CHANCELLOR Jeremy Hunt’s Budget yesterday was designed to get Britain back to work.
By introducing free childcare for every tot over nine months old, he wants mums to go back to work.
And he also hopes older workers will stay on thanks to his plan to let over-50s put more money into their pensions.
There was good news for heating bills as the energy cap stays at £2,500 for another three months.
And thanks to UK Times’s brilliant Keep It Down campaign, fuel duty was frozen again after warnings that petrol and diesel could go up by 12 pence a litre.
Here, tax expert Jim Lee works out how Sun families and firms fared in the Budget – and they give Mike Ridley their verdict.
COUPLE WITH KIDS
PART-TIME civil servant Sairah Zaman will be £15,000 better off.
Sairah, 37, and husband Assad, 44, from Manchester have two boys – Hakeem, three, and baby Hassan.
And as their youngest is just ten weeks old, they will reap the full benefit of the childcare changes.
From September 2024 Hassan will get 15 hours of free childcare a week and a year later he will receive 30 hours.
Because by September 2025, all children over nine months will have free childcare for the first time.
Delighted Sairah said: “It’s worked out perfectly for us.
“We paid almost £900 a month for my older son’s childcare and that was just for three days a week.
“Next year I plan to go back to work for 25 hours a week.
“Childcare would have been expensive but now we won’t have to worry about costs. And with 30 free hours, I could up my work hours.”
SUPPORT worker Debbie Hepworth and husband James, a transport manager, jointly earn £55,000 a year.
The pair, who are both 42, are £293 a year better off thanks to the freeze in fuel duty and the extra help with energy – although car tax and duty on wine will cost them an extra £124.
But the couple, from Barnsley, South Yorks, are delighted that 15 hours of free childcare will be available for their baby granddaughter from next year.
Debbie said: “I would have had to provide some nanny daycare and it would have been tough looking after my granddaughter for that amount of time, so this will really help us out as a family.
“It’s not bad this, is it? I just hope they go further again and continue to help us with energy bills.
“We use quite a bit of fuel so it’s good that duty is frozen for a year, which will save us £300.”
CARPENTER Thomas Wardaugh, 61, has five years left before he retires from his £50,000-a-year job as a shop fitter.
His wife Margaret, also 61, earns £11,500 at Asda.
The couple, of Lossiemouth, Moray, both smoke and at 6pm last night the tax on cigarettes rose 12 per cent – adding £1.55 to the price of a pack of 20 – costing them an extra £360 a year.
That almost wiped out all the benefits of the fuel duty freeze and the extended energy cap.
Thomas said: “I’m disgusted. They say they are trying to stop people smoking but if everyone did then the Government would have no revenue.
“I’ll have to cut right back on what I smoke because of the cost.”
He added: “Shell and BP made record profits. There should be a cap on what they can charge for petrol and diesel.”
WHITE VAN MAN
BUILDER Mark Steward welcomed the fuel duty freeze, long campaigned for by UK Times.
The 55-year-old dad of three recently had to buy a new Renault van because of London’s low emission zone and was dreading a hike in diesel prices.
The sole trader, who earns £41,000 a year, said: “My van is my toolbox.
“I can’t leave home without it – so fuel prices are an essential business cost.
“Well done to UK Times
“I’m pleased fuel duty isn’t going up but that doesn’t prevent the billionaire oil firms raising prices.”
Mark, from Wandsworth, saved over £50 from the fuel duty freeze and £160 because Government help with energy bills is continuing for three more months.
But he added: “My mortgage has just gone up due to the Tories’ incompetence, while they are boasting about all the good things they are doing.
“What world are they living in?
MUM Ashling Marsh had hoped to be £950 a month better off thanks to the Chancellor bringing in free childcare for children aged under two.
But because the change does not kick in until April 2024, they will still have to pay for two-year-old Daisy’s childcare until she turns three and receives 30 free hours a week under the current system.
So bingo worker Ashling, 28, and husband Bradley, 27, who live with her parents in Romford, Essex, will continue to find £950 a month from their joint £2,500 monthly income to cover nursery care so they can work.
Ashling says: “Free childcare for under twos won’t help us, sadly.
“Why can’t it be put in place earlier?
“Bradley works at a nursery and they really struggle to find staff to cover the kids so how is the Government going to find all these extra nursery staff for the thousands of extra kids in childcare?”
SALES director Russell Coleman pays the higher rate of tax.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s decision to allow high earners to boost their pension is aimed at keeping people like him in work for longer.
But the 52-year-old, of Henlow, Beds, said: “Five years ago I made my plan to retire early and I intend to execute it.
“So this won’t make me work a day longer than I have to.
“I put very little into my pension as I don’t trust how the money will be managed.
“How many people will truly put £1million into their pension pot? Around 0.1 per cent of the population.
“It makes the Tories sound like they’re just looking after the rich.”
Russell and his wife Shani, 50, save £160 with the energy price cap and £300 a year through the fuel duty freeze.
But they will pay an extra £109 a year on wine duty.
WIDOW Ann Boucher, 75, is £131 a year better off due to the Budget.
But from next month, she will also receive a 10.7 per cent inflation-linked rise in her state pension, which was announced last November.
Ann, of Braunton, Devon, said: “I’ve been notified about next month’s rise and it’s a big increase.
“It’s definitely a help but I’m sure it will soon be eaten up by other price increases, so I’ll probably end up being no better off.”
Ann is sceptical the Chancellor’s pension changes will get more older people back to work.
The retired BT worker said: “None of the changes would have made me want to work longer.
“The energy bills are ridiculous though.
“We need nuclear power stations, which the Government announced in the Budget.
“And we need to grow our own food. Otherwise we’re stuffed if a country says they can’t supply us.”
JOHN DAWSON, owner of the Red Lion pub in Dunston, Lincs, cheered the Chancellor’s freeze on draught beer duty.
But the 52-year-old bemoaned the fact that duty on wines and spirits will rise in line with inflation from August.
The pub’s drinkers get through around 30 bottles of wine a week – so the 45p-a-bottle duty increase for wine will cost customers around an extra £700 per year.
John said: “The wine price increase is bad news.
“The Government has moved the goalposts again and we will have to ask customers to pay more.”
John, who has to fork out £600 a month for gas and electric, said: “The Government is keeping the same level of energy bill support for households but the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses ends on March 31.”