MILLIONS of families will benefit from the Chancellor’s Budget boosts to Universal Credit and the minimum wage – and the lower price of Prosecco.
For three years The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign has been calling for changes to help low-income families keep more of the money they earn.
We asked six Sun-reading families to give a thumbs-up, or down, to Rishi Sunak’s Budget.
WHITE VAN MAN
DAVE TODD breathed a huge sigh of relief as Rishi froze fuel duty.
Dave, 36, of Billingham, Teesside, who earns £1,500 to £1,800 a month clearing rubbish, says: “It’s so expensive to run my van at the moment, I’ve never known it as bad.
“It costs me about £120 to fill up, about every five days.”
“It’s particularly busy now because skip companies can’t find drivers for their wagons so it means people need other ways of getting rid of rubbish.
“But I’m paying out for the fuel. I’m really glad the duty hasn’t increased by the 3p that was suggested, and grateful to The Sun for campaigning hard for drivers to get it scrapped.”
Dave will pay an extra £67.90 in National Insurance per year but is more worried about rising food and energy prices.
He says: “It’s become almost impossible to make ends meet.” And tax cuts for some booze will not help him much.
He says: “As a professional driver you can’t have too much anyway.”
SARA COLLINS, 51, will be £465 a year better off after the so-called taper rate was cut by eight per cent, meaning staff on Universal Credit get to keep more of their wages.
Mature student Sarah, of Lancing, West Sussex, works 20 hours a week as a money coach for her local council.
The mum of three says: “It will make a huge difference to me. I had to work out the pros and cons of working. Now there will be even more benefit to me working.”
Sara gets £1,744 Universal Credit each month before deductions.
Until now, every £1 she earned over £293 reduced her Universal Credit by 63p — losing £300 of her £770 take-home pay.
But with a taper rate cut to 55p Sara will be £38 a month better off.
She says: “I’ll be able to buy food knowing I’ll have enough to last the week.”
It comes after the temporary £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit ended.
JAMES KENNEWELL and Laura Parnham will be just under £1,000 a year better off thanks to Universal Credit taper changes.
But the couple, who have kids Isla, three, and two-month-old Oakley, have just lost the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift given during the pandemic.
That loss of cash, coupled with having to pay out an extra £223.95 National Insurance means they are actually £64 a year worse off.
Diesel car driver James, 28, was glad fuel tax was not increased.
He and Laura, 25, have had to travel regularly from their home in Huntingdon, Cambs, to Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, as son Oakley was born with a hole in his heart.
James, 28, who earns £24,000 a year as a business analyst, says: “Fuel is incredibly expensive now.
He says furlough helped people but “the money has to be recouped somewhere”
SARAH MILLER will save around £2,500 after Rishi halved business rates for pubs, clubs and hotels.
Landlady Sarah, 52, furloughed her staff at the Newbold Comyn Arms in Leamington Spa, Warks, but the pandemic has cost her £100,000.
She said of the rates cuts: “It shows he recognises how tough life has been. But it is still tough.
“We have a garden, so reopened from April but there were days when the weather was bad and we closed.
“And VAT on food and non-alcoholic drinks, cut to five per cent during the crisis, is back up to 12.5 per cent.”
Tax on light beer, wine and fizz is down but she says: “Any benefit to the customer will be swallowed up by cost of living increases.”
She adds: “The price of everything we serve has gone up dramatically and we can’t pass it on to customers.”
MUM Crystal Ennis is nearly £500 a year better off thanks to the National Living Wage being raised by 6.6 per cent.
She earns £8.91 an hour as a part-time assistant at a dog- grooming parlour in Cardiff, where she lives.
But from next April she will earn £9.50 an hour — meaning £490 extra a year from her 16-hour week.
Crystal, 32, of Cardiff, also receives £135 a week Working Tax Credits to help look after son Bailey, ten.
She says: “As a single mum, things can get a bit tight. So that extra money will be really welcome.
“It is the difference between me taking Bailey on holiday or not.
“The freeze on fuel duty means I can keep the car running to get to work and back.
“And the price of bubbly coming down is great news.
“I’ll be out on Saturday with the girls — we’ll raise a glass of Prosecco to Rishi
MANDY COLES welcomes the end of the freeze on public sector pay — but only if she gets a decent rise.
NHS intensive care nurse Mandy, 37, of Tavistock, Devon, works 24 hours a week and earns about £12,000 a year.
She has a second job selling slimming products, which pays £1,600 a year.
She says of Rishi’s move on public sector pay: “Of course it’s good but it was very vague and without substance.
“So this pay increase could be just one per cent, which for nurses who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic would be an insult.
"It would have to be a good five per cent before I’d be the remotest bit satisfied.
“But it’s difficult, I wouldn’t want to be in Rishi’s shoes. The money’s got to come from somewhere.”
She also feels strongly that some of the £44billion hike in healthcare spending should be invested in training.
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