Date: 25th April 2009
Release date: Immediate
Subject: Local people will pay the price for Brown’s failed policies.
Local Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Gordon Henderson, has expressed concern at plans to increase taxes on families and firms in Sittingbourne & Sheppey.
In this week’s Budget the Government announced a number of measures that will hit local people.
· National Insurance will be increased for workers and for firms. This jobs tax will discourage businesses from hiring staff, cut people’s pay packets, and mean anyone earning £20,000 a year or more will be worse off.
· National debt will double to £1.4 trillion – this is equivalent to £22,500 of debt for every man, woman and child. Taxes are to rise by £1,000 for every family over the next two years.
· Fuel duty is up 2 pence per litre, and will continue to rise by more than inflation for the next four years, increasing the cost of travelling to work, taking children to school and going shopping.
· Alcohol duty, which was hiked up in December, will rise again as part of the Government’s plans to increase the cost of beer, cider, spirits and wine by more than inflation every year. This punishes responsible drinkers and is putting small local pubs out of business.
· Business rates are rising by £1 billion in the middle of a recession. Business rates are the biggest cost for firms after rent and staff costs. Bills have soared for local firms since the beginning of April, and further large rises are expected next year too.
Mr Henderson said:
‘These aren’t taxes for the few, they are tax increase for the many. Families and local firms across Sittingbourne & Sheppey are going to pay the price for Gordon Brown’s failings.
‘Labour MPs have been briefed to push the line that this was Budget for jobs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. At a time when people are losing their jobs or facing pay freezes, hard-working families now face smaller pay packets and a higher cost of living thanks to Labour.’
‘I just wish that Gordon Brown would pluck up the courage to call a General Election. Then we would have the chance to elect a Conservative Government to repair our broken public finances and help lead the country out of recession.’
Notes to Editors
The Budget was published on 22 April.
SOARING NATIONAL DEBT
National debt will rise from £609 billion in 2008-09 to £1.4 trillion by 2013-14 (HM Treasury, Budget 2009, p.226).
HIKES IN NATIONAL INSURANCE
In November’s Pre-Budget Report, the Government announced that employee and employer National Insurance contributions will rise by 0.5 per cent from April 2011. More than half of all workers (anyone earning over £20,000) will be worse off.
HIKES IN FUEL TAX
Fuel duty will go up by 2 pence per litre from September, with a further 1 pence per litre rise above the rate of inflation each April for the next four years (Budget 2009, p.165-166).
HIKES IN BEER TAX
In December 2008, duty on beer, cider and wine increased by 8 per cent, and spirits duty by 4 per cent. In the Budget, alcohol duty is increased by a further 2 per cent (Budget 2009, p.169) – adding 1p to a pint, 13p to a bottle of spirits and 4p to a bottle of wine.
This is part of the Government’s ongoing plans to increase beer taxation by above inflation every year.
Almost six pubs close every day and more than two thousand have been forced to close in the last twelve months alone (British Beer & Pub Association press release, Chancellor Betrays Britain’s Struggling Pubs, 22 April 2009).
HIKES IN BUSINESS RATES
Business rates are rising by £1 billion in the Budget, a rise of 4.4 per cent (Budget 2009, p.231).
Business rates bills have risen by an inflation-busting 5 per cent from April 2009. On top of this, transitional relief from the 2005 revaluation has expired; in previous cycles, transitional relief lasted five years not four; this has doubled or trebled bills for some firms. The Government announced on 31 March that firms will be able to partly defer some of these rises – but firms will just be billed for the increases later.
On top of this, Gordon Brown has slashed back empty property rate relief for commercial and industrial premises, with compounds the effect of the recession when firms have empty property they cannot rent out or sell.