Opinion was split as Basingstoke’s politicians reacted to last week’s budget.
The measures announced on Wednesday last week promise to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties up to £300,000, improve tax rates for businesses, increase house building and pump more funds into the technology sectors.
Basingstoke’s MP Maria Miller welcomed the announcement, while Labour and Lib Dem politicians said the new proposals ‘do nothing’ to address issues that people in the area face.
Speaking after the announcement last Wednesday, Mrs Miller said: “This is a good budget for Basingstoke – investing for the long-term while supporting families and businesses now.”
She said: “[It supports] local families by increasing the National Living Wage by above inflation, cutting income tax by raising the personal allowance, freezing fuel duty for the eighth year and investing to support our NHS.”
Under the new plans, no stamp duty will be paid on the first £300,000 for properties costing up to £500,000.
Mrs Miller added: “Basingstoke residents often raise with me availability of affordable housing for first time buyers. This announcement will see building of the new homes that our young people need.”
But Basingstoke and Deane Lib Dem leader Gavin James said house prices will still be ‘out of reach’ for young people in the area.
He said: “I am really angry and so should everybody in Basingstoke be.
“Reductions in stamp duty for first-time buyers, shows how little the Tories understand the housing market in areas like Basingstoke and Deane. Cutting the tax burden on something you can’t afford anyway won’t help many people. The reality is this budget is not about people.”
Basingstoke and Deane Labour leader Paul Harvey said: “The budget did nothing to address the issues people, public services and businesses in Basingstoke face.
“The Chancellor did nothing to tackle the fall in living standards, the greatest it has been for over 60 years. Inflation continues to outstrip wages. People are losing out and facing huge pressure just to get by.
“Basingstoke deserves a pay rise. Basingstoke’s hospital and schools need investment to avert the crisis they are facing. Basingstoke’s businesses need to see investment that secures real economic growth and jobs. Basingstoke has lost too many jobs with Motorola, SSE, Shire, and Thales all leaving town.
“We believe Basingstoke, our town and borough has such potential.”