POLITICIANS fighting to join the city council at the coming local election today outlined how Gordon Brown's budget might affect the people of York.

City of York Council Leader Dave Merrett said: "This budget is good news for York. Families, pensioners, children and working people all stand to benefit."

Coun Merrett said York pensioners would benefit from abolition of some pension deductions and increase in winter fuel allowances.

Changes to tax credits in the budget mean extensive breaks for couples with two children until their income reaches nearly £20,000 a year.

"I know there are many families in York who will benefit from this," Coun Merrett added.

Liberal Democrat Leader Steve Galloway queried where the money was for key services in York such as hospitals, schools and leisure centres. He added: "We very disappointed our idea to shift the burden of council tax away from pensioners to those earning over £100,000 a year was not taken up. If it had York residents could have looked for a council tax rebate of £100."

Conservative Leader John Galvin said: "The budget is based on the Chancellor's forecasts, which have not proved very accurate in the past and I doubt they will be accurate in the future. "York taxpayers are suffering from National Insurance increases and hefty council tax rises "It is my view that taxes in whatever shape or form will continue to rise under this present Government."

Green Party spokesman and Fishergate candidate Mark Hill said the budget was "idle short-termism."

He said: "York has transport problems, the nearest he has got to a transport policy is about a fiver on a car. The aviation industry is the single biggest source of CO2 emissions, but benefits from huge tax breaks.

"Tax it and the Chancellor creates the opportunity for a more sustainable transport policy."

Bob Looker, a Socialist Alliance candidate in the Micklegate ward, said Mr Brown's budget speech was "verbal Niagara."

He said: "He grudgingly put the estimated war cost at £3bn when most informed observers are saying £10bn.

"One commentator said there is not much money around, we seem to have lots of money as long as it is spent on bombs for Iraq."

Monster Raving Loony candidate Eddie Vee hit out at the lack of help for hat wearers.

"The Panama and Trilby are going to disappear, we'll be left with Justin Timberlake lookalikes with tea cosies on their heads."

Mr Vee also criticised the penny on beer and car tax rises as "hitting the common man."

He said: "The rise in beer prices isn't a very nice welcome home for the troops."