Budget ‘good news’ for beer drinkers

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Beer drinkers, small businesses and drivers are celebrating after Chancellor George Osborne delivered his budget yesterday.

But those who jet off for holidays will be clobbered by another rise in air passenger duty and aviation chiefs are accusing the Chancellor or putting beer drinkers before air passengers.

Measures include –

* Scrapping of April’s 3p rise in beer duty – and a price cut of 1p

* Scrapping of September’s 3p rise in fuel duty

* Steps that will see 450,000 fewer businesses paying employer national insurance

Phil Scarlett, president of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce, said the news on beer, petrol and small businesses will boost the area’s economy.

Fuel duty rises add to prices in the shops as logistics companies have to pass on their costs.

Mr Scarlett said: “National insurance is the biggest one for small firms because it is a straightforward tax on your business. For some businesses it will be the difference between carrying on or going to the wall.”

Spalding’s Lincolnshire Poacher landlord John Fennell said: “The main thing is beer didn’t go up. Our trade is still being destroyed by supermarkets and the price they are selling it for.

“We do hope that this time people will return to the social side of drinking, come to the pub and have some fun.”

Moulton Chapel Motors had worried drivers at the pumps yesterday asking if the price was about to go up.

Director Rob Palmer said the freeze in fuel duty would please his customers.

He said: “They are all struggling.”

Taxpayers must wait until 2014 to have more cash in their pockets as the threshold for paying income tax rises to £10,000.

There’s help on the way for families, who will get 20 per cent tax relief on childcare up to £6,000 per child from 2015, and a token nod to pensioners as the single flat rate pension of £144 is launched in 2016 – a year earlier than planned.

Currently pensioners with less than £10,000 in the bank get a guaranteed minimum single pension credit of £142.70.

County council leader Martin Hill said: “Living in a large, rural county I very much welcome the freeze on fuel duty. I support the help that was set out for small businesses, which will benefit both the national and local economy, and I am pleased that a further £3billion will be invested in infrastructure projects.”