Budget 2014: Reaction in North Kirklees

Taproom landlord Chris Berry welcomed the 1p reduction in tax on a pint.
Taproom landlord Chris Berry welcomed the 1p reduction in tax on a pint.

Fuel duty was frozen, the income tax threshold is up and there were important changes to pensions in George Osbourne’s budget.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer laid out his vision for Britain and hailed it as “a budget for the makers, the doers and the savers”.

Beer drinkers, bingo players and business bosses were among the winners in the penultimate Budget before the next general election.

Mr Osbourne announced a cut in beer duty — meaning a pint will cost 1p less.

Chris Berry, landlord of the Taproom, in Batley, said: “We still have to do yearly increases but this means we won’t have to put it up by much. Generally speaking the government has finally caught on to how important the pub business is to the town centres. It helps us push on and be an important part of the town centre.”

The Chancellor also announced plans to increase the personal tax allowance to £10,500, freeze petrol duty and cut the tax on bingo halls from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.

Officials at the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) hailed the news that VAT will be waived on air ambulances and inshore rescue boats.

YAA chairman Peter Sunderland said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear the news that the Chancellor will be relieving the five per cent VAT that we currently pay on fuel.

“This will mean that as a charity, we will be saving around £7,000 per year. This money can now be used to help fund the running of both of our life-saving helicopters.”

But Batley Business Association chariman Andrew Marsden said the budget did nothing for the smaller business. He said: “If I am totally honest, it has not made much difference. Business rates is something we comment on all the time but was not discussed. We talk about why Kirklees Council cannot give people a bit of a break and maybe give 50 per cent off for new businesses.

“There doesn’t seem to be anything to encourage develop high streets in our towns. It might be helpful for the centre of Manchester but it is not really a budget for the smaller traders.” The government pledged to introduce business rate reform, although this revaluation is not expected to take place before 2017.

Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell said he thought Mr Osbourne got the budget right.

He said: “There is lots of special measures in the budget that are going to help a lot of people. We wanted to gain an understanding of where the country is and the country is on the mend. The budget gives us confidence we are going to go in the direction we need to go.

“Typically a chancellor before the election will try and pull a rabbit out of the hat. A short term plan for popularity but this time he was right not to do that.”

But Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood claimed the chancellor failed to take into account what is happening to ordinary people.

He said: “There is nothing to address to the cost of living crisis or any of the priorities people and families in Batley and Spen have.

“Instead we see hollow and patronising gimmicks in respect of beer and bingo, that will make no difference to anyone, and a deeply concerning proposal in respect of pensions that will serve only to leave people very much in the lurch.”