Angus MP, Mike Weir, has attacked the main points in the budget saying that they “disclose the perverse priorities of the Tory/Lib Dem coalition”, and do little for the people of Angus.
He said: “Throughout Angus there was huge support for action on the crippling increases in fuel prices which are having a terrible impact on local families and businesses.
“The rising costs of fuel does not only directly impact on people’s budgets but also feeds through to everything that we need to purchase since the increased costs of transport are passed on the consumer.
“In Angus there is no alternative to road transport for most communities so prices inevitably increase. Rising fuel costs also impact on ability to travel to work, which is essential in a rural area such as Angus.”
“Instead of tackling this problem the Chancellor decided to concentrate on a 5p reduction in the top rate of tax for the very rich. This discloses the perverse priorities of the Tory/ Lib Dem Coalition.
“Travel by road is absolutely essential in rural areas such as Angus. There is absolutely nothing green in undermining local communities which will be what happens if the issue of affordable fuel is not addressed urgently.
“What is worse is that the decision to cut the top rate is based on the fact that in the first year of the rate a lot of high earners brought forward income from dividends to avoid the tax.
“It fails to take into account this can only be done once when the tax is first introduced and, at the very least, there would need to be two or three years of the tax in order to fully understand its effects.”
Mr Weir also pointed out that the changes in personal tax will do little for most families in Angus. He said: “The increase in tax allowance is welcome, but the reality is that it will mean around £4 per week which will do little at a time of wage freezes and price increases. Many families in Angus are also suffering huge cuts in their child tax credits which far outweigh the gains from the change in allowances.
“Slipped into the budget was also an announcement of a freezing and effective phasing out of the age allowance for pensioners over the next few years.
“The introduction of regional pay rates in the public sector could also seriously impact Angus by effectively taking a lot of money out of the local economy.”
Mr Weir added that no budget is without a few good points:
“The recognition of the importance of the oil and gas industry and the promise of stability on decommissioning and field allowances is welcome, as is the doubling of council tax relief for military families.”