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Budget set to affect Kent drinkers and drivers today

Alistair Darling
Alistair Darling

by Jo Sword

Drinkers, smokers and motorists are among the groups likely to be targeted in today's Budget.

But the Chancellor might try to woo voters by deferring the three pence a litre increase in fuel duty which is due to come in next week.

Jo Tanner is from the Tunbridge Wells-based Freight Transport Association.

He said: “Pump prices are already sky rocketing. Many prices are already touching the 1.20p a litre, which is extraordinary bearing in mind the cost of oil at the moment by the barrel is relatively stable.”

Francis Gorham represents licence holders in Kent and runs the Red Lion in Hythe. He says he's expecting a hike in alcohol duty - which will put more pressure on pubs struggling to survive.

He said: “Obviously it means putting prices up. Most pubs should have put their prices up twice already this year and I think most of them haven’t because we desperate to hold onto the trade that we have got in the present climate.”

Andrew Aves from the Kent and Medway Federation of Small Businesses said: “We would urge the Government to re-think their propsed increases on National Insurance. This is a tax on jobs.

"We lost over 60,000 private sector jobs in the last quarter of 2009 and the FSB forecast that should this be implemented another 47,000 jobs could be at risk.”

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