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27th Mar 2014 9:15am | By Editor
The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave his Budget to Parliament last week, and the results will influence how you live for the next year.
From what you eat, to your smoking and boozing habits, the Budget determines how much of your money you'll spend doing what you like.
There have been loads of mixed messages and misleading headlines appearing here, there and everywhere since the report last Tuesday, so unless you’ve read the full report yourself and understand some of the political mumbo jumbo being thrown around, it’s tricky to know what to believe. For example, you’re probably assuming that ‘inflation’ automatically means an increase in the price of the things we love to do, such as drinking, going out and travelling. However, this – fortunately - isn’t always the case.
Firstly, the price of beer has actually been cut by about 1p per pint! Alright – this doesn’t sound like a huge saving but, on average, we consume over 12 units of alcohol per week (5.2 pints) – or just over 270 pints - a year. Therefore, we save over 271p (or £2.71) a year. This still isn’t a huge saving but it could buy you another pint and any saving when it comes to beer is a positive thing. The more important message is that we’re being encouraged to unwind, relax and enjoy themselves, albeit in a slightly patronising way. Additionally, the cost of other alcohol, like cider and spirits has been frozen, including the price of Scotch Whiskey - craftily brought in ahead of the this year’s vote for Scottish independence, and the plans to increase the price of wine have been stopped – great for all of us who like a drink now and then.
Tobacco prices have again risen to the price of around 28p per 20 cigarettes. Although this may seem a bit much to many smokers after previous price hikes in the past years, this might encourage the number of people who smoke to cut down and even ditch the habit. Our age range make up a considerable portion of smokers in the UK, so any help in beating the habit before those health issues we’re always told about take hold should be welcomed. It may seem a nuisance now, but in the long run, discourage the purchase of tobacco can only be a good thing, I guess.
Another aspect of the Budget which will affect us is the promise of increased apprenticeship opportunities; it’s hard to find a job at the moment but for those of us who want to work, an apprenticeship is a good way to get your foot in the door. Additionally, for those of us who like to go out and travel by car, £200m has been dished out to local councils to repair potholes and the price of fuel has also been frozen – so hopefully no more extortionate repairs on our tires and claims on our insurance. Although it’s been controversial and may not be your cup of tea, the cost of Bingo has been reduced by 10%. The cost of airport transport duty has also been cut so long haul flights over 4,000 miles now cost less.
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