Budget 2013: Mancunians have their say on George Osborne’s proposals

By Kim Richards, Sarah Hodgson and Matt Scrafton

The headlines from George Osborne’s 2013 Budget appear, on the surface at least, to at last offer some reasons to be cheerful but is all what it seems?

MM hit the streets to see what the good people of Manchester had to say about the topics that will affect them the most.

Jez O’Brien, 45, Stockport, company director: “The small cut in beer prices will hopefully help to keep traditional pubs in business, I personally don’t agree with supermarkets being able to sell alcohol at such cheap prices though so I do think that a minimum price should be given across all alcohol.”

Sophie Manning, 19, Bury, student: “It seems to me that both sides will lose out in the changes to childcare benefits, because when you do work you lose out and when you don’t work you also miss out.”

Karen Burton, 42, Middleton, administrator: “I drive a lot, mostly in to work and I was quite angry when I first heard they were planning to increase fuel duty. So I’m happy to see it cancelled, but it’s still too expensive isn’t it?”

Charlie Jones, 37, Stockport, office worker:  “The cuts should not just be made to beer, it’s unfair to those of us who enjoy a drink but don’t enjoy beer, and the government are punishing those who are sensible with alcohol.”

Mo Falil, 29, Eccles, unemployed: “The freeze on fuel is positive news and hopefully it will encourage more kids to learn to drive and will lower the cost of other things such as food.”

Thomas Howarth, 67, Oldham, retired taxi company owner: “It’s good that they aren’t going to put up fuel anymore as it is already too dear. 

“I only use my car for local trips like shopping other than that I just use the tram and public transport to get around because it’s cheaper.”

“I don’t know how taxi drivers make a living anymore. A fiver used to earn you £75 back in 1994, now it’s a lot more to earn the same amount probably about £15.

“Fuel is an absolute killer, you go to other countries abroad and look at how cheap it is there and wonder how they do it and why it’s not like that over here.

 “I really don’t think the government will keep their promise to working parents – they are just promising the earth to get votes. It’s all just a gimmick.

“It just won’t happen – it’s all just to keep them sweet – they’ve lied in the past and they’ll continue to in the future.”

Mary Hogg, 44, Middleton, housewife: “All alcohol prices should be made higher if we ever have a hope of stopping binge drinking.”

Steven Meehan, 55, Ancoats, retired: “The government should leave us pub drinkers alone, why should we pay for all the people going to supermarkets for cheap booze so they can binge drink. 

“They should put up the price for the binge drinkers, but it’s us who pay.”

Charlie Lomas, 54, Collyhurst, pub cleaner: “As someone who works in a pub I know that the price of beer ain’t ever gonna stop people whether it goes up or down.

“But it is a good thing that it is going down I think – it makes a change.”

Stephanie Fawley, 28, Oldham, financial services worker:  “I think it’s unfair to keep putting up the price of alcohol.

“I understand that part of why they are doing it is to discourage under-age drinking but at the end of the day the rise in tax on spirits and other drinks just hits the wrong people in reality – it’s the legal drinkers that suffer.”

Silvia Reid, 83, from Fallowfield, retired former local council worker: “I have a car that I use every day, so hopefully this will help me as petrol is too expensive as it is.

“I receive a pension which I’m pretty happy with; it’s just the taxes I’m not such a fan of!”

Eddie Maloney, 56, from Manchester city centre, unemployed: “I used to drink bitter but not much anymore, so it won’t really affect me. I do smoke though, so I think they should come down. They’re always hiking them up and I think it’s disgraceful, they’re always kicking the working man.

“I’ve been ill recently but because I’ve not been working they kicked me off my benefits. They’ve made things worse, I can’t even feed myself proper.”

Martin Reynolds, 61, from Stockport, civil servant: “Beer causes less damage, if you drink it responsibly anyway, so I’m quite happy to see the 1p cut. A surge in the prices of other types of alcohol won’t work though, people just seem to keep drinking.

“The tax allowance should be a good thing and hopefully it’ll encourage more people to work. It’s got to better than sitting at home watching Jeremy Kyle hasn’t it?”

Kissle Cowi, 43, customer service assistant, Trafford: “The government have no choice but to rise the amount of alcohol because of the current economic climate, we cannot expect anything to change because they are not really in charge.”

Photo courtesy of EEPaul, with thanks.

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