Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Giles McNeill on: Budget 2008 Part II

Big increases in duty on alcohol and high-polluting cars have been announced in the Budget 2008.

Alistair Darlings first Budget has put 4p on a pint of beer, 14p on a bottle of wine and 55p on a bottle of spirits. Duty on a packet of cigarettes is up 11p. He announced higher road tax for the most polluting cars but delayed for six months a 2p rise in fuel duty.

The over-60s will get £250 instead of £200 and the over-80s will get £400 instead of £300 for winter fuel payments.

He also ordered energy companies to increase the help they give to people using pre-paid meters from £50m to £150m a year.

On the environment, he announced legislation to come into force in 2009 to impose a charge on single-use carrier bags if progress is not made on a voluntary basis.

Mr Darling said he was setting aside new funding to develop road pricing schemes.
On the wider economy, Mr Darling cut by 0.25% his October forecast that the UK economy would grow by up to 2.5% this year and he said inflation would rise before returning to its 2% target in 2009 and remain on target thereafter.

He said borrowing next year would rise to £43bn - £7bn more than forecast last year - with a similar increase the following year.
• Delay 2p rise in fuel duty for six months

• 6% increase in alcohol tax - with 2% annual rise for next four years

• 4p on pint of beer, 3p on cider, 14p on wine, 55p on spirits

• 11p on packet on 20 cigarettes, 4p on five cigars

• Higher first year rate of road tax for most polluting cars

• Increase in green tax on flights

• Winter fuel payment up to £250m for over-60s and to £400 for over-80s

• Require supermarkets to charge for plastic bags if they do not scrap them
Conservative leader David Cameron has said the
"cost of living is going up and Labour is making it worse".

He said the facts hidden in Alistair Darling's first Budget were high debt, high interest rates, high taxes and lower growth and accused him of
“a dire list of reviews and reannouncements”
and said borrowing rates were truly dreadful.
“In the years of plenty they put nothing aside, they didn't fix the roof when the sun was shining,”
The Conservative leader accused the chancellor and prime minister of living in an entirely different world from everybody else.

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