Beer, bingo and boost for families – what Hartlepool thinks of George Osborne’s Budget

The Gardner family
The Gardner family

WE asked people across Hartlepool what they thought about the Chancellor’s announcements yesterday.


Neil Handisides

Neil Handisides

THE Gardner family from Hartlepool welcomed changes announced in yesterday’s Budget that should leave them hundreds of pounds a year better off.

Andrew Gardner, 46, who works as a funeral director, is married to housewife Ellen, 43.

The couple, of Fernwood Avenue, have two children, 14-year-old Laura, and Emma, seven.

Andrew will get to keep more of his wages before paying income tax after the personal allowance will rise from £10,000 currently to £10,500.

Jim Croll.

Jim Croll.

But the family will not benefit from new child care payments of up to £2,000 per child as Ellen is not a working parent.

She said she would have welcomed an increase in child benefits saying: “All the people who go out to work keep getting benefits for child care where us mums who stay at home don’t get any recognition really.”

Ellen added: “The problem is everything is going up but wages haven’t.”

The one-car family welcomed the scrapping of September’s planned fuel duty rise.

Jessica Doyle has started a business called R@W Products.

Jessica Doyle has started a business called R@W Products.

Ellen added: “We use the car quite a bit, mainly running the kids around to different activities like Brownies and swimming.

“As long as they haven’t put the price up that is the main thing.”

She and Andrew are also set to keep more money after a 10p tax rate for savers was abolished.


TOWN taxi driver Neil Handisides welcomed the Government’s decision to cancel the fuel duty rise which was planned for September.

The 47-year-old says he forks out around £100 a week on petrol and covers 40,000 miles a year in his eight-seater minibus.

Neil, a dad-of-two who lives in Thackeray Road, in the town, said: “To be honest it feels like fuel prices have been going up non-stop for the last seven or eight years so the scrapping of the fuel duty rise was overdue.

“I’m pleased about that, it will make a huge difference for me and other taxi drivers.”

Neil, who has owned his minibus for 13 years, is also hoping money made accessible to repair potholes will be used in Hartlepool.

George Osborne announced yesterday that a pot of £200m will be available to councils to repair badly damaged roads.

“The roads are bad in Hartlepool, but to be honest they are everywhere you go,” added Neil.

“And if your vehicle gets damaged you end up spending more on repairs.

“The Hart bypass is particularly bad, that’s terrible for potholes.

“I don’t know how the money will be allocated but hopefully Hartlepool Borough Council will get some of the pot to repair the worst affected roads in the town.”


THE Chancellor exceeded the wishes of the bingo hall industry by lowering duty from 20 per cent to 10 per cent – more than the anticipated cut to 15 per cent.

Dave Linley, operations manager at Mecca Bingo at Hartlepool Marina, said: “I was pleased to see that Mr Osborne recognised that the bingo industry was in decline, all the bingo halls, we have lost over the years because bingo had been highly taxed.”

He said this will mean more investment in the industry, better value for customers and the safe-guarding of jobs.

Player Michael Cashmore, 62, a disabled Army veteran from Stockton Road, said: “It’s about time.

“It means more money on the bingo prizes, that’s what we need.

“Osborne has taken his time doing it. Bingo is a business, and you can’t afford to keep doing it and paying too much tax.”

Doreen Laybourn, a 65-year-old retired publican and mum-of-four, grandmother-of-nine and great-grandmother-of-one from the Rossmere area, said: “I think it’s brilliant.

“It will probably mean more winnings and more money into our pockets and more money for us to come out and enjoy ourselves.”

Alan Bower, a 34-year-old dad-of-three and carer from the Headland, was one of 330,000 people UK-wide to sign a Boost Bingo petition calling for Mr Osborne to reduce the tax to 15 per cent.

Alan, who visits the hall twice a month but mainly plays online on the Mecca website, said: “It’s good for the bingo industry. Hopefully it will get more people in.”


JIM Croll has welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget which aims to boost the income of pensioners.

The 68-year-old was pleased to hear that all tax restrictions on pensioners’ access to their pension pots are to be removed, ending the requirement to buy an annuity.

Also, that the taxable part of pension pot taken as cash on retirement to be charged at normal income tax rate, down from 55 per cent, while there is an increase in total pension savings people can take as a lump sum to £30,000.

Jim, who worked at British Steel for 17 years and ICI for 22 years before being retired on health grounds, said: “The changes to the pension pots and tax restrictions are a good thing and will be welcomed.

“Pensions can be a complex business and people don’t think about the ramifications every day.

“Hopefully these announcements may simplify it,” added Jim, who lives in the Oxford Road area of town with wife, Mandy, 45.

Mr Osborne also outlined a new Pensioner Bond paying market leading rates to be available from January to all people over 65, with interest rates of 2.8 per cent for one-year bonds and 4 per cent for three-year bonds.

Mr Croll also “applauded” the decision that the fuel duty rise planned for September will now not happen.


IT was an “indifferent” Budget which did not help entrepreneur Jessica Doyle.

The 35-year-old runs R@W Produce – an online service for people to buy quality butcher and grocery produce and then have them delivered to their door.

Mum-of-one Jessica, from Wynyard, said: “I don’t really see how it will help me. Even the fuel duty freeze could have been more.

“I would have preferred to have seen it fall. Petrol prices have crept up and up to a point where the rises have almost become acceptable.

“I would rather they knock a penny off fuel duty than off beer.”

The Budget’s business changes included:

• Lending available to exporters to £3bn;

• An extension of the grant for small businesses to support 100,000 more apprenticeships;

• Business rates discounts and enhanced capital allowances to be extended for another three years on enterprise zones for another three years, the chancellor says;

• Scrapping the planned rise in fuel duty;

• The two per cent increase in company car tax to be extended to 2017 and 2018, with increased discount for ultra-low emission vehicles.

But Jessica said there wasn’t anything for start-up firms. “If companies are off the ground it’s okay but they closed down Business Link which was a portal to help companies start up.”