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Budget response from Labour
Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“George Osborne has tried to bury his £3 billion ‘Granny Tax’ raid on pensioners over the next four years. The freeze in the personal allowance for pensioners will see 4.4 million pensioners who pay income tax losing an average of £83 per year next April. And people turning 65 next year will lose up to £322.
“And he added insult to injury by dressing up a tax grab as a ‘simplification’ and claiming that he was taking this money away from pensioners because they could not understand the allowances they were entitled to.”
The Chancellor claimed in last year’s Budget to have introduced a fair fuel stabiliser which limited fuel prices rises at a time of high oil prices. But highlighting high oil prices in his speech he offered no relief for motorists and families suffering under high petrol prices.
This means at a time when pump prices are at near record highs he is planning a duty increase of almost 3p per litre of fuel in just five months time.
He has already hit families at the pump by hiking VAT in January 2011 which increased the price of a litre of fuel by almost 3 pence.
Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister said:
“George Osborne says he can afford to give a tax cut for people earning over £150,000, but he can’t afford to cut fuel duty for hard-pressed families.
“Drivers already facing record petrol prices are now facing a 3p rise in fuel duty in August. Labour’s five point plan for jobs includes a temporary VAT which would take 3p off the price of a litre of petrol – and jump-start our stalled economy.”
The Armed Forces
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, said in response to measures announced for the Armed Forces in today’s Budget statement:
“We welcome any additional investment for our Forces but the Government are giving with one hand and taking more with the other. The Government have made a net cut to Forces’ housing of £41m.
“Measures announced today will give little consolation to those facing permanent pension cuts, those on the frontline who have had their allowances slashed and the thousands being made redundant.”
Owen Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister said:
“The decision to slap VAT on more regular purchases is another stealth tax on middle and lower income families. The OBR has confirmed that this will drive up inflation and hit consumption. It will increase the cost of a haircut, a bacon sandwich, a sausage roll, or a caravan holiday. These are the kinds of changes which will hit families in the middle.
“The Chancellor already raised VAT to 20% in 2011 and this is costing families with children an average of £450 a year - and this will only add to that figure. Labour has called for a temporary cut in VAT as part of our five point plan for jobs and growth, to ease the squeeze on families and get our stalled economy moving again.”