Budget’s granny tax row

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DESPITE the national media focus on what is being called ‘granny tax’, reassurances have been given by local Liberal Democrats that “No pensioner will lose any money that they already receive as a result of freezing the higher personal allowance that they are already entitled to”.

Speaking after the Budget, Borders MP Michael Moore said: “There has been much debate on the Liberal Democrat role and influence in the recent Westminster budget. What is clear is that the Liberal Democrats have secured the biggest tax cut for working people in a generation.

“New taxes have been set for the wealthy – which I am told will raise five times as much tax revenue as the 50p tax rate. For the first time there will be an anti avoidance tax rule.”

“From April 2013, the Personal Allowance increases to £9,200, and more than 45,000 people in the Borders will be £550 a year better off (a £220 tax cut in 2013 on top of a cut £200 last year and a further £130 next month. And 4,700 people in the Borders will be lifted out of paying income tax altogether.

Michael Moore said: “In these difficult economic times it is vital that businesses are given a helping hand. The reduction in corporation tax to 24% means we have reached our original target for this Parliament, and the planned further cut to 22% in 2014 will provide an extra boost further down the line. These measures will provide real help to our local businesses.”

Dunbar Lib Dem councillor Jacquie Bell said: “There has been media and other focus on “granny tax”.

“Following inquiries, I am advised by Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and others that there is no such thing as a granny tax,” said Ms Bell. “No pensioner will lose any money they already receive as a result of freezing the higher personal allowance that they are already entitled to.”

Berwickshire MSP John Lamont described it as “A great budget for the Scottish Borders which will see a huge difference made to the lives of those across the region.

“By increasing the wage at which people start to be taxed, many low income earners will now not have to pay any tax. This will have a knock on effect for thousands more as the amount of tax they have to pay is reduced at the same time.

“It was also hugely encouraging that the £5.30 rise in the state pension was confirmed. Elderly people across the Borders will now receive more financial help and start to receive the largest ever cash increase in the Basic State Pension ever.”

Scottish Government Finance Minister John Swinney said: “This Budget fails the growth and fairness test. At a time when growth is very low in the economy, and significant stimulus is required, the Chancellor has allocated next to no new resources and taken no major initiatives to support this effort.