Budget earns a mixed response

It was described as a budget for beer drinkers, car drivers and home seekers.

Chancellor George Osbourne presented his forth budget to Parliament with key highlights being the scrapping of the proposed increase in fuel duty, beer duty being cut by a penny and the extending of shared equity schemes for home buyers.

It was also good news for the low-paid with the limit at which people start paying tax being raised to £10,000 next year- a year earlier than planned.

But the Chancellor’s halving of the growth forecast for 2013 to just 0.6% lead to the Labour leader Ed Milliband attacking him as a “downgraded chancellor”.

Sir Robert Smith, Liberal Democrat MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine supported the Chancellor: “I welcome the increase in next year’s income tax threshold to £10,000, which will deliver a tax cut to over 100,000 people in Aberdeenshire and remove 10,500 low earners from paying income tax altogether.

‘‘This is delivering a key election policy as part of the Liberal Democrat agenda on fairer taxes.”

Commenting on the scrapping of the planned fuel duty rise in September, he said: “Thise will be a relief for motorists in the North-east who have no option but to use their car.”

MSP for the North- east, Nannette Milne, praised her Conservative colleague saying it would “encourage growth”: “The UK Government have taken action to help small businesses to get access to lower interest rates – this will be welcomed by thousands of small businesses across the North-east.

CHALLENGES

“It is clear that the UK economy faces many challenges but action taken today by the UK Conservative Government will help protect jobs and encourage growth in the North-east.”

But Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson slammed the statement: “The coalition partners at Westminster now need to admit that the Austerity Agenda is not working and the Tory and LibDem coalition is cutting capital spending too far, too fast as we, in Scotland, have been saying all along.

“The incompetence of Westminster is for all to see, you cannot cut your way out of a recession.”