Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Darling Budget Fails to Woo Region; CHANCELLOR'S SPEECH RECEIVES A LUKEWARM RESPONSE FROM

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Darling Budget Fails to Woo Region; CHANCELLOR'S SPEECH RECEIVES A LUKEWARM RESPONSE FROM

Article excerpt

Byline: By GARETH DEIGHAN

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling's first Budget has got a mixed response from the people of Tyneside.

Mr Darling delayed an increase in fuel tax but increased the price of cigarettes and alcohol.

In his first Budget Mr Darling said he would introduce a range of measures to maintain growth and keep inflation and interest rates low.

And despite the Northern Rock crisis blowing a pounds 25bn hole in the country's finances, the Chancellor said Britain was better-placed to deal with the economic crisis than most other countries.

Mr Darling looked to give hardworking families a helping hand and to introduce a raft of green initiatives to help cut carbon emissions.

The Chancellor announced the price of 20 cigarettes would increase by 11p and five cigars would go up 4p. Pints of beer will increase by 4p a pint, cider by 3p a litre, wine by 14p a bottle and spirits by 55p a bottle.

He also said that alcohol duties would increase by 2% above the rate of inflation in each of the next four years.

Extra millions of pounds of investment was announced for schools and defence. He also increased the money received by families through changes to child tax credits.

Also announced were an additional one-off payment of pounds 100 to households with someone 80 or over and pounds 50 to households with someone 60 or over, to be paid alongside the Winter Fuel Payment, which also increased, in 2008-09.

There were also substantial green measures put in place to help reduce British carbon emissions by 80% instead of 60% by 2050, including further investment in transport and car tax allowances for people with more carbon-friendly cars More help for small businesses was also announced, with capital gains tax remaining at 10%, and pounds 60m more was also guaranteed for the small firms loan guarantee scheme - which will be extended to all small companies Richard Bottomley, new president of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said he thought the Budget was relatively uneventful. …

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