Dismay over rise at petrol pumps

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The Chancellor’s decision in yesterday’s Budget to push ahead with plans to increase fuel duty this summer seems to have hit people in the county the hardest.

It means petrol will rise to 145p and diesel will rise to 150p in August.

Other announcements will see those earning over £60,000 lose their child benefit and those earning £50,000 losing part of their child benefit and the amount you can earn without having to pay tax on it will rise to £9,205 in April 2013.

Family man Martyn Warsop, 55, who lives in Barton Seagrave with his wife and son, said: “The new plans for child benefit are more sensible and I’m pleased that the personal tax allowance is rising to £9,205 although it should go up to £10,000.

“The increase in fuel shows a total lack of imagination. It’s appalling.”

General manager Paul Gillett, of Gibsons Haulage in Wellingborough, added: “We don’t charge a percentage for fuel. Some of our customers have told us they would have to stop using us if we started to do that. Every time the fuel goes up we have to absorb that extra cost.

“We’re fortunate that we have good customers and if we can we maximise our vehicles’ potential by doubling up on loads but obviously we can’t always do this. I feel sorry for smaller firms which can’t do this at all.”

Corby Enterprise Centre director Stuart Hartley felt the budget was encouraging for small businesses.

He said: “The help to support young people starting up businesses, assistance for people already in business and the decrease in corporation tax from 24 per cent to 22 per cent and then eventually to 20 per cent will help businesses. Simplifying tax returns for small businesses with a turnover of less than £77,000 will help too.”

The Chancellor also announced there will be an automatic review of the state pension age, age-related tax allowances for pensioners will be simplified and a single tier pension will be set at a minimum of £140.

Rushden Pensioners Forum secretary Harry Graham said: “Pensioners need at least £150 as a minimum living wage. Elderly people living in rented accommodation can find their rent takes away half that money. It’ll take time to reach £150 – maybe that will happen in the next parliament.”

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “The budget was a mixed bag. Highlights for business included the reduction of corporation tax and the introduction of Enterprise Loans to allow young people to set up their own businesses. The end to the 50p tax rate can be seen as a positive. But it’s disappointing that the Chancellor neglected to offer relief to businesses struggling with next month’s 5.6 per cent rise in business rates.”