What Bracknell Thinks: Osborne’s Autumn StatementBy Becky Barnes
December 19, 2012
Our opinion piece features a panel of local people who will take turns to debate current topics.
To join the panel or suggest a topic, email email@example.com
This week we asked our panel what they thought about George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.
We asked whether they were cheering alongside his colleagues or if they had worries about next year’s budget in April.
Peter Smith, of The Better Business Alliance: “We cannot do much about what the Chancellor throws at us although most of us have choices. If we do around 1,000 miles per month with a car that averages 35mpg then we will save about 90p per week; not a lot but we should be grateful for small mercies.
"The increased allowance to £9,440 on the other hand is worth a hefty £5.13 per week. Pensioners will get a 2.5 per cent rise which should help a bit although the price of goods are rising somewhat faster than 2.5 per cent. And freezing child benefit means a cut in the money available to feed the country’s children, not necessarily a good move.”
Winkfield artist and author Jonathan Greenyer: “The country is not going to get out of its current state with the minor changes announced in the Autumn Statement. We need to get more people into worthwhile work so they can pay taxes and become valued citizens.
"With banks still not lending money to small businesses, global companies making decisions in the UK beyond our government’s control and our senior directors taking ever bigger pay rises in shares and unwarranted bonuses - something much more radical has to be done.
"Let’s face the reality of our country’s future because our leaders are just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.”
Ed Glasson, secretary, Unite the Union, Bracknell branch: “No real surprises. The essentials are these. If you’re struggling to get by on an income of a million a year, you’ll get a £100,000 tax break. If you’re on benefits, your increase over the next three years will be one per cent per annum: that’s equivalent to a cut in real terms of getting on 10 per cent.
"And, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of people on benefits are not work shy scroungers, they’re people who are working damned hard, not to ‘live’ in any real sense, but to barely exist. While cutting the living standards of the poorest, the Chancellor is cutting corporation tax to an all-time low of 21 per cent.”
Pat Kennewell, of Birch Hill and Hanworth Liaison Group: “I am pleased to see the lower paid are being treated more sympathetically. Not raising tax on fuel helps too for both families and businesses but Government must realise that we have been squeezed as far as we can possibly be. It is becoming a real struggle to find something we can cut in order to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
"Why are we still paying huge amounts of money in foreign aid. Stop! When we can get back to a full NHS service and keeping care homes open which are among many swinging cuts, the list is too long, then Government can consider foreign aid but for now it is sorely needed here.”