BELEAGUERED households have seen TWO Budgets – and a massive tax U-turn – in just six weeks.
In September members of our Sun readers’ cost-of-living panel thought they were in the money thanks to Kwasi Kwarteng’s giveaway plan.
And they give their verdicts, too.
The NHS Worker – £608.50 worse off
MEGAN DANCER, who is currently on maternity leave looking after eight-month-old son Louie, earns £22,000 a year.
Her partner Dan, 32, is on £24,000 as a machine operator in the steel industry.
After Kwarteng’s mini Budget in September they were set to be £617 better off.
But because the threshold when you start paying tax is now being frozen, it will cost the couple, from Bournemouth, £494 next year.
Also, child allowance payments will not rise in line with inflation, which means they will miss out on an extra £114.50.
Megan, 28, says: “It didn’t sound like we were going to come out winners this time as we’re not on benefits.
“I’m returning to work early from my maternity leave. I don’t think we’d survive if I don’t.
“Our mortgage payments are going up next September. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to get easier for some time.”
The Security Worker – £361.50 worse off
CORPORATE security worker Muhammad Afzal 41, earns £45,000 a year.
He lives with wife Aneela and daughter Izzah, 11, in Ilford, East London.
He will be hit by the freeze on tax allowances and child benefit.
Muhammad says: “It’s going to be tough. With everything else going on, every £100 is going to make a difference now. Things are going to be tight.
“Our mortgage renewal comes up at the end of the next year, so that will go up. We’re going to have to start saving to prepare for that.
“They talk about cutting back but there’s nothing left to cut back for us.
“I think the Conservatives have made a bit of a mess of this. They’re meant to be all about the economy, but we’ve never had it this bad.
“I’m hoping that next year inflation will be under control. Hopefully the war will end and that will bring prices down too. All we can do is hope for the best.”
The College Support Worker – £1,243 better off
MICHAEL THORPE will see his £13,000-a-year college salary rise by £1,258 thanks to the national living wage going up from £9.50 to £10.42 an hour
And because he gets £3,000 a year Universal Credit, he should receive a £150 cost-of-living payment.
Divorced Michael, 62, pays £465 a month for a one-bed housing association flat in Southend.
He was due to pay an extra 11 per cent on his rent but Jeremy Hunt capped social housing rents at seven per cent, which means he will save £223.
But the freeze on tax thresholds will cost him £247.
He says: “The Tories have got their priorities right now. They’re giving to the poor rather than the rich and thinking it will trickle down.
“It will really add up for me and it’ll mean I’ll be able to put more money on the electric meter.
“The bills are going up, but wages are going up, so it should even up. Overall, I’m happy with it.”
The Hairstylist – £247 worse off
AS a work-from-home hairstylist, Rebecca Suter earns £21,320 a year.
She will be worse off because her personal tax allowances are not going up with inflation and have been frozen instead.
The 45-year-old, from Loughborough, Leics, says: “It could have been a lot worse. But whenever there’s a Budget everything always seems to go up.
“My mortgage will be up for renewal soon, which is a real concern.
“But I think increasing the national living wage was a positive move.
“Liz Truss was right to resign as PM and I like Rishi so far. He seems level headed.
“He doesn’t make knee-jerk reactions to things and so far he seems quite trustworthy.”
The Supply Teacher – £608.50 worse off
SUPPLY teacher James Arthur and wife Amelie will lose out on £608 a year because tax allowances have been frozen until 2026.
James, 33, and Amelia, 34, live in Ashtead, Surrey, with their one-year-old son Leon. They both earn £45,000 a year.
James says: “After a turbulent couple of months, it’s a sour twist that we’ll be even less well off.
“I’m not too pleased to be at this point of the rollercoaster. We’ve been up and down over the last couple of months. I think we’re paying the price for the Truss experiment and I blame her more than Rishi.
“I suppose we have to just get on with it now, but we’ll have less disposable income.”
But he was delighted the Chancellor is putting an extra £2.3billion into schools.
He says: “I welcome the commitment and I’m optimistic Rishi will deliver on his promise of improving our schools.”
The Supermarket Worker – £2,147 better off
RETIRED lorry driver Allan Lunn works part-time in a supermarket to make ends meet.
The 71-year-old earns the national living wage, which will go up in April by 92p an hour and give him an extra £855 a year.
But the tax threshold freeze will cost him £247.
His state pension will rise by ten per cent, boosting his income by another £1,239 and he will get the £300 cost-of-living payment being given to all pensioners.
He and wife Sam, 62, a part-time carer, live in Horncastle, Lincs.
Allan says: “That’s really, really good. The only thing that blunts it for me is my two-year fixed deal on my utilities runs out in July.
“My bills will probably double, which will likely cost an extra £80 per month.
“It’s more than I hoped I would get, but it looks like I may need half of it to pay for my electric and gas.
“Overall, I think the saying, ‘We’re all in this together’, is probably about right.”
The Disabled Mum – £1,975 better off
The Chancellor raised benefits by 10.1 per cent, which means she will receive an extra £1,939 – nearly £40 a week.
She will also get a £150 cost-of-living payment.
But Lyndsey, 40, of Kellington, North Yorks, who lives with daughter Georgia, ten, will miss out on another £114.50 after child benefit was frozen.
She says: “I was getting worried about benefits claimants being left behind. That is great and a big, big help.
“We’ll be better off from April but we just have to get through winter, which is obviously the hardest.
“It’s really good though, as long as they stick to it. This time next year, it should mean things aren’t quite so difficult.
“Being forced to see a work coach doesn’t affect me. My disability has no prospect of improvement, I will only deteriorate.”
The Bank Worker – £988 worse off
AS a first-time buyer, Lauren Hutchinson was happy the stamp duty cut survived the axe.
The 28-year-old bank worker and boyfriend Matty Hooper, 29, an accountant, will now save £11,250 on their house purchase.
The couple are weeks from completing on a £624,999 three-bedroom semi near Blandford Forum, Dorset.
Lauren says: “The Budget was nerve-wracking, but we are relieved reduced stamp duty is staying for now.
“But the energy price cap rise is the news we didn’t want to hear. It means our bills will go up just as we have all the other costs of moving in.”
Lauren and Matty – both 40 per cent taxpayers – will each be £494 worse off from April after tax bands were frozen.
Lauren says: “It’s painful but there’s no other option.
“Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak have a difficult job fixing the mess they inherited.”