George Osbourne has revealed the budget for 2014/15 and once again the House of Commons was full to the brim of politicians behaving like they were in a pre-school classroom. This lengthy announcement detailed the shape of the British economy and the “master-plan” for the year ahead. As with all Conservative economic speeches it included the infamous catchphrase ‘we are all in this together’. A phrase which has been used so much that it seems apparent that the Tory frontbench actually believe it. The vigorous Churchill (the dog, not the ex-PM) style nods that David Cameron was producing every time Mr. Osbourne said those words suggests that this is the case. The shadow Prime Ministers response followed as Ed Milliband bashed Tory policy, using the same arguments that Labour have been using about their counterparts for decades. They are ‘out of touch’, ‘elitist’ and their ‘ideas originate from the Bullingdon Club’. It was a speech so un-noteworthy that the Vice Speaker was probably more memorable with his slightly comical interjections to calm the backbenchers down and stop them waving pieces of paper. Oh isn’t politics in this country so fun!
You probably couldn’t care less what has happened. You’re students and the government two years ago showed that you aren’t going to be a priority by tripling the cap on tuition fees. I’m afraid, yet again, students were not the focus point as most of the positive reform aimed to assist pensioners. However, some policy change will impact on student living and here is a round-up of how you’ll be effected in the new tax year:
Beer Duty will be cut by a magnificent 1p per pint. That is the second year in a row that this has happened! If the pubs pass on this cut to the customer you stand to save £6.70 next year if you drink 15 pints a week. It’s not staggering but it’s better than nothing! However, for all of you that like a bottle of wine, it is going to cost you slightly more as of April.
Above: The Drinks Industry raise a glass to the new 1p cut!
The personal allowance has gone up from £10,000 to £10,500, which means you have an extra £500 untaxed income per year. As students I doubt you have a part-time job which earns you anything close to £10,000, so it doesn’t really affect you. However, many of you will be graduating and getting “real” jobs in the next year or so. If you receive a good starting salary, £20,000 for instance, you’ll be paying £142 less tax next year (Income Tax and National Insurance).
Unfortunately for all you smokers, you’ve been hit again by the budget. The price of a 20-pack of cigarettes is going to rise an average of 28p; a whole 2% above inflation. That means that if you smoke 3 packs per week (8/9 cigarettes a day) you will be almost £30 worse off over the next 12 months. Smoking is easy for the government to target, so don’t expect to see the trend of above inflation price rises to end any time soon.
For all of you students that have a car at University, there is some good news! The tax on fuel has been frozen for the next year and the planned September increase in fuel prices has been abandoned, so you are safe for now. Plus, there have been a few other small changes which may save drivers a quid or two, so it’s been a good budget for motorists.
Above: Fuel prices have been frozen for the time being.
The one pound coin is changing after 30 years in circulation. Round clearly isn’t the in thing right now, as the Bank of England has opted for a dodecagon (12-sided) coin. According to experts, currently 3 in 100 pound coins are fake, due to quality counterfeits being easy to produce. This new coin is meant to be the ‘safest’ coin around, meaning that the same problem cannot occur!
So, all-in-all the new budget announcements don’t affect students that much. A few savings here and there but if you’re a smoking red-wine drinker you’ll be paying a couple of quid extra each week. The real worry for students is the previously announced government plans to sell off student debt. This could be bad news for anyone who will be or is still paying off their student loans. Nothing is certain, so we’ll have to see what happens but student protests are beginning to form which could make this a very interesting student issue.