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URGENT - need your views on Budget for Radio 5 interview at 11pm tonight

37 replies

Carriemumsnet · 16/03/2005 20:10

We've been asked to comment on the effect of the budget on Parents for Radio 5 tonight and they're particularly interested in your views - so if you've anything good or bad to say, any anecdotes as to how it will affect you, anything witty, pithy, helpful at all, please post it here!

In case the whole thing's passed you by (you're not alone) they sent through the main headlines that they want to talk about so I've pasted them below - warning this is a bit long!

Their question is :"Chancellor Gordon Brown has stressed that his ninth Budget puts "hard-working families first", helps pensioners and young homebuyers. ... But how will the budget changes benefit parents?

The main points on familes seem to relate to children. The most eye catching measure is that payments for children under the child tax credit system will rise each year in line with earnings (there were previously tied to inflation/prices and therefore had been rising far more slowly) and over the coming three years by a total of 13 per cent.

Does this mean anything to any of you? I'm not even sure who gets tax credit ie how much you need to be earning/not earning and how it's paid. There's been some talk I know about it being quite complicated to claim - anyone any experience? Will this increase affect any mumsnetters?

The government is also considering whether or not to extend Child Trust Fund payments (due to come into effect this April) into primary and secondary school years. I think this means that those with children at school now might also get the one off payment of £250 to invest. Would you welcome this - or do you think the money would be better spent on other things to help families.

They've raised the Stamp Duty threshold from 60,000 to 120,000 - will that help you?

The Inheritance Tax threshold is also raised from 272,000 to 275,000 (gee whizz) and set to rise to £300.000 in the next three years. I think this is quite interesting. I assumed inheritance tax was for the super rich, but if your folks live in London, even a modest terrace or flat somewhere central it will be worth more than this. Not sure if you just pay tax on the bit over £300,000 - but will this affect you, make you have a conversation with your folks about handing the money over now?

Child benefit has gone up by some miniscule amount - by 50p to £17 a week for the first child and up 35p to £11.40 for other children - does that bother you, or do you just see that as a nice little extra you don't really need? When I was little child benefit was a really important part of our income

Mr Brown promised to boost the primary schools re-building programme by £650m by 2010.
What does that mean? Mending new roofs or new schools?

Help promised for early learning in every area for all children who need it - again question what that means, sounds like politic-speech. Would you like more early learning provision (or would you quite like the option for them to stay at home longer - and maybe you get something for staying there with them?)

He announced a five-year, £1.5bn programme to renovate and renew further education colleges and Investment in the three-year programme for IT capital in schools will be raised to £1.67 billion.

All these figures sound good, but tricky to know what they mean in real terms - will it help you children?

Doesn't seem to be anything on tax relief on childcare - would you welcome that?

Anything else that's affected you/ you'd like to see.

Sorry that was so long. All comments welcome

Thanks in advance

OP posts:
Bonkerz · 16/03/2005 20:14

Personnally the budget wont mean anything to us as a family, we wont be better off as IR have mucked up our tax credits anyway and havent recieved anything for a year!(Our income is less than £25,000 pa)
We dont drink or smoke and dont pay childcare. I think its good about the extra money for primary schools but what about tax relief for us hardworking parents on lower incomes??

helsi · 16/03/2005 20:15

I was really hoping to hear something on improvemnts to do with helping parents work and chidcare costs etc. Though would have been a biggie - a bit disappointed really.
Stamp duty has no effect on me - not buying a house & the next one I buy will prob be over that amount.
Early learning? - not sure about that - not much detail on it. Needs a bit more meat on the bones I think.
ChB increase - that's just pants - what can you get for an extra 50p per week?

Enid · 16/03/2005 20:16

None of it affects me or my family at all. Would have liked to see more tax on cigarettes though.

Don't like the Child Fund anyway, would much rather the money was ploughed into schools. Surely a good education gives every child a head start in life?

tortoiseshell · 16/03/2005 20:18

I think the Child Trust fund is a red herring - you are tied where to invest it, so you inevitably won't get the best interest rate on it. And therefore, people won't add to it as the government want them to, because if they want to save for the child, they'll do it in the best fund available.

I strongly think that child care should be tax deductible, pure and simple. It is not fair that when I go to work, 95% of my salary goes on childcare, especially since the government WANT me to work. If I could claim it off my tax it would be FAR more worthwhile to work, and the government do actually want us to have children!

zubb · 16/03/2005 20:18

doesn't affect us at all - but I don't like the statement 'puts hard working families first' - what are we then?!

CountessDracula · 16/03/2005 20:18

You could point out that the BBC website got all us mums excited by saying that Child Benefit was going up to £63 a WEEK in it's summary!

Tinker · 16/03/2005 20:22

Oh, carrie, you sound so innocent not knowng about tax credits . Not seen the finer details but any rises = good and any redistribution of wealth = good.

Stamp duty rise good for me - my house is borderline that value. Did hear some idiot on BBC this pm saying it will only affect obscure places. Er, what like, lots of first time buyers terraced houses in North of England?

Disappointed he's seemed to pander to Inheritance Tax hysteria in theory but actually hasn't really - 94% this year won't pay it. Was 95% last year. An unpopular tax based on I don't want to pay it. Well, where else is he going to raise this revenue from? So, glad he hasn't really pandered is my garbled view.

ionesmum · 16/03/2005 20:23

'Early learning for all' sounds like compulsory education for three year olds by the back door to me.

Nothing to help SAHMs or those who would like to be. What about tax breaks so parents can stay at home for their children's early years?

Stamp duty - does nothing to help families who need bigger houses but live in the South-East.

Inheritance tax - ditto.

Tax credits - never claimed as it all sounds too complicated and a waste of time as the Revenue bodged so many claims, even though dh's income is the national average. Would be a start if this could be done automatically through the payroll.

KristinaM · 16/03/2005 20:29

Extra maternity pay = a very good thing, esp for families on lower incomes, for whom that £100 a week may allow mums to stay at home for longer ( if they want!)

Stamp duties changes = very good thing for first time buyers/ single parents/ young families outside London. Might even peg house prices a little at this end of the market.

No tax relief on childcare = a very bad thing. Costs are exhorbitant, esp if you have a baby and toddler. Many mums with who work, even in professional jobs in the health service or local government can't afford to go back even if they want to!! Given shortages of nurses, teachers etc this is a real problem for labour market

Carriemumsnet · 16/03/2005 20:29

wow that was quick - keep it coming!

OP posts:
chatee · 16/03/2005 20:30

Hi carrie,
i'd like to know how they could improve or the way it is decided and how they fund a child with special/additional needs in mainstream schools...
how they could offer any financial incentives[possibly to employers to be more aware of the difficulties in raising a disabled child and to make them more flexible] or a parent who has to give up a job in order for their disabled child to be cared for as they wish-egto be able to take children to hospital appointments,to have regular physio appointments, to be able to access regular childcare just like normal families
sorry if it's a little muddled ds keeps stirring!
i know this seems very s/n biased but life changes so much with a s/n child and services and help are not always forthcoming and clear.....THANK GOODNESS FOR MUMSNET.

cloudy · 16/03/2005 20:31

Rise in stamp duty threshold will just drive house prices up, won't make them any more affordable.

Paid for Nursery places for 2yrs old is daft, most 2 yrs old don't want to leave mum yet.

Child tax credit -- most valuable thing would have been correctly processing existing claims (ours is so bodged, after at least 30 (no, I am not exagerating) letters & phone calls I gave up, I refuse to speak to the Revenue about it any more).

More investment in schools sounds wonderful, though.

chatee · 16/03/2005 20:32

WOW when i started my message there was only carries original message

Bonkerz · 16/03/2005 20:34

Agree that they would be better off sorting out the massive problems the IR are having in sorting out claims rather than increasing amounts!! Many of us who are entitled are not recieving money we are due!!

miranda2 · 16/03/2005 20:35

Was hoping they would introduce tax relief on childcare for everyone, not just those people whose workplace decide to go for a voucher scheme.

SenoraPostrophe · 16/03/2005 20:38

I am very pleased he hasn't given in to the baying mob over inheritance tax. It may affect 95%, but the vast majority of those would have sold the house anyway (to split the value between siblings) and only have to pay the tax on the value above the threshold. As far as I'm concerned, it's free money so they should damn well pay the tax.

Increases in tax credits etc - v good. one of the best things this govt have done.

If he makes childcare tax deductable, I'll probably be able to persuade dh to come home

JoolsToo · 16/03/2005 20:38

Stamp Duty - good that its risen but its not high enough - there was a recent article in (dare I say it) The Mail who reported that the Halifax stated that the level needed to be set at around £156,900 (I started a thread about it)

The whole stamp duty thing really gets me - its legalised robbery imho. If all house prices have risen (anyone want to argue about that?) then the thresholds should have risen at each stage.

I'm just waiting for the increases in Income Tax and more stealth taxes to pay for all his pre-election giveaways.

Twiglett · 16/03/2005 20:39

Child Trust Fund makes me mad .. I think the best place to invest in the long term is the stock market but they have this ridiculous 'stakeholder' scheme thing where they say the fees can't go over 1.5%

so say I chose to invest in a standard tracker fund (computer tracks the stock market, not actively managed), my DD's investment would get hit by a 1.5% management fee .. compare this to my own tracker investments with a managment fee of 0.5% and you see the problem

when you call companies to discuss it directly they won't make a decision till end of the year (Legal & General) about whether they'll take them anyway

philippat · 16/03/2005 20:40

good luck with it Carrie!

rise in child tax credit would in theory be good for us but... they made such a balls up with overpaying us that we will currently be paying it back for the next 10 years... so I suppose now we'll just be paying it back a little quicker... but I'd support anything in line with earnings in principle (our generation will all be feeling it by the time we get to retirement). My experience with CTC, however, is that it makes Child benefit look wonderful!

I think the IT in schools programme has made some spectacular differences. But everyone's concern is that IT is a long-term maintentance cost, not just a capital one.

Whizzz · 16/03/2005 20:50

I have briefly skimmed whats been said & again I echo the comments about childcare. Costs are ridiculous - we have a DS who is now 4 (school starts Sept) & we both work full time - our choice. If we had 2 kids in childcare it would probably mean that I couldn't afford to work which is a silly situation (& I earn a reasonable amount).
Tax Credit seems to be full of problems - DH is self employed & therefore has variable income - so the forms are a nightmare & we have just had a letter saying we owe them money!
Best of luck !

wordsmith · 16/03/2005 20:51

Tax relief on childcare would be great - I am self employed and it would make a big difference. I can't claim childcare vouchers. You can claim for all sorts of stuff against tax, why not the one thing that enables me to actually do the work?

However child tax credit is a good thing and helps those who need it most. But it's horrendously difficult to claim, the form and explanatory notes are almost unintelligible, and as with most benefits or credits, if you're self employed it's difficult to assess your earnings until the following april, they may vary wildly from year to year so I have a mammoth job re-claiming every year. (This is the case with most benefits such as maternity allowance etc - they don't seem to think of the self employed!)

Agree child trust fund is a bit of a gimmick. It's nice to have the £250 or whatever, but I would like to be able to invest it in savings plans I have already taken out for my child, not open yet another one!

I am right behind the investment in schools - I think it's beginning to make a big difference.

coppertop · 16/03/2005 20:51

IMO the Child Trust Fund is a complete waste of time and money. I'd much rather save for ds1 and ds2 in an ordinary bank account where I can decide when they should have access to it.

Child Benefit is something we rely on to get by each month. A whole £2 a month extra for ds1? Whoopeedoo! I don't know what to rush out and spend it on first(!).

I'd like to see a system where SAHPs can allocate their personal tax alowance to their spouse. Any recognition of SAHPs would be nice in fact.

wordsmith · 16/03/2005 20:53

On the whole though I think it's a pretty good budget for families - especially those who really need the money.

SenoraPostrophe · 16/03/2005 20:54

Also didn't say: about blinkin time on the extra money for FE. FE has been drained of resources over the last 20 years because it is not the acceptable vote winning side of education (who wants to fund a load of spotty teenagers doing practical courses when we can give 5 year olds more computers?). I'm very impressed with that.

kaansmum · 16/03/2005 21:51

I'd like to see an end to universal child benefit. There should be a cut off point and any 2 parent family, or lone parent family, with an annual income in excess of £100k should not be entitled to it. State assistance should only extend to people on lower incomes. £100k cannot be argued to constitute a low income. I'm being very generous with this sealing. Ideally it would be £50k but I know that would never wash.

I'm sure there are an awful lot of high earners who don't claim the benefit for one reason or another but this is not the point - they shouldn't be given the opportunity to claim it in the first place.

Revenue freed up by disentitling the high earners in this way should be used to fund larger child benefit payments to those families on low to moderate incomes.

Child benefit is supposed to do that - benefit children. My son's child benefit money is used each week to supplement the family income to provide the necessities of life. How many families let the money back up in accounts and then use it for heaven knows what - private education, mum's gym membership or dad's green fees? If families need this money to provide the basic necessities of life on a day to day, weekly or monthly basis then that it adequate proof of a need for it - if they can simply let this money back up in a bank account and view it as "extra" money that they sometimes forget they have then they evidently don't really need it.

End this scandalous waste of scarce public money now!

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