Britons have revealed their concerns over inheritance tax, childcare costs, electric car costs and the housing market as Jeremy Hunt prepares to reveal his Budget.

The Chancellor is thought to have decided on a 2p cut to national insurance rather than the more expensive option of the same level of reduction in income tax.

Mr Hunt is in addition expected to unveil a new tax on vapes, an increase in tobacco duties and scale back or even scrap the UK’s ‘non-dom’ tax rules.

He could also extend the windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers’ profits and abolish tax perks for landlords who rent out their properties to tourists.

As he aims to set dividing lines with Labour ahead of the general election later this year, MailOnline has spoken to more than 20 households about their finances:

‘We’re in the sticky middle… and it’s so frustrating’

Sam and Tom Kennedy Christian

Sam Kennedy Christian and her husband Tom are just above the High Income Child Benefit Threshold but would like to see it reformed to take into account household income. 

‘I want to caveat by saying it’s a really good problem to have, that my husband earns too much,’ said Mrs Kennedy Christian, 38, who works as a parenting coach. 

Mr Kennedy Christian, also 38, is a video producer who usually earns between £50,000 and £60,000, though at times this can be more or less. 

Sam Kennedy Christian with her husband Tom and children James, one, and Rose, five

Sam Kennedy Christian with her husband Tom and children James, one, and Rose, five 

Mrs Kennedy Christian originally did qualify for child benefits after having their first child, Rose, in 2018 and knew she needed to claim them in order to protect her National Insurance. 

But after giving birth to their second child, one-year-old James, she only had maternity allowance. 

Now working part-time to juggle child-care, Mrs Kennedy Christian currently earns under the income tax threshold. 

But as her husband’s income fluctuates, she needs to constantly calculate whether or not they’ll need to return the benefits at the end of the year. 

‘It’s very difficult with all the admin of claiming child benefit, checking whether it needs to be sent back and keeping it saved just in case. And we’re lucky to be in a position where we can not touch it until we’re sure it won’t need to be returned,’ she explained. 

‘It just feels very unfair that it’s not calculated through combined income and not how it was intended at all.’ 

As part of her job, Mrs Kennedy Christian helps mothers navigate the difficulties of balancing work and childcare – a struggle she knows well. 

Previously working in the charity sector, she became self-employed partly to be a mother, saying: ‘Schools close at three and workplaces don’t, and it’s the women who are stepping back.’

‘It’s that Catch-22 of getting childcare in order to work, then having to spend all the earnings from work on getting childcare.’

If the threshold was changed, Mrs Kennedy Christian said the additional money would definitely be spent on childcare so she could take on more work. 

She added: ‘I just feel like we’re in the sticky middle. And the impact of that on mothers is so frustrating.’

‘We’re not receiving as much support for the children’

Bryony and Daniel Lewis

When Bryony Lewis, 39, had her second child, she was originally entitled to child benefits – £139 per month for both children. 

However, after her husband Daniel, 38, took on a new managerial role that brought his salary just over £60,000, their family no longer qualified. 

Mrs Lewis had been fully self-employed – running keepsake business T&Belle – since March 2022 in order to work more flexibly and not have to spend so much on childcare. 

Bryony and Daniel Lewis at home in Fareham with their children Izzy, five, and Theo, seven

Bryony and Daniel Lewis at home in Fareham with their children Izzy, five, and Theo, seven

That decision, which caused their income to drop significantly, was part of the reason why her husband had taken on the new role. 

But now, given that his income is just above the High Income Child Benefit Threshold, their children are missing out on the after school activities that the added income used to fund.’

She said: ‘It’s just frustrating because on paper our income is the same but we’re not receiving as much support for the children as before – despite now paying more tax.

‘It’s just frustrating because on paper our income is the same but we’re not receiving as much support for the children as before – despite now paying more tax.’

Mrs Lewis thinks the threshold would make more sense if it took into account a couple’s combined income. At the moment, she said, ‘it just doesn’t feel very fair’.

‘Everything has shot up but taxable income hasn’t risen’

Michael Taylor and Nora Taylor

Michael Taylor, 33, is considering moving to Dubai if the government decides to make changes to Capital Gains Tax and Isas in this year’s Spring Budget. 

He and wife Nora live with their 11-month-old between London and Hartlepool in County Durham, where his parents are. 

Mr Taylor is a self-employed stock trader who teaches about financial trading on the side. 

Michael Taylor and his wife Nora, who split their time between London and Hartlepool

Michael Taylor and his wife Nora, who split their time between London and Hartlepool

Most of the couple’s earnings are tax free because of spread betting and Isas. Their business, meanwhile, doesn’t earn more than £50,000 so is in the basic tax bracket. 

After taxes, their annual earnings are in the six figures. Mr Taylor would like to see more support for businesses like his, as well as for spread bets and ISAs to remain tax free. 

He said: ‘Say your business earns £12,000, £2,000 of that is going straight to VAT. Corporation tax is then another 25 per cent, so £2,500, making the net income for the company just £7,500, which is then taxed 33 per cent by Dividend Tax, meaning the business directors are bringing in less than £5,000.’

‘Because my business does over £85,000 in revenue, it means I need to charge VAT. People will say that VAT is paid by the customer therefore it doesn’t matter, but to the customer it means my prices are 20 per cent higher – meaning that I either drop my prices and make less, or lose business because of the higher cost.

‘As a services business, there’s also little for me to claim back. In Dubai, VAT is 5 per cent and not 20 per cent, and no personal income tax. So after all taxes, it means I keep less than half of what I earn if I am to go into the higher tax bracket.’ 

In terms of his investments, Mr Taylor thinks that because he is already taking risks with his money and pays 0.5 per cent stamp duty on share prices, as well as financing fees and commissions, he does not see why he should be further taxed on money that can go towards a company’s investments.

He also thinks that tax bands need to be raised to match inflation and the rising cost of living. ‘In London, everything has shot up but taxable income hasn’t risen,’ he said. ‘People aren’t making what they used to and tax bands should adjust to that.’

‘For years, we’ve just been in survive mode’

Reshmi Bennett

Baker Reshi Bennett would welcome any personal tax breaks in this year’s Spring Budget because it would ‘help with just surviving’. 

The 40-year-old runs cake-making business Anges de Sucre in Farnham, Surrey, with her husband. 

The couple moved to Farnham with their six-year-old son, Xavier, last September, after the rent for their home of eight years in Richmond, South West London, suddenly shot up from £1,200 to £1,900. 

Reshmi Bennett, pictured baking a cake at home in Farnham, Surrey, with her son Xavier, six

Reshmi Bennett, pictured baking a cake at home in Farnham, Surrey, with her son Xavier, six

‘It was very expensive to move but we’re hoping to see savings kick in,’ Mrs Bennett explained. ‘For years, we’ve just been in survive mode. I’m just waiting for the gear to switch to thrive mode.’ 

In the last few years, the Bennetts have had to cut down on their bakery offerings, let go of staff and reduce their delivery days. 

The pair pay themselves a minimal salary and otherwise make do on dividends from the bakery, though these too have been squeezed. Mrs Bennett added: ‘we’re not living at large.’

And while an increase in the untaxed personal allowance limit and reduction in national insurance would make both her own life and that of her customers easier, Mrs Bennett would like to see more support from the government for businesses as well. 

‘My livelihood is directly impacted by my business,’ she said, ‘and if I don’t see more money going through, I won’t be particularly comforted’. 

Ideally, Mrs Bennett would like to see any tax breaks on corporation tax, as well as a change to VAT – reducing the burden on the hospitality industry, which her bakery tends to supply to. 

In terms of personal income tax cuts, Mrs Bennett thinks that any reduction would be welcome to help with their skyrocketing fuel and energy bills. ‘It’s a band aid, but I welcome that band aid,’ she said. 

With the cost of living crisis meaning fewer people are ordering their bespoke cakes, Mrs Bennett decided to adapt her baking skills – publishing an illustrated children’s cookbook for families to bake together at home. 

She also started making ‘FakeBakes’ with her son, where the pair buy £10 worth of ingredients from a local shop and create a showstopping but budget-friendly cake each weekend.

‘There’s not enough of a safety net for mums’

Michelle Minnikin and James Eaves 

Michelle Minnikin’s number one hope for the budget is that something is done about childcare. The organisational psychologist, 45, originally went part-time when her son was younger because childcare was more expensive than their rent. 

‘Even when my son was little – childcare was unreal and it’s much worse now,’ she said. ‘There’s not enough of a safety net for mums.’ 

Ms Minnikin and her husband James Eaves run their business Work Pirates – which helps organisations with leadership – together. 

Michelle Minnikin and James Eaves from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who run a business together

Michelle Minnikin and James Eaves from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who run a business together 

Ms Minnikin, who has been self-employed since 2016, also recently published a book, Good Girl Deprogramming. 

The couple currently rent in a suburb of Newcastle-upon-Tyne but are hoping to be able to buy a home soon. ‘The amount of money you need to spend to get something decent is just unreal,’ She explained. 

They insisted they would not be pushing their 14-year-old son to go to university for a similar reason. Ms Minnikin said: ‘Unless you want to be a doctor, why would you go? You rack up so much debt and how do you justify that? 

‘Especially nowadays when degrees aren’t even that well-considered. You’re just as well off doing an apprenticeship and learning a skill.’

During the pandemic had two diesel cars, which they then swapped for an electric vehicle (EV). However, Ms Minnikin said that she and her husband were planning on returning the car in October when its lease is up. 

‘It’s just the amount of extra thought required when driving it,’ she explained. ‘Everything becomes a chore. And as soon as you have to go on long trips and use public chargers, it’s a nightmare.’ 

She said that part of the problem is that the infrastructure for EVs in the North of England is insufficient, adding that there are not enough chargers and even when one is available, it’s often in a dark corner of a petrol station. 

‘As a woman on my own, sometimes I don’t really feel safe enough to stop and charge the car at night,’ Ms Minnikin said. 

Costs have also spiked in recent years. She added: ‘It’s just got more and more expensive since we first got it. It has business benefits for us, but it’s just not worth it.’

‘I would welcome any tax cut’

Amit and Sonal Singh 

Amit Singh, 40, and his partner, Sonal, have just signed on their first home – a two-bedroom apartment in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, that they have been renting for the past five years. 

Mr Singh is a project manager who earns just below £50,000 a year, while his partner is an academic. 

The pair saved up in a Lifetime ISA account that he opened two years ago, but Mr Singh wishes he had opened it earlier. ‘It’s a great scheme for encouraging people to save,’ he explained.  ‘I wish I first started investing in a Lisa in my early 20s.’

Amit Singh and his wife Sonal, who are in the process of buying their first home in Aylesbury

Amit Singh and his wife Sonal, who are in the process of buying their first home in Aylesbury 

However, Mr Singh thinks that the Lisa property cost threshold – currently £425,000 – could be higher given the rapid rise in property costs and inflation. 

‘The threshold definitely played into where I purchased it,’ he said. ‘If the threshold was higher, we would have bought a bigger space.’ 

He also thinks that the minimum 12-month period between making your first payment into the Lisa  and using the funds to buy a property makes things more difficult for first-time buyers. 

‘If you like a property but are facing that time duration, it can go,’ he said. Mr Singh watched his new two-bed rise in price from £180,000 when they first moved in to £220,000 in just five years.

Mr Singh thinks that the 1 per cent deposit scheme is a good idea – but very much depends on the rate of the mortgage. ‘I’d rather save more and pay less interest than pay a higher rate of interest and use less savings,’ he explained.

He also said he would love to see tax brackets shifted up in the Budget, as well as for personal allowance to be increased. ‘I’m being paid more because inflation has gone up, but it’s making me more tax liable,’ he said. 

‘That extra money is just being taxed away. I don’t mind paying more tax if I’m seeing the value of it, but I’m not. The roads are c**p, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to get my pension and the NHS doesn’t really work. I would welcome any tax cut’.

‘If you’re buying with a partner it’s so much easier’

Olamide Majekodunmi 

Despite working a full-time job that puts her in the higher tax band, 26-year-old Olamide Majekodunmi, known as Ola, is struggling to get on the property ladder.

Ms Majekodunmi, who also runs her own personal finance platform – All Things Money – on the side, currently lives at home with her parents in London but is hoping to buy her first property within the next four years. 

To do so, Ms Majekodunmi says that lending restrictions need to change to make it easier for a single and self-employed person to get a mortgage. 

‘Firstly, there should be a way to check affordability outside of income,’ she explained. ‘If you’re buying with a partner it’s much easier than when you’re buying on your own.’

Olamide Majekodunmi, from London, wants to buy her first property within the next four years

Olamide Majekodunmi, from London, wants to buy her first property within the next four years

Similarly, Ms Majekodunmi thinks that the Lifetime ISA property threshold – currently £425,000 – needs to be higher. ‘I’ve been saving in a Lisa, but that cap just isn’t enough for people looking to buy property in London,’ she said. 

Ideally, Ms Majekodunmi would be looking to purchase a two-bedroom flat in London, likely in the £300,000 to £350,000 region. ‘That’s the dream,’ she said. 

However, if property prices continue to rise at the same rate, by the time Ms Majekodunmi has saved enough, those properties could be even more expensive than her Lisa limit. 

‘If they’re not prepared to raise the cap then they should at least remove the penalisation charge. People are increasingly realising that they can no longer use their savings to pay for their ideal house,’ Ola added.

‘It’s an absolute nightmare to get on the property ladder’

Polly Arrowsmith

Polly Arrowsmith, 56, is having a ‘nightmare’ trying to get back on the property ladder for a second time. 

Now the director of two businesses, Ms Arrowsmith used to run her own multi-million pound business with 18 members of staff. 

Following a split from her ex-husband, however, Ms Arrowsmith lost the business as well as her 1,700 square foot townhouse in the affluent London neighbourhood of Islington. 

‘It was only after losing my home that I realised how hard it was to get on the property ladder in London – it’s an absolute nightmare’, Ms Arrowsmith said. 

Polly Arrowsmith, 56,from North London, who is looking to buy a property in a tough market

Polly Arrowsmith, 56,from North London, who is looking to buy a property in a tough market

‘Without inheritance or a very well paying job, you cannot get into the housing market. It’s very dispiriting.’ 

Ms Arrowsmith, who currently earns less than £50,000 a year, is hoping to stay in Islington – where she has lived for 16 years – but one or two-bedroom flats in the area rarely sell for less than £450,000. 

She thinks that the government needs to do more to ensure that purchasing a house isn’t a pipe dream for those without considerable wealth. 

‘In London at the moment, people aren’t able to get on the property ladder and it’s splitting society,’ she said. ‘It’s quite a blunt tool for social engineering.’

One way this could be done, Ms Arrowsmith thinks, is by regulating non-doms buying properties in London, as well as doing something to equalise buying with a mortgage with buying in cash. 

She said: ‘There are so many non-doms living in London who can pay in cash. It just makes it look like a monopoly game. 

Over 50 per cent of houses in Islington were bought in cash. If you’re from the US or your currency is linked to the US dollar, we’re bargain basement UK. If someone’s offering to buy from you in cash, who are you going to choose?’

Ms Arrowsmith doesn’t believe that introducing 1 per cent mortgages will be much help. ‘It will just make prices skyrocket,’ she explained. ‘When Help To Buy came into play, people just needed a 5 per cent deposit. 

‘All that happened was that flat costs were raised massively. The same happened with the partial removal of stamp duty during Covid. People started piling into the housing market, especially purchasing second homes and luxury houses. 

‘With 1 per cent mortgages, we’ll just see another rocketing up of prices because there’s not enough property for people to buy.’ 

Instead, she thinks, the Government needs to spend more on building more houses. ‘It’s become a much wider issue now – one or two policies in a budget can’t fix it,’ Ms Arrowsmith added.

‘Opening a Lifetime Isa will make a huge difference to me’

Katie Oliphant

Katie Oliphant, a 26-year-old HR co-ordinator living in Cambridge, is saving for a deposit to buy her first home in a OneFamily lifetime ISA. 

She and her partner Cormac, 27, each have an account – and say setting them up was a ‘no brainer’ given the free bonus. But Miss Oliphant thinks the Government could be providing extra help to her and other first-time buyers. 

‘I opened my Lifetime Isa (Lisa) in 2019 and have since managed to save more than £19,000, including the free government bonus,’ she said. ‘My dad encouraged me to set up my account and I’m so glad I did as it will make a huge difference to me and my future when the time comes to buying a house. 

Katie Oliphant, 26, is saving for a deposit to buy her first home in a OneFamily lifetime ISA

Katie Oliphant, 26, is saving for a deposit to buy her first home in a OneFamily lifetime ISA

‘I initially put some money in after a trip I’d saved up for fell through because of Covid. I then set up a direct debit, but recently cancelled it because everyday costs have gone up and my budget is tighter.’ 

Given the cost of living crisis, Miss Oliphant would like to see the Government remove the Lisa property cap or increase it. 

She explained: ‘House prices are so high now, especially in areas down south like London or Cambridge. If you are looking for a three-bed house to raise a family in, in certain areas this could cost more than £450,000. I do think this is unfair as in other parts of the country, house prices are lower.’ 

She also thinks there need to be changes to the penalty. Miss Oliphant said: ‘If people need to take money out of their Lisa for another purpose, I understand losing out on the government bonus, but it doesn’t seem fair to have a chunk of their own savings taken away. 

‘I think it is particularly unfair that, if people were to buy a property for more than £450,000, they wouldn’t be able to use the Lisa savings and so would be penalised for withdrawing the money for their deposit. That doesn’t make any sense to me,’ she added. 

Miss Oliphant and her partner are hoping to buy a three-bed house within the next five years in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire or somewhere else with good transport links into London.

‘I feel like we’re just being taxed for tax’s sake’ 

Vicky Borman

Vicky Borman, 45, would welcome any personal income tax break announcement in the Budget. ‘Any money back in my pocket is welcome at the moment. Our bills are just astronomical,’ she said. 

Mrs Borman runs wellbeing company CBD Angel from her home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, as well as renting out a Grade II-listed property she owns on Airbnb. She and her husband, who is a self-employed plasterer, share three sons aged 11, 16 and 19. 

She explained: ‘The country needs a bit of a break right now. I feel like we’re just being taxed for tax’s sake.

Vicky Borman, 45, pictured in the bedroom of her property in St Neots, Cambridgeshire

Vicky Borman, 45, pictured in the bedroom of her property in St Neots, Cambridgeshire

‘My husband is self-employed, and it’s the builders like him who keep everything ticking that we need to do more to protect by ensuring that they’re not being taxed within an inch of their life.’ 

Mrs Borman’s dislike of the current rate of taxation extends to inheritance tax, which she thinks needs reform. 

She said: ‘Someone spends their whole life working and then you want to tax them for dying? If you work hard for your money, it should be your own personal choice what you do with it.’

Mrs Borman inherited £178,000 from her 94-year-old grandmother in 2020, which fell below the inheritance tax threshold. 

However, she said she has already started having conversations about inheritance tax for her sons’ sake, as well as setting aside money for care as she and her husband get older.

‘Why at the point of death are people still being taxed?’

Natalie Burrows 

Nutritionist Natalie Burrows, 34, thinks that inheritance tax needs to be reformed and made more nuanced. ‘For me personally, the inheritance that I’m due is not a reflection of what I’ve grown up with,’ she explained. 

‘It’s money that my family have worked hard for in the past two generations, not something we’ve been accustomed to.’ 

Ms Burrows’s grandfather Bernard Byne was in the Navy and then worked in the Foreign Office, while her father was an accountant for the Minister of Defence. 

Natalie Burrows, 34, shows a photograph of her late grandparents, Bernard and Gillian Byne

Natalie Burrows, 34, shows a photograph of her late grandparents, Bernard and Gillian Byne

Her parents currently live in Hampshire, in a beautiful house that Natalie is set to eventually inherit, alongside her parents’ liquid assets. 

‘Why should I pay tax on something already taxed when it was earned?’ she asked. ‘Why at the point of death are people still being taxed?’ 

Ideally, Ms Burrows, from Bedfordshire, would want to see the threshold of inheritance tax expanded as well as for there to be more consideration around where that inheritance has come from. 

‘It feels like a punishment when my family have improved our future,’ she said. ‘It will go back into the economy where more tax will be applied too. There needs to be nuance in regards to what’s the overall wealth of that person when inheritance tax is levied.’

‘As long as tax is being spent on public services, I’m happy’

Richard Oldfield

Richard Oldfield thinks that – if anything – inheritance tax needs to impact more people, not less. 

The 64-year-old, who retired four years ago from a data privacy job at Exxon Mobile, currently lives with his partner of 28 years in a four-storey house in Kent. 

‘The public sector is crying out for funding – it needs to have more money put into it,’ he explained. 

Richard Oldfield, 64, and his dog, golden retriever Rollo, outside his property in Kent

Richard Oldfield, 64, and his dog, golden retriever Rollo, outside his property in Kent

‘Inheritance tax is a tax that entirely reasonably applies to the wealthy – just 4 per cent of the population – and they’re the group that are almost certainly capable of exploiting all the loopholes they can to avoid paying the tax.’ 

He added: ‘It really ought to be the top 10 per cent that are paying, and the loopholes should be closed’. 

Mr Oldfield’s estate would be heavily impacted by inheritance tax – although he says he’s only really become wealthy since retirement due to being fortunate with his shares. 

He admits that if he had children he would likely be doing everything he could to avoid the tax. However, his current retirement plan is simply: ‘Let’s get this spent’. 

He and his partner are going to Las Vegas next week and recently went hot air ballooning in Melbourne. ‘We’re doing everything we like,’ he explained. ‘I don’t like paying tax, but as long as it’s being spent on public services, I’m happy with it.’

‘Money from inheritance tax should help the homeless’

Blair Hilton 

Retired civil servant Blair Hilton, 79, would like to see inheritance tax scrapped altogether. Mr Hilton currently lives off his civil service pension as well as some investments he made prior to retirement. 

His home in Thornby, Northamptonshire, is worth in excess of £400,000 and any assets that will eventually be left are above the £325,000 inheritance tax limit. 

With three children and four grandchildren, he recently met with financial planning service Best Invest to see about getting his house put in trust as well as advice on the rules of gifting assets to family members. 

Blair Hilton, 79, of Thornby, Northamptonshire, would like to see inheritance tax scrapped

Blair Hilton, 79, of Thornby, Northamptonshire, would like to see inheritance tax scrapped

‘Right now, my beneficiaries would be looking at a tax bill of over £100,000,’ he explained. ‘That would be a fair amount if it’s not all already been taxed.’ 

Mr Hilton thinks that the inheritance tax allowance should be raised in light of house price inflation. 

He also thinks that more clarification needs to be provided on certain aspects of inheritance tax – for example, what exactly is seen as tax avoidance by the HMRC and why the threshold for untaxed gift giving is seven years. 

‘It just feels arbitrary,’ he said. ‘It would feel fairer if all the money raised by inheritance tax went directly to social housing or to help with homelessness.’

‘If you fall in the middle ground, you get stuck’

Liakat Parapia

Retired NHS consultant Dr Liakat Parapia, 74, thinks inheritance tax is a ‘silly tax’. 

After retiring 14 years ago, Dr Parapia took out his entire NHS pension and invested it in a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP), where he has now accumulated a good amount of money. 

He also has investments in ISAs and the stock market, managed by AJ Bell, as well as owning a number of properties.

‘My main issue is that I think inheritance tax is a silly tax because it taxes the dead and only 4 per cent of the population actually pay it,’ he said. 

Retired NHS consultant Liakat Parapia, 74, spoke about inheritance tax and the need for reform

Retired NHS consultant Liakat Parapia, 74, spoke about inheritance tax and the need for reform

‘It would make much more sense to expand capital gains tax – which would hit people like me who own property – or instead have a withholding tax, where the recipient of the money pays a tax. To tax dead people when they’ve already paid a tax on it seems a bit unfair.’ 

Dr Parapia also thinks that the very rich are able to protect themselves from actually paying any inheritance tax. He explained: ‘If you fall in the middle ground, meanwhile, you get stuck. Billionaires tend to pay less tax than ordinary working people.’

More taxation for those at the very top, Dr Parapia added, can be used to help public services like the NHS.

He said: ‘The very complex taxation system in this country sadly catches out the people at the bottom. The present form of taxation doesn’t help the health service because it just becomes a political football – what it actually needs is money and management.’

‘So much of the national wealth is being sunk into housing ‘

Colin Reed 

Retired lawyer Colin Reed, 65, said he would like to see the Government implement more realistic policies that promote economic growth – particularly in the tech and business sectors. 

Mr Reed retired early at 56, and is currently living on investments until his state pension comes in at the end of this year, which is why he’s concerned with the prosperity of UK companies. 

‘I don’t want to see the UK housing market continue to be overemphasised over business growth,’ he said. ‘So much of the national wealth is being sunk into housing but it’s not generating wealth or focusing on the important areas.’ 

Retired lawyer Colin Reed, 65, from Newcastle, who is now a business investor

Retired lawyer Colin Reed, 65, from Newcastle, who is now a business investor

Instead, Mr Reed thinks fledging companies need more support and incentive from the government, whether in grant assistance, more support past the start-up phase, or a nurturing process during the early years. 

However, Mr Reed is against the scrapping of inheritance tax, which he thinks will have two consequences. The first of these could be a run on selling shares in the AIM market – consisting of 700 UK fledging companies – by wealthy investors, as many only invest in such companies to protect their assets. 

‘It’s a big incentive for people to invest in AIM – if there were a run on those shares because they are perceived as higher risk, a lot of those companies would be unable to grow,’ he explained. 

The second ill-considered adverse consequence of abolishing inheritance tax, he argued, would be the loss it would cause to public expenditure. 

‘Inheritance tax raised £7billion in 2022-2023 – what would happen if this was lost? Public services need more money not less,’ he said. 

‘Everyone would love to pay less tax and many like myself in retirement who need their investments to support their standard of living would prefer to have less taxes to pay, but you have to balance the equation perfectly.’

‘If I’d spent my whole life claiming money, I’d be better off’

Eddie and Sylvia Lewis

Eddie Lewis, 92, a retired engineer and Korean war veteran, is now the primary carer for his wife Sylvia, 90. 

The couple – who have been married since 1955 – live off their state pension and marriage allowance, a sum that they say will not even allow them to pay their TV licence when the rate goes up in April. 

Mrs Lewis, who worked in catering, is currently in remission from ovarian cancer four years ago but still requires a lot of help from her husband. ‘I’m very disappointed in the current government,’ he said. 

Eddie Lewis is a Korean war veteran and now full-time carer for wife Sylvia, married since 1955

Eddie Lewis is a Korean war veteran and now full-time carer for wife Sylvia, married since 1955 

‘That £31million for MPs for protection – I’m dead against that. They already have a good wage and all their expenses. It’s us, the working class, who have to pay the taxes to fund all these people.’ 

The couple, who have three children and 25 grandchildren and great-grandchildren combined, receive £13,334 in state pension annually, as well as £5,540 in marital allowance. 

‘It’s been quite a struggle in recent years making ends meet,’ Mr Lewis admitted, ‘but it seems like there are millions struggling around the country’. 

‘I was in the Korean War, and I’m disgruntled. I’m a person who worked hard all my life, I’ve never claimed a penny off the government and always contributed into the pension. So I’m beginning to think that if I’d spent my whole life claiming money, I’d be better off.’

In his free time, Mr Lewis said he likes to attend the Salvation Army’s ‘Prime Time’ club in Worcester, where he socialises with other pensioners. 

‘It’s just trying to keep your head above water all the time’

Yvonne Bailey

Grandmother-of-three, Yvonne Bailey, 78, could not afford to heat her house over the winter. 

She receives Pension Credit, the state pension top up for those on a low income, on top of her usual weekly pension payments of £200, which gives her an extra £70 a week. 

However, Ms Bailey is still so pressed for money that she cannot afford to heat her two-bedroom bungalow for more than an hour a day – and that’s only during a particularly cold spell. 

‘I’ll only put it on for a short time to warm myself up after getting back from the shop,’ said Ms Bailey, who has health conditions such as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and arthritis. 

Grandmother-of-three, Yvonne Bailey, 78, could not afford to heat her house over the winter

Grandmother-of-three, Yvonne Bailey, 78, could not afford to heat her house over the winter 

After putting on the heating for a week during a cold spell earlier this year, she received a gas and electricity bill that totalled £100. 

‘The triple lock thing was good but it still doesn’t bring my pension up to basic pay level,’ she added. ‘Heating a home for one person costs the same as for a family – and families are still struggling to pay as well. I don’t want to get into debt with the fuel company.’ 

Ms Bailey has been a widow for 26 years and lives by herself in Oxfordshire. As well as paying for adequate heating, she has been struggling to pay for food since prices have shot up. 

‘I miss meat and fish so much,’ she admitted. ‘Now when I want meat I have to save up. It’s ridiculous.’ Ms Bailey said she had lost around two stone in the last year due to ger needing to skip meals. 

‘It’s just trying to keep your head above water all the time. When you get older, it shouldn’t be like that,’ she explained. ‘I’ve worked since I was 16 and I thought I’d be able to go and enjoy myself in retirement – not anything extravagant, just go and tour a garden centre or something. But they don’t think about the people at the bottom.’

‘My family only goes to the pub on special occasions now’

Luke Herman 

Brewery owner Luke Herman, 35, thinks scrapping alcohol duty is the least the government can do to help the struggling industry. 

‘Alcohol duty in this country is far far too high – Britain is often the most expensive country in the world for alcohol duty,’ he explained. ‘Last July, the duty was 3p on a 5 per cent bottle of beer in Spain while in the UK it was 47p. It’s just not helpful.’ 

Ms Herman owns the Crafty Brewing Company in Dunsfold, Surrey, supplying pubs across the UK with ales and lagers as well as making custom beer that they sell online. 

Luke Herman, 35, owns the Crafty Brewing Company in Dunsfold, Surrey

Luke Herman, 35, owns the Crafty Brewing Company in Dunsfold, Surrey

Though the business has expanded since its launch in 2014 from producing 100 litres a day to 5,000 litres a day, the cost of living crisis has seen it take a hit. 

While 90 per cent of their exports pre-Covid were to pubs, it’s now down to just 30 per cent ‘due to the price of a pint,’ he explained. ‘My family only goes to the pub on special occasions now because it’s just so expensive’. 

Their electricity bills tripled last year, while the price of CO2, used to carbonate the beer, quadrupled. Fuel costs have also had an impact as the brewery has vans on the road constantly. 

As well as seeing alcohol duty cut by 5 per cent, Mr Herman said there was more that needs to be done to help breweries like his. 

He added: ‘VAT, for example, bothers me. When I buy barley or hops there’s no VAT because they’re considered food but when I combine the two and make beer, I have to apply VAT. If beer is governed by the same hygiene practices as food, why is it taxed differently?’ 

Similarly, Mr Herman would like to see beer duty made simpler after last year’s draft relief changes. ‘Where I used to have a pricing matrix. I now have to know where the beer is sold because it’s a different duty depending on where its sold, making things much more complicated.

‘I think that should go – it should just be one flat rate,’ he explained. ‘I feel like I’m constantly paying HMRC. They want their money the following month no matter what, but that doesn’t mean the invoices that generate those taxes have been paid.’

‘It would be great to see some help for small businesses’

Lizzie Zahoranska-Earle 

Former midwife Lizzie Zahoranska-Earle, 45, now works as a childbirth educator, training midwives and doulas. 

She decided to go freelance three years ago, claiming that she believed problems within the NHS were contributing to birth trauma, and now runs her own training courses as well as on contract for the health service. 

However, Ms Zahoranska-Earle said that the current VAT threshold was stopping her from running as many courses as she’d like – meaning she often has a waiting list for her services. 

Midwifery trainer Lizzie Zahoranska-Earle, 45, pictured in a teaching studio in Leicestershire

Midwifery trainer Lizzie Zahoranska-Earle, 45, pictured in a teaching studio in Leicestershire

‘When you reach £85,000 in profits, you change brackets and essentially need to reach £130,000 to be making money again,’ she explained. ‘While £85,000 sounds like a lot of money, for a small business it’s not really enough after overheads.’ 

Ms Zahoranska-Earle said the threshold puts pressure on her to stay below £85,000 and she thinks many small businesses are likely facing the same issue. ‘It would be great to see some help for small businesses come through,’ she said.

Ms Zahoranska-Earle also thinks the NHS is in desperate need of more funding, but she is not holding her breath for it. 

She claimed midwifery was particular is in crisis, with the NHS set to lose 50 to 60 pre cent of its midwifery base due to a combination of retirement, emigration following Brexit and burnout. 

‘For every 30 midwives being trained, they’re only retaining one,’ Ms Zahoranska-Earle said. ‘The bursary for student midwives was stopped in 2017, which was devastating. 

‘If you’re a student midwife, you’re not just standing there, you’re caring for people in labour. The government needs to step up and recognise the importance of midwifery students.’

‘Held to ransom by 80p per hour charging station prices’

Pat Mulligan

Father-of-five Pat Mulligan, 51, bought an electric car almost three years ago with the intention to use it for his work as a wedding DJ. 

Mr Mulligan also has a van, which he uses to transport his bulkier equipment, but wanted a more cost-efficient vehicle for his frequent shorter journeys to a nearby venue that has its own DJ set. 

At the time, nearby charging stations in Bradford, West Yorkshire, were free. However, the cost of electricity quickly rose to just under 30p per kilowatt hour – which the average electric vehicle (EV) uses every three miles. 

Father-of-five Pat Mulligan, 51, is concerned about the cost of charging an electric car

Father-of-five Pat Mulligan, 51, is concerned about the cost of charging an electric car

Now, he said one kilowatt hour costs roughly 80p, making it more expensive than driving a Bentley on petrol. At home, meanwhile, the car can charge for just 7p a kilowatt hour. 

‘Physically, my car can’t even go a 50 mile distance without needing to be charged,’ he said. ‘So you’re held to ransom by those 80p per hour charging station prices’.

Therefore, he would welcome a VAT cut to public charging station, as his EV is now exclusively used by his wife Laura, who uses it to drive across town to the school where she works. 

‘It’s now cheaper for me to drive to work in a diesel transit van than an EV,’ Mr Mulligan explained. ‘The government needs to take a more holistic view about EVs if they still want to encourage people to drive electric – especially given the added cost to buy and insure one. 

‘There needs to be more investment to make them attractive for people to drive – they’re just no longer cost effective.’

‘With every budget, we fall into that middle space’

James Bore 

James Bore, 40, who lives with his partner Nikki Kopelman, 35, just outside London, says he spends a small fortune on travel costs to get to and from work every day. 

Mr Bore runs a family technology consulting company and is the second generation to do so. He previously had a hybrid BMW 30e series for three years but gave it up because it was so expensive. 

His new petrol car – a much cheaper second-hand Skoda – is more expensive to run, but overall saves him money because he only uses it a few times a month. 

James Bore, 40, lives just outside London and runs a family technology consulting company

James Bore, 40, lives just outside London and runs a family technology consulting company

Mr Bore said that even if VAT on public charging stations was lowered, he would never be incentivised to go back to driving an electric vehicle. 

‘On long journeys, I was always forced to use petrol as it was so much faster than having to wait around for the car to charge,’ he said. ‘I’m not willing to change to anything but a hybrid while the infrastructure remains so poor.’

Mr Bore added that he isn’t particularly optimistic that this Budget will help him financially. He explained: ‘What I’ve found with every budget is that we fall into that middle space. 

‘Because we’re marginally within the higher tax bracket, we tend to lose out when personal allowance is raised or benefits expanded but also aren’t impacted by capital gains or inheritance tax reform. It’s kind of a nothing for us – the budget comes with no real benefits, we just about manage and continue to do so.’

He and his partner have been impacted by the cost of living rising and feel the Government has been very hostile to small businesses like theirs. 

‘There’s was a demonisation of small businesses during the corporation tax rise because of the idea that if you’re a business owner then you must be massively wealthy. 

‘However, the vast majority of businesses are microbusinesses like mine, where there are only zero to three employees. Because our family business has been around for over 30 years, we’ve seen how things have changed for small businesses for the worse.’

‘It feels the benefits of having an electric car are declining’

Emma Morgan 

Mother-of-two Emma Morgan, 44, from Dorset, has had her electric Skoda Enyak for two and a half years and would never swap back to a petrol car. 

She chose an electric vehicle (EV) mainly for environmental reasons, as she doesn’t believe that using fossil fuels is sustainable for the earth. 

Ms Morgan runs a sustainable bamboo pillowcase and sleep-mask company called All About Sleep and likes to be environmentally conscious in all areas of life. 

Emma Morgan from Dorset changed from a petrol car to an electric for environmental reasons

Emma Morgan from Dorset changed from a petrol car to an electric for environmental reasons

She found her new car to have a much better performance, easier to drive and particularly likes that you can press a button to defrost it on cold days. 

However, Ms Morgan thinks there is a lot more to be done by the Government to make driving an EV appealing. 

‘When I first bought my electric car, it was much cheaper to run than a petrol car,’ she explained. ‘But since then, the cost of electricity has gone up, insurance has gone up massively and servicing is very expensive.’ 

An added disincentive, Ms Morgan thinks, is the fact that the government are reversing the road tax exemption for EV users in April 2025. 

‘It feels almost like the benefits of having an electric car are declining and that’s a real shame,’ she explains. Ms Morgan would like to see road tax kept at zero for EVs – particularly as they are normally much more expensive to buy in the first place. 

She also thinks that, as electricity costs continue to rise, the government needs to incentivise people to buy electric cars in every way that they can. 

‘They need to invest more in infrastructure for EVs – there still aren’t many chargers in a lot of places and its very tricky to charge the car in remote areas,’ she said.

Ms Morgan usually charges her car at home as it’s much more expensive to use public charging stations, but she is forced to do so when on long journeys. 

If the government were to lower VAT for public charging stations she would be all for it, saying: ‘That sort of encouragement is good.’

‘My rental income has taken a real hit’

Saurabh Gupta 

Saurabh Gupta, 46, runs a room-to-rent platform as well as renting out six of his own properties as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Reading and Watford. 

He decided to start his website – roomforrent.com – to help with the struggles faced by both renters and landlords alike. 

Mr Gupta explained: ‘I came to the UK in 2003 with just two suitcases and rented for years. I’ve lived the life of a tenant, and now am a landlord, so I wanted to make things simpler for both.’

Saurabh Gupta, 46, runs a room-to-rent platform and rents out six of his own properties

Saurabh Gupta, 46, runs a room-to-rent platform and rents out six of his own properties

However, with the energy price hike in recent years, he is struggling to turn a profit. He said: ‘In my six-bed HMO, gas and electricity used to be around £260 a month just two years ago. 

‘Now it’s £800. Landlords can’t increase rent that much to cover those bills – it would be more than £80 per room, which is a lot to be asking from a tenant.’

He would like to see the government provide a rebate for skyrocketing energy costs, saying: ‘We need some kind of respite. Some landlords are having to sell their properties.’

With the profit of renting properties decreasing, Mr Gupta said he was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain them to his typical standard as a result. ‘My rental income has taken a real hit,’ he added.

‘Everything goes up, but our money doesn’t’

Rebecca Savage 

Mother-of-four Rebecca Savage, 52, is the full-time carer for her autistic eight year old son, who has a number of health conditions. 

She lives in Camberwell, South London, with two of her children and currently receives Income Support, though will soon be transferred to Universal Credit. 

Ms Savage’s main hope for the budget is for more funding to be allocated for helping children with special needs. 

‘There’s not the support around for them. It’s not their fault that they have these conditions but they’re the ones being made to pay,’ she said. 

‘We’d all like more money and for things to be less expensive but I feel like I’m fighting a battle because there’s so many people with special needs children but there’s no funding for their education.’ 

Ms Savage’s son recently had to leave the school he had been attending for the past three years because they couldn’t support the needs of his medical condition, so she has had to take over educating him at home herself. 

Alongside taking him to regular doctor’s appointments, and volunteering at the Salvation Army baby bank in Camberwell, this now takes up most of Ms Savage’s time.

As well as better educational support, she wishes there were more after school activities available for children with special needs. In terms of personal allowance, Ms Savage said that it would be nice if the money went up. 

‘With the cost of living – everything goes up, but our money doesn’t,’ she explained. ‘You end up getting yourself in debt.’ Her family’s situation has been particularly rough in the last year. 

‘For six months, we’d go to the food pantry,’ she said. ‘Now, we’re going to be put on Universal Credit but I’m dreading that, because I haven’t heard much good feedback. 

‘I’m also worried that I won’t be able to still bulk buy supplies that my son needs, which I do now to save money. Those necessities cost me around £150 per month.’

But Ms Savage added: ‘No amount of money helps with the sacrifices you make for your special needs children. Money is not the be all and end all. I’d swap that for letting them be like any normal child.’

Post source: Daily mail

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