Budget help for business but many still struggling

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivers his Budget statement to the House of Commons,
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivers his Budget statement to the House of Commons,

WIGAN’S MP launched a furious attack on the 2014 Budget, accusing the Government of doing nothing to help people on lower incomes.

Among the headline measures announced in the House of Commons by Chancellor George Osborne were the raising of the income tax threshold to £10,500, the abolition of the 10p tax rate for savers and a 1p cut per pint in beer duty.

Pensioners and savers are set to benefit most from a more generous system of ISAs and the slashing of pension-related taxes, while motorists and travellers are also set to cash in.

Mr Osborne also told MPs he expects the British economy to grow, with a GDP rise of 2.7 per cent this year and 2.3 next year, with further improvements of at least 2.5 per cent each year until 2018.

However, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy was unimpressed, saying there were precious few benefits for the majority of the borough’s residents.

Ms Nandy said: “This was the Chancellor’s last chance to show he understands the cost of living crisis facing people in Wigan. Instead he has chosen to cut taxes for the rich leaving the rest of us worse off.

“We urgently need real action to get young people into work and apprenticeships, build homes and help small businesses. Too many Wigan families struggle with high energy bills, childcare and housing costs. This budget will do nothing to help them.”

Prior to the Budget, local MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Andy Burnham joined colleagues in calling for a better deal for towns such as Wigan.

Ms Fovargue, MP for Makerfield, said: “If we are all in it together then those struggling to get out of poverty and facing increasing financial hardship should be getting an increase in funding based on the economic upturn.

“Now is the opportunity for the Chancellor to bring some of these hard-hit councils, including Wigan, back from the brink.”

However, Mr Osborne’s policies received a warmer welcome from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), saying entrepreneurs in the borough may benefit from a £3bn pot announced to help companies export.

Chairman of FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan, Elaine Moore, said: “it is timely that measures to help businesses overcome the cultural and financial barriers to export have been announced.

“Our research shows small business confidence is increasing and they are ambitious to invest and create jobs. Paving the way to making international trade more open to even the smallest firms is of central importance.”