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Budget 2012 - half Britons say they will be worse off

Friday 23rd March 2012

Hopes of a so-called "Robin Hood Budget" have been shattered with most Britons saying it has helped high earners more than low and middle income families.

Research from uSwitch.com revealed that while a third (36%) said the Budget helped low and middle income families, many more (70%) believe that high earners got a reprieve. And the elderly appear to have been forgotten - fewer than one in ten (8%) said Chancellor George Osborne had helped pensioners.

More than half of Britons (53%) said they were worse off following Wednesday's Budget. Far from easing the pressure on squeezed consumers, 55% now feel less confident about their finances - just one in ten (11%) now feel more confident.

But things seem even worse for those in Scotland and Wales as well as the over 65s are feeling the least confident about their finances. Just 8% of those aged over 65 feel more confident about their finances, while 8% of those in Wales and 10% of Scots feel the same. However, the young and those in the South seem to be the Budget winners - 16% of those aged 25-34 feel more confident, while 13% of those in the South East and South West are feeling positive.

Despite the lack of confidence, some of the Chancellor's measures were an overwhelming success. The vast majority of Brits (92%) welcome the move to increase the income tax threshold to £9205 from April 2013, while increasing the stamp duty on £2million properties has gone down well with more than eight in ten (83%).

The changes to how child benefits will be withdrawn - by making the removal gradual and only after consumers earn £50,000 - has pleased almost six in ten (59%) while almost half of Brits (49%) agree with extending Sunday trading hours during the Olympics.

However, the controversial decision to cut the higher rate of tax from 50p to 45p seems to have let many down - almost six in ten (57%) disagree with it, with a third (35%) - strongly disagreeing. It seems that the boost given to high earners has dashed the hopes of a Budget that serves to rob the rich to give to the poor.

However, the Budget has acted as a wakeup call to almost half of Brits (45%) who will use the announcement as an opportunity to review their own finances, while a quarter (25%) plan to cut back on retail spending. And with tax increases hitting fuel and tobacco, 15% will change their personal habits, such as cutting back on smoking and driving in an attempt to save money.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, said: "Many consumers are feeling the Budget Day Blues following George Osborne's announcement. Three months into another tough year, far from creating a sense of hope and optimism, the Budget has left consumers feeling less confident about their own financial situation. While all workers will be better off following the popular increase to the income tax threshold, many more will feel it doesn't go far enough to combat the rising cost of living and the squeeze on their finances.

"However, it's good news that some households will try to take matters into their own hands by taking the opportunity to review their own Budget, as well as changing habits which could save them money while improving their health. This could go some way to helping relieve the pressure on family finances, so I would urge others to join them in reviewing their finances and cutting back on household utility bills where they can. For those worried about tax increases wiping out the extra money they may have gained from the higher income tax threshold, taking time to shop around for the best deals on household bills could save as much as £1800."

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Mike Jones

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