Budget 2014: The response

Budget 2014 reaction
Budget 2014 reaction

Politicians and pressure groups from across the political spectrum respond to Budget 2014

Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury: 'Lib Dems have played our part'

"This Budget cuts income tax for millions of working people, supports families, rewards savers and helps British business.

"There is still more work to be done to get Britain fully back on its feet, but the recovery is well underway. 

"The Liberal Democrats formed the coalition in 2010 to rescue the British economy and we've played a full part in setting out the long term economic plan that is now delivering growth and jobs. It is particularly pleasing that our Liberal Democrat campaign to push up the income tax threshold beyond the £10,000 target to £10,500 has been successful and will deliver working people a further £100 tax cut.

"With strong support for Scotch whisky and North Sea oil, this is a budget that demonstrates once again that Scotland is strong and successful within the UK."

John Cridland, CBI director-general: 'This could rebuild a savings culture'

"The Budget will put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for manufacturers.

"This was a make or break budget coming at a critical time in the recovery and the chancellor has focussed his firepower on areas that have the potential to lock in growth.

"The CBI has pushed hard for this significant and much-needed energy package that will help keep manufacturing jobs in the UK, while underpinning vital investment in new energy.

"The doubling and extension of the annual investment allowance, together with making the seed enterprise investment scheme permanent, will be a shot in the arm for many medium-sized businesses.

"On pensions, what’s important is that people on low incomes can make more informed decisions on defined contribution schemes. For many, that will still mean taking advice and buying an annuity, but the increased flexibility will be welcomed.

"We are pleased that the government has chosen to consult on the implications of making a similar change to defined benefit pensions as stability for these schemes is essential.

"Changes to the ISA system reflect our call to help rebuild a savings culture."

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance: Failure to reform 40% tax bracket 'regretable'

"The chancellor has announced some welcome relief for taxpayers struggling with stretched budgets. Measures such as the higher personal allowance, the freeze in fuel duty, and abolition of the alcohol duty escalator will all ease the burden on hard-pressed families. It’s also good to see savers finally being rewarded after being overlooked for too long by successive governments.

"However, George Osborne has no room for complacency. His failure to reform stamp duty is a missed opportunity and it is deeply regrettable that yet more taxpayers are likely to be dragged into the 40p income tax band.

"It's extremely disappointing that the chancellor failed to address the increasingly punitive burden which stamp duty is imposing on home-buyers. More and more people are being hit by higher rates, with the ludicrous slab-rate structure seriously skewing the property market.

"This is a good day for ordinary drinkers across the country. It is also a good day for the many small businesses that they support. The Call Time on Duty Campaign has consistently argued that the alcohol duty escalator was bad for consumers, for business and for the economy. We applaud the chancellor for taking the decision to get rid of it. Cheers!

"Doubling the investment allowance to £500,000 a year is a significant and worthwhile move to encourage investment but it only strengthens the case for more fundamental reform of corporate taxes.

"Raising the personal allowance again next year will lift more taxpayers out of tax and cut the bill for everyone paying the basic rate. While higher rate taxpayers up to £100,000 will not be hit again, the 40p threshold remains much lower than it where it would have been if it had increased over time with earnings. The 45p rate should also have been abolished.

"It's fantastic news that the chancellor has scrapped the higher rates of APD, meaning an end to the most extortionate levies for holidaymakers, families visiting relatives overseas and those flying abroad on business.

"The national debt is still increasing at an alarming rate and an entire generation is being saddled with crippling debt interest payments. The quickest way to bring down the deficit would be to wage a war on waste in the public sector so that public spending is brought back under control once again.

"British savers will be relieved that not only has the tax-free ISA allowance increased, the system has been drastically simplified too."

Simon Clark, director of smokers' group Forest: 'Elderly smokers will be hard hit'

"History shows that increasing tobacco duty above inflation fuels illicit trade and costs government money.

"The Treasury loses billions of pounds to illicit traders every year. A further increase in duty will merely encourage more people to take advantage of the huge savings available on the black market.

"Law-abiding consumers are being penalised while poor and elderly smokers will be hardest hit."

Katy Wright, Oxfam head of UK policy: Osborne failing to tackle inequality

"There are many ways to measure inequality, but the fact is the incomes of the richest have outstripped those of the rest four times over during the last two decades. We welcome the fact the chancellor is taking inequality seriously, but he's a long way off being able to claim victory.

"We're living in a deeply divided Britain, where just five families have the same wealth as over 12 million of the UK's poorest people. We'd be surprised if any government would be comfortable with this disparity, especially at a time when half a million people are being forced to visit foodbanks.

"The increase in personal tax allowances will actually do little for the working poor - who will see the majority of any gains taken away as benefits are clawed back - and they will make higher earners even better off.

"Whilst we welcome continued efforts to clamp down on tax dodging, this Budget has not gone far enough to close the huge gap between the richest and the rest. As we get closer to a 2015 election, the questions around inequality will only rise - and they are questions we hope all parties will work hard to answer."

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady: A Budget aimed at the better-off

"This was a pre-election Budget, with its give-aways aimed at the better off rather than lifting the living standards of the many.

"It will be paid for by further years of austerity, public services brought to near collapse, public sector pay cuts and a welfare cap that bites into the safety net that any of us might need.

"There was nothing for the young who continue to face the worst job market in decades and unaffordable housing.

"Nor was there any relief for low and middle earners who, after years of falling living standards, have no spare cash to take advantage of the help for savers, and who now face year on year cuts in benefits for working families as the welfare cap bites.

"The best news for the long-term health of the economy is the genuine help for manufacturing, but it was the exception in this highly political short-term Budget that continued the chancellor’s project to shrink the state and help the rich."


Load in comments
Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.