encourage incapacity benefit claimants into work.

He also announced an extension to new areas the £2,000 first year return to work bonus for lone parents.

Mr Brown announced that 8,900 primary schools would be rebuilt, financed from a £9.4bn injection of cash from the Treasury.

Even the late Queen Mother was dragged into the "re-election budget" when the Chancellor announced that a permanent memorial would be erected in London in her honour.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus