Budget 2021: What do you want to change?

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By Beth Timmins
Business Journalist, BBC News

Image source, Ruby Torry
Legend, Ruby Torry wants minimum wage to rise or national insurance to fall

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will present his review of the budget and spending in the House of Commons next week, outlining the government’s spending and fiscal strategy.

Changes to the national minimum wage could be announced, as these workers have been hit hard by the economic downturn.

New climate measures and changes in corporate taxation are also expected.

We asked six people across the UK what they want from this budget.

“I want the minimum wage to increase”

Ruby Torry, a 23-year-old waitress at Zizzi’s restaurant in Meadowhall Shopping Center in Sheffield, lives in Rotherham with her mother and earns minimum wage.

“I watch my bills and don’t mess around with purchases, but I want to see the minimum wage go up or the national insurance tax go down,” she told the BBC.

Zizzi had put Ms Torry on leave, but said she couldn’t cover her bills, so she worked for Asos in the company’s Barnsley warehouse during the pandemic. She says she would also like to see more incentives for apprenticeships.

“I wanted to do an engineering apprenticeship, but I couldn’t have lived on a salary of £ 800 a month – I couldn’t even pay for my car with that,” she explains.

“The minimum wage needs to go up, I don’t know how the government thinks we can do anything with it.”

“Universal Credit must face higher bills”

Image source, Michelle wilson
Legend, Michelle and her daughter Charlize

Michelle Wilson is a single mother from Glenrothes in Scotland and has already felt challenges after the weekly £ 20 increase in universal credit ended on October 6.

“It’s a real worry because the increase was almost £ 100 per month which is my main store now gone so that’s another big stress,” she told the BBC.

She added that she would like to see increases in universal credit and the minimum wage to reflect the increase in household costs due to inflation.

“My kids are eating healthier with this increase and it’s a big drop when I’m worried about my gas and fuel bills,” she says.

Ms Wilson previously worked as a support worker for Fife Council, but one of the reasons she quit her job was because she was struggling with the cost of childcare as a single parent.

She said it would be “helpful” if the budget encouraged more flexible hours for working and finding childcare, as it is limited to 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Ms Wilson is reportedly backing government measures to help cope with the surge in energy bills, with which she said she “struggled to keep up” as rising costs make her “more lively”. more difficult”.

“It should be easier to hire foreign workers”

Image source, Nick Gray

Nick Gray founded Gtech, which makes floor and garden cleaning products with a turnover of £ 70million. The company employs 200 people across the UK and sells over 22 million products in 19 countries.

Mr Gray said the budget shouldn’t make it harder for companies to employ foreign workers, which he said would be a “step backwards” amid labor shortages.

Another of his demands is that a corporate tax increase be avoided, as he says it “risks companies moving their headquarters elsewhere and less bureaucracy would be better for attracting investment to the UK” .

Raising the taxation of high incomes “also risks lowering the country’s overall tax income,” he adds.

“High incomes should pay more taxes”

Image source, Jon tolley

Jon Tolley runs the independent record store Banquet Records in Kingston, Surrey. He believes the fairest way to pay for the pandemic is to raise taxes for the people and businesses that earn the most, rather than increasing everyone’s national insurance tax.

“I want customers and my employees to have disposable income and money in their pockets, so they can spend it on the main streets,” he adds.

Mr Tolley explains that the company has had a ‘correct’ year and twice received a cash grant of £ 25,000 from the government for having had to close the store – an action which he said was’ welcome and effective. “.

But he adds that he would like “to see something change on the prices of the companies”.

“We are competing with online stores that don’t have to pay the same High Street rates and rents, so the playing field needs to be leveled.”

Image source, Jon tolley

The company pays the standard 20% VAT on products and Mr. Tolley doesn’t want to see that increase.

“We have not had a ‘just in time’ inventory control at all, due to delivery delays, but we are fortunate to have storage capacity and to have ordered well in advance for Christmas. . “

“Encourage greener technologies”

Hollie Whittles, digital strategy specialist and director of human resources at Purple Frog Systems, says she wants to see a review of the companies’ pricing system.

She says small businesses often “don’t have the time to figure out” taxes and rates.

Ms Whittles says it is “crucial” to ensure that taxes designed for large organizations are not avoided or passed “downstream to their small business clients.”

Regarding climate measures, she welcomes subsidy programs such as the Low Carbon Opportunities Program (LOCOP) and the Business Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP), which encourage companies to adopt greener technologies.

“It is essential that the government support the journey of small businesses to net zero, especially small businesses representing over 99% of all private sector businesses,” she adds.

Image source, Hollie whittles
Legend, Hollie whittles

On changes to apprenticeship programs and student loans, Ms Whittles, who works with 14 employees, said she would like more support for small businesses wishing to train and develop their staff in new technologies that benefit careers at long term and to the local economy.

Ms Whittles said there had been “considerable challenges” in accessing the government’s Kickstart program, which creates new jobs for 16 to 24 year olds through universal credit.

The government should also support programs and investment in skills for older people wishing to change careers, she said.

“The state pension should increase”

Image source, Lynne turner
Legend, Lynne turner

Lynne Turner is 71 and would like to see her basic government pension of £ 137.60 per week increased.

“It is absolutely not enough. I am thrifty, but I could not survive with a decent lifestyle if I had only my pension,” says Turner.

Ms Turner says she could not afford to contribute to a private pension in the past due to childcare costs. Without an inherited cottage in Wales, the rent of which supplements her board, she “could not get by,” she says.

She adds that she would support a beer tax, which “she wouldn’t mind at all,” but says that because so many small businesses struggled during the pandemic, she would be against making them pay more taxes.

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