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Budget 2010: Income Tax Removed For Lowest Paid

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Exciting times ahead for some, me not expecting much

but lets see

from different papers to get a clear picture & then add on as it progresses

whats on the chop


whats hot & whats not:

Budget 2010: Income tax removed for lowest paid

Changes 'will hit richest hardest', but steep VAT rise also expected in emergency budget

Patrick Wintour and Larry Elliott


The chancellor, George Osborne, is to promise that tomorrow's deficit-busting emergency budget will hit the richest 10% hardest and take 850,000 of the lowest paid out of income tax altogether.

Osborne will announce a £200 tax cut for 20 million basic rate taxpayers in an attempt to show that the toughest budget in a generation is "tough but fair". His aides claim Osborne has consciously learned from the mistaken austerity budgets of the 1980s, which did not do enough to distribute the pain fairly.

Tomorrow's announcement raising the personal income tax allowance by £1,000 to £6,475, at a cost of £3.7bn, is also being billed as the start of a staged drive to meet the coalition's long-term objective – and a key Liberal Democrat policy – of raising personal allowances to £10,000. Those on higher incomes would not benefit from the tax break, and would have their tax thresholds lowered to leave them no better off.

The business secretary, Vince Cable, has been the chief architect of the scheme to increase personal allowances as a way of injecting greater fairness into the tax system. It appears Cable's aides are willing to see a VAT rise tomorrow to help pay for the reforms.

The Treasury refused to say if it was planning to raise VAT, but the shadow chancellor, Alistair Darling, said he would be astonished if Osborne did not push it up from 17.5% to 20%. The cost of the personal allowances could alternatively be funded through a proposed levy on bank profits.

Osborne will also announce that he will not add to the already enormous capital spending cuts that Labour had earmarked in the March budget, another victory for Cable. Despite speculation that the Treasury would demand even deeper cuts in infrastructure projects such as roads and railways, Osborne will agree that capital spending increases should come down from 3% of GDP in 2009-10 to 1.25% by 2013-14. Osborne will also tomorrow publish detailed tables designed to show the distributional impact of the tax changes, and that the impact is broadly flat across income groups. "The chancellor is keen to show that everyone will make a contribution to reducing the deficit," one Osborne aide said. "But the richest will pay more, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of their income."

Osborne is expected to claim that 80% of the reduction of the structural deficit will be achieved by spending cuts and 20% by tax rises. He will also assert that the measures announced tomorrow will make it possible to eliminate the structural deficit by the end of the parliament.

The coalition will go into the budget with cautious public support for its programme of immediate cuts, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. It shows that 59% of voters back cuts even if they lead to worse public services. Although 63% agree that the poor will suffer the most from the budget, only 22% think that people should be asked to pay more in tax.

In a sign of the pressures on the public sector, Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, told chairs of public sector bodies tonight that they faced significant challenges after the budget. "If you think it's been tough to now, you ain't seen nothing yet."

The Lib Dems are especially aware that spending cuts in some departments of over 15%, a near-two-year freeze in public sector pay, higher jobless forecasts and early reductions in welfare benefits will combine to shock many of the party's traditional supporters.

In a sign of the nerves inside the Lib Dem high command, Nick Clegg today emailed all party members. "Cuts must come. We have taken the difficult decisions with care, and with fairness at their heart. You will see the stamp of our Liberal Democrat values in tomorrow's budget. But nonetheless, it will be controversial. This is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do, but I assure you, the alternative is worse".

Osborne's aides openly admitted the chancellor was keen to draw a contrast with Tory budgets of the 1980s, which were heavily skewed in favour of the better-off. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that anybody in the top half of the income scale did better under the Tories from 1979 to 1997, while those in the bottom half did better under Labour from 1997 to 2010.

Ed Balls, a candidate for the Labour leadership, said: "If George Osborne tries to buy off the Liberal Democrats by raising personal allowances but at the same time puts up VAT the result will be deeply unfair, not only hurting low-income families but also pensioners and the unemployed, who don't pay income tax."

Osborne is also expected to curtail a benefits such as tax credits for the better-off. An autumn spending review will set out details of where the departmental axe will fall, but it will be possible to tell the scale of the coming cuts tomorrow.


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Daily Mail latest update

VAT hike in Budget 'would cost families £400-a-year' as Osborne also prepares £4bn benefits bonfire

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 1:42 AM on 22nd June 2010

  • VAT may hit 20% but rise will be delayed for a year
  • Child tax credits for middle earners set to be axed
  • Osborne insists welfare bill is 'out of control'
  • He admits CGT hike will be 'controversial' for Tories

A VAT hike in tomorrow's Budget would cost the average family more than £400-a-year, experts warned today.

Raising the duty to 20 per cent would batter typical households already set to lose out under the biggest ever crackdown on Britain's 'out of control' benefits bill.

Consumer website Kelkoo found the increase would add 2.5p to a litre of petrol and 7p to a pint of lager as well as hundreds to big ticket items like cars.

A report for the website by the Centre of Retail Research found 98 per cent of shops would hike their prices within the first year to reflect the rise found and 64 per cent would act immediately.

Nick Clegg had attacked the prospect of a VAT hike under the Tories during the election but even his Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, now the Business Secretary, had been unable to rule it out.

An increase in the duty, which is likely to be deferred until next year, is considered almost certain and a hike to 20 per cent would raise an extra £11.5billion for the Exchequer.

Bruce Fair, managing director of Kelkoo UK, said: 'With a projected £2.4billion gap to plug through higher taxation, VAT seems like an obvious choice. However, as with all tax increases there will be repercussions for consumers, retailers and the economy.'

David Cameron and Mr Clegg holed up in Downing Street this morning with George Osborne and his Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander to put the finishing touches to the Budget.

It is already being dubbed the 'Bloodbath Budget' and, with the axe also coming down on benefits, middle earners stand to be around £800-a-year worse off.

The Chancellor has warned welfare is such a large area of government spending after years of Labour profligacy - now standing at £180billion a year - that major cuts are necessary.

Benefit payments to middle earners, including child tax credits worth hundreds of pounds a year to two million families, will be scrapped.

And while a blanket freeze in the levels of all handouts is not expected, other payments will be targeted.

The aim is to save at least £4billion a year - which is already prompting howls of protests from trades unions and Labour MPs.

Shadow chancellor Alistair Darling, writing in the Evening Standard today, insisted cutting spending now will put the economy at risk.

'The Tories have painted an apocalyptic picture of public finances and claim high borrowing is to be found here and no-where else. That, as they know, is nonsense,' he claimed.

'They are using this as an excuse to do what they have always wanted to do - have a real go at the public sector. It is essential that we maintain growth. Without it the deficit will never come down, as we have seen in Japan.

'The Tories often quote Canada. The truth is the Canadians got their borrowing down on the back of a growing US economy. And it is nonsense too to suggest that if you cut public spending the private sector will take its place automatically.'

On benefits, Mr Osborne insisted the coalition government would no longer tolerate people sitting with the 'blinds pulled down' living a life on welfare.

He believes that deep cuts to the welfare bill will help protect spending in other areas, such as education, defence and health.

'We have to tackle this welfare bill. It has got completely out of control in recent years,' Mr Osborne told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

'What I want to do is reward work. I want to support the person who leaves their house at six or seven in the morning, goes out and does perhaps a low paid job in order to provide for their family and is incredibly frustrated when they see on the other side of the street the blinds pulled down and someone sitting there and living on a life on out-of-work benefits.

'It is completely unacceptable that we condemn five million people in this country to a life on out-of-work benefits.'

The Right-wing think-tank Reform, which is close to the Conservatives, has suggested reducing spending on child benefit, child tax credit, the winter fuel allowance for pensioners and more.

Last week, the Daily Mail revealed research showing that the welfare system had strayed so far from its original purpose under Labour that £53billion taken from above-average earners in tax is now paid back to them in benefits - minus huge administration costs.

David Willetts, a minister at the Business Department, signalled that middle class welfare is firmly in the Government's sights.

'It's very hard to defend benefits going all the way up the income scale,' he told the BBC's Politics Show.

Mr Willetts said he would not 'preempt' decisions about the future of child benefit, which is currently paid regardless of income.

'But what I can say is, one of the key tests for us as we head into these very tough decisions, is making sure that the burden is not borne unfairly by people on low incomes and making sure that more affluent people do take the fair share of the reductions,' he added.

'That's why we've already indicated that tax credits for people on higher incomes are sadly going to have to go.

'I certainly believe that at times like this, you do need to ensure that benefits, particularly tax credits, are very much focused on families with the lowest incomes.'

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said unions would resist benefit cuts.

'It is a disgrace that the coalition government plans to target low-paid public sector workers and those receiving welfare benefits,' he said.

Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell also promised a revolt from his party's back benches.

'Just because my party has formed a coalition with the Conservatives does not mean my principles and conscience can be parked elsewhere,' he said.

Fears over rise in CGT hits house pricesA rise in capital gains tax is to go ahead in the Budget despite protests from senior Tory MPs and signs that house prices are already being hit.

George Osborne yesterday gave short shrift to Right-wing MPs who have protested about an increase.

The Chancellor also condemned Labour's capital gains tax rate of 18 per cent, saying it had allowed 'massive income tax evasion'.

His remarks will fuel fears of a hike that will hit millions who have saved for their future by investing in property or shares.

Research suggests rumours of an impending rise in capital gains tax has hit asking prices for property this month.

The average cost of a property in England and Wales rose by only 0.3 per cent during the five weeks to June 12, following a 0.7 per cent jump in asking prices during the previous month, according to property website Rightmove.

The group said that although June marked the sixth consecutive month during which asking prices rose, the rise was a far cry from the 2.6 per cent gain seen during April.

The slowdown coincided with a 22 per cent jump in the number of people putting their home up for sale, following the abolition of controversial home information packs.

Rightmove said the housing market was beginning to turn due to increased competition among sellers and a slowdown in the number of potential buyers.

The situation was exacerbated by expectations that capital gains tax will be increased to be in line with income tax rates in tomorrow's Budget, which is thought to have made investors more cautious about expanding their portfolios.

Miles Shipside, commercial director of Rightmove, said: 'The continuing mortgage famine has now been joined by a surge in sellers following the abolition of HIPs and investor reticence driven by rumours of CGT increases.

'Together, these factors are likely to put an end to this year's recovery in house prices.'

Critics of the plan to raise capital gains tax to 40 or even 50 per cent, who include former ministers David Davis and John Redwood, had thought they were winning the argument last week.

David Cameron and Mr Osborne had insisted they did not want to punish savers - insisting the focus would be on those who sought to dodge income tax by shifting income into capital.

There has been an increasing expectation that the Chancellor would therefore agree to calls for a system of taper relief, meaning that those who have held assets for many years would pay lower rates.

But yesterday, Mr Osborne only mentioned exemptions to protect entrepreneurs and warned his changes would prove 'controversial' in his own party.

'With capital gains tax, what we've said is we want to protect business assets - that's important - and here is a tax where at the moment we see massive income tax evasion,' he said.

'We see people shifting their income. These are very rich people who often shift their income from income tax where they'd be paying 40 or 50 per cent to Labour's capital gains tax rate of 18 per cent. And that's not fair given the current situation, so we'll deal with that.'

Treasury sources insisted there would be 'generous' exemptions for entrepreneurs and long-term savers.

NI boost for firms taking on new staff

Businesses in struggling parts of Britain will not have to pay National Insurance contributions for the first ten new jobs they create.

Chancellor George Osborne will unveil the measure in tomorrow's Budget in a bid to kick-start the economy outside London and the South East of England.

It is hoped the £900million tax break will encourage businesses to hire staff, despite the uncertain economic outlook.

It is expected to run for three years and will be worth around £50,000 for every business, or £5,000 for each new employee. Around 400,000 companies stand to benefit from the measure in areas such as the North-East, where nearly a quarter of all workers work in public sector jobs.

In contrast, just 16 per cent of workers in the South-East are employed in the public sector. More prosperous towns and cities outside London, including Oxford, Peterborough and Reading, will not be eligible.

Business Minister David Willetts yesterday confirmed the regional jobs boost would be part of the Budget.

He told the BBC Politics Show that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - a Sheffield MP - had been a strong advocate for more help to regions outside southern England. Mr Willetts said: 'We are specifically going to lower the burden of National Insurance for companies outside the South East and East of England that take on new employees.'

Mr Osborne wants to wean people off the public sector jobs and stimulate private sector employment.

The Treasury wants to target parts of the country where people are more reliant on the public sector for work, ahead of an massive anticipated cut in public spending.

A modest rise in the National Insurance threshold of £21 is also expected. Labour had planned to raise employers' national insurance contributions by one per cent for every business paying anyone more than £5,700.

But changing the threshold by £21 is expected to save employers up to £150 for every member of staff.

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling warned that there was not always a 'seesaw' effect, when public sector spending and jobs begin to dry up. He said: 'It is not inevitable that the public sector steps in when government cuts back.' Earlier this month leading businessmen who backed Tory plans to rein in Labour's NI rises turned on the Coalition over looming hikes in capital gains tax.

One, Luke Johnson, founder of Risk Capital Partners, told the Daily Mail that tax increases drawn up by the LibDems could have a 'chilling effect' on the economy. This is particularly embarrassing for the Tories, who trumpeted the businessmen's support over NI during the election campaign.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1288202/BUDGET-2010-VAT-hike-cost-families-400-year.html#ixzz0rXVbPxP7

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The Scotsman take on the budget:

In the Budget, described as "tough but fair", the Chancellor will raise the threshold for paying tax by £1,000 to £7,475, The Scotsman understands.

The move would give each earner an extra £200 a year in their pocket from April 2011.

But analysts say this would be wiped out if, as many experts believe, Mr Osborne also increases VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent at an estimated £425 annual cost to each household.

It is also expected that Mr Osborne will announce that capital spending on projects such as schools and hospitals will not be cut further. It is understood this is because he wants to protect construction jobs and losing these projects disproportionately hits lower- and middle-income earners.

The move will mean that money for capital projects in Scotland will also be ringfenced, because of the Barnett Formula, but the Scottish Government will decide how it is spent.

In an attempt to see off criticism over the "unfairness" of his Budget, Mr Osborne will become the first Chancellor to publish a breakdown of how individual income groups are hit.

It is understood that this will show that wealthier groups, possibly those earning £60,000 and upwards, will bear the burden of much of the pain.

He has already made it clear that Labour's planned increase in employer contributions to National Insurance will be cancelled at a cost of £6 billion.

However, there was a dire warning yesterday from Mr Osborne's predecessor that the fairness of the Budget would be in the detail.

In a briefing to journalists in Westminster, Alistair Darling claimed he expected some money-saving ideas rejected by him in office to appear, to help plug the gap.

These will include a measure to wipe £1bn from the £100bn welfare bill by linking increases to a lower rate of inflation. Currently, it is linked to the retail price index (RPI), which gives better rates of increase than the consumer price index (CPI).

He also suggested that Mr Osborne would have to increase VAT to 20 per cent. And he said he would be "looking out for any delay" until after September.

However, it was on the cuts and strategy for further slashing public spending that Mr Darling was most concerned.

He again pointed out that the £155bn deficit was £30bn less than expected and warned that there was a danger of Britain tipping back into recession as a result of excessive cutting.

He said: "No-one's arguing about whether you get the deficit down, what they are arguing about is policies that go further and faster, ones that appear to be driven by an ideological war against the public sector.

"My worry is that they seem to be oblivious to the fact that if you cut and you don't have a counterbalancing strategy for growth, you will get into the problems that we're now beginning to see in Europe."

The Tories were using the economic situation as a "cover" for policies to which they were always committed, and were using the Lib Dems as a "front" to make them acceptable, he said.

But there were concerns from other quarters that additional tax rises could prove to be more of a problem.

Many analysts now expect VAT to rise to 20 per cent, despite the Tories denying this during the election and the Lib Dems running an anti-Conservative campaign warning of "the VAT bombshell".

However, the move would bring the UK more in line with the rest of Europe, while it would raise an additional £11.4bn, bringing the total tax take from VAT to £91.29bn, according to comparison website Kelkoo.

But it would cost the typical household an average of £1.16 a day, or £425 a year, and reduce their spending power by about 1.25 per cent a year.

The move would add about 2.5p to a litre of petrol and 7p to a pint of lager, while big-ticket items, such as a Ford Focus, which would previously have sold for £17,945, would be £383 more expensive.

In addition, it is expected that there will be increases in capital gains tax, a move to which Mr Darling gave some support, if it was a measure to clamp down on income tax avoidance.

But the well-trailed potential increase in capital gains has been greeted with a chorus of disapproval from the Tory Right, including former Scottish secretary Lord Michael Forsyth and John Redwood.

And there was a warning that raising VAT could hit businesses.

Bruce Fair, the managing director of Kelkoo UK, said: "With a projected £2.4bn gap to plug through higher taxation, VAT seems like an obvious choice.

"However, as with all tax increases, there will be repercussions for consumers, retailers and the economy."

What he should do – the experts' view

Dave Prentis: Protect the public sector

THE coalition government seems determined to attack public spending, vital services and public-sector pensions – regardless of the economic consequences.

We need a Budget that stands up for public services, the people who provide them and the poor, the sick and the vulnerable who rely on them for support.

Adding public-sector workers to the growing numbers out of work will cost the country dear – £6.6bn in lost tax revenue, as well as piling £8.8bn on the benefits bill.

A "Robin Hood" tax on banks would raise an estimated £30 billion a year and would go a long way towards digging this country out of recession. The people responsible for causing the economic crisis should pay to end it.

• Dave Prentis is general secretary of the public sector union Unison

David Lonsdale: Balance needed for recovery

THE key thing for us is that we have a Budget that balances the books and balances public finances.

There's a need to set out measures to restore growth and to maintain capital expenditure.

Capital projects and infrastructure investment are also needed. Another key thing for us is ensuring that there are not taxes on business, which would hamper investment and growth. A move towards restoring the competitive nature of the UK's tax system is also needed.

Low-tax principles have been eroded to some extent, and we need to move back towards them. Although it would be unrealistic to expect tax cuts now, there's a need to give a clear signal by saying what the likely headline rate of corporation tax will be.

• David Lonsdale is the assistant director of CBI Scotland

Jenny Stewart: Public-sector cuts needed

BY NOW it is clear that Chancellor George Osborne will announce steep tax rises and outline horrendous spending cuts. The good news is that the government is taking the task to reduce the enormous budget deficit seriously.

But the challenge will be to use this Budget as a platform to set out a blueprint for a radical public-sector reform.

The Chancellor will send a very stark message to the public sector – that public-services provision, as we know it, is not sustainable any longer.

If we are to avoid swingeing cuts in front-line services, big and bold steps will be required. We need an ambitious and radical programme of public-service reform to introduce much greater financial discipline to drive up productivity.

• Jenny Stewart is head of public sector for KPMG in Scotland

Arthur Midwinter: Budget will damage economy

THE government's package of premature fiscal repairs will hamper recovery and damage public services.

The government plans to cut £4 in spending for every £1 raised in extra taxation. This will be unfair to low-income households, who depend most on public spending.

This is not a fiscal necessity. Britain's fiscal position is much better than governmental spin infers, and the deficit has already fallen by £21 billion since the Conservatives decided to cut £6bn this year during the election. They will be difficult to deliver in practice and will lead to crude cutting of budgets, rather than "waste". Frontline services will continue to be cut – not protected.

• Professor Arthur Midwinter, University of Edinburgh, former adviser to the Scottish Parliament's finance committee.


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Budget 2010: It is not just the public sector 'fat cats' who will feel the pain

By Sean O'Grady, Economics Editor

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

According to the Chancellor, the public sector has put the nation on "the road to ruin". The Prime Minister insists that it is "fair" that public workers on £18,000 should have their pay frozen when inflation is running at 5 per cent. The Deputy Prime Minister argues that public sector pensions are "unfair and unaffordable".

The choreographed process of softening up for today's Budget has been skilful; barely a day goes by without another grim warning about the dangers to the nation from the build-up of debt, and with it a new round of cuts. Britain is the new Greece, we are told. We need to act, and now.

Yet even if ministers are correct in this analysis – and there are plenty of respected economists who doubt it – it inevitably leaves public servants feeling demonised, scapegoated and abused, despite routine declarations about their hard work and devotion.

True, there are well-documented cases of public sector staff who are paid obscene amounts – local authority chief executives and BBC bureaucrats are egregious examples. Three public servants now earn more than £1m, and 171 are paid in excess of £150,000 a year, more than the Prime Minister. Yet these lucky few have to be set in a context of 6 million public sector workers, the vast majority on unenviable "packages" – the man who empties the bins on £12,000 a year; the nurse auxiliary on £13,000; the classroom assistant on £14,000. Their pensions, when they arrive, will be a few thousand pounds a year, and taxable.

Average regular pay in the public sector, excluding financial services, was £454 per week in April 2010. By comparison, average regular pay on the same basis in the private sector was £419 per week. That is not such an enormous gulf. Public sector pay did catch up with the private sector under Labour, although the gap has not narrowed much in more recent years. But much of that was in response to public shame about the poverty pay that nurses, for example, received. Politicians and parents agreed that gifted headteachers should be rewarded well. Our armed forces remain underpaid by most standards.

In the lean years under the last Conservative government, many low-paid public workers could not even afford the contributions to their supposedly lavish pension schemes. Now reformed, you will receive just 1/80th of your final salary for every year you spend in the NHS. Thus after 20 years, a qualified, experienced nurse will see a pension of just one-quarter of final salary, say £7,500 or so.

The money that goes into the public sector is not uniformly wasted on fat cattery, an obvious point that is worth repeating in the present feverish climate. Most of the core functions of the public sector need to be done, and the state cannot be suddenly cut back without any harmful effects. Students will still need to be taught by lecturers, rotten teeth extracted by dentists, babies delivered by midwives, a war to be fought in Afghanistan, drunks to be arrested on a Saturday night, children to be protected from harm. Less emotively, we will still need stats to be gathered, weather forecasts to be made. We may soon discover just how difficult it is to find real waste in the public sector, and how meanly in reality we look after those who help us with extraordinary dedication. Or is all this more ideologically driven?

Britain is not Greece. We have our own currency, so we are not trapped in a currency zone unable to devalue; our debt has a much longer maturity, so we don't have to roll it over so often and risk a crisis; our national debt will peak at about 75 per cent of GDP – better than most of Europe, and where it was in the 1960s. At the end of the Second World War it stood at 262 per cent of GDP, and we went ahead and built a welfare state. Most of it is owed within the UK. It is not "out of control".

Even Mr Osborne's much-vaunted Office for Budget Responsibility admitted that public borrowing was about £11bn less than anticipated last year, and would be £8bn better this year even if Mr Osborne left Alistair Darling's plans untouched.

The Liberal Democrats have now apparently undergone a Damascene conversion to Tory fiscal principles. Yet, in a world that seems impossibly remote now, the general election campaign, Vince Cable and Nick Clegg were warning time and again about the dangers of cutting too early, of the panic cuts that could undermine the recovery, of taking risks with people's jobs and homes. It is odd indeed to hear them sound more Tory than the Tories. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research says a full-blown Tory attack on the deficit would push us into a double dip recession.

There has been some unfortunate briefing too about ministers actually enjoying "throwing the axe around", taking some sort of sadistic joy in it. And was it not David Cameron who told us not so very long ago that cutting down on waste was the oldest trick in the political book?

To turn the Prime Minister's soundbite around, the suspicion is that the Government is cutting as heavily as it is not because it has to, but because it wants to.

Case studies: 'People don't know how hard we work'

Steve Holman, 50, bus driver in east London. Earns around £29,000 a year

I've worked for the same bus company in east London for 26 years, but I'm massively worried about the impact of the Budget on Transport for London.

It's quite simple – either they pass the cuts on to passengers, which they won't do, or on to services without affecting passengers, through cuts to wages.

I work anything from a 38-hour week to a 60-hour week. I've worked for 26 years, on an average of six days a week – sometimes seven – in order to live in London.

When you speak with the general public they don't understand how hard we work. We develop an affinity with them though.

I earn £29,000 a year, which is one of the better positions, but we're not in an enviable position. We take home £350 a week and in London that's not a king's ransom, is it?

I'm massively against any cuts in services to London passengers. We've spent years building the network up. It will have an effect on passengers travelling on buses.

Bob Sutcliffe, 58, grave digger for Warrington Borough Council. Earns £20,500

I first started working for the council 15 years ago. I enjoy it, but it's hard work. You never know how much work there's going to be, and it's not like you can say, "No, we'll do it tomorrow." This week we did nine graves, but it's a year-round job, and you get more in winter.

We've got a mini-digger, but it can't get to all the plots. If we can use the machine it takes two-and-a-half hours per grave. If we're doing it by hand it takes all day. There's five of us, working across four cemeteries, 8 'til 5.

I don't think we could be stretched any further, especially as we have to do other jobs too.

Denise Boyce, 26, nurse. Earns £22,663

I qualified in April and work in the neonatal unit at St George's in Tooting, where I'm doing intensive care training. I work mainly with premature babies on life-support machines, and I help new mums with breast-feeding. It's hard work but very rewarding – although not financially. We're the leading neonatal unit for south-west London, but we're pretty stretched. We've got 140 nurses for 36 cots. It might seem like a lot, but that's on a 24-hour system, and most of the babies require one-to-one care.


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I remember a few years ago people saying in industrial democracies taxes would have to go up to unprecendented levels to pay for all the pensions and costs of the aging population.

I didn't think they would be stupid enough to actually try it. The problem is if you keep raising taxes it pulls down disposable income dramatically. As consumers reel in, it gets harder for everyone to earn money on the free economy.

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That is the problem with being spoon fed a concept of reality. Our household income has gone from 80k to 11.8k, something tells me the majority of people do not know the meaning of pain. VAT is the last thing to be worrying about.

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£400 a year sounds a lot.

Is that like putting vat at 17.5% on stuff currently VAT free and spending £2285.?

I spose if it goes on all food then yes... (I think the merits of putting vat only on processed foods only has been discussed here before)

but how much other sh&t do the genuinely skint buy?

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  • 397 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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