A Midland house hunter has hailed this year’s Budget as a “real incentive” for first-time buyers.

Nicola Powell is currently looking to move from the Birmingham city centre flat she shares with husband Simon into their first home.

The 37-year-old welcomed the move to scrap stamp duty on homes below £250,000 for first-time buyers for a two-year period.

She said: “We have been looking to move out of the city centre into a house, but we have really only been looking halfheartedly, but this has given us a real incentive to step things up.

“It would be nice if stamp duty for that amount was scrapped for everyone though, as there are a lot of people who might want to be making a step up from owning a small flat to a house who won’t benefit from this.”

Car owner Mrs Powell, who currently earns £27,000 a year as a press officer at Birmingham City University, dismissed the decision to phase a three pence rise in fuel duty in three stages as a “gimmick”.

The 37-year-old said: “I am lucky because I do work in Birmingham, but before that I worked in Stafford and I used to spend a fortune in petrol.

“I don’t see how staggering the rise in three stages will help anyone, it is just a gimmick.

“The increase is going to happen anyway and having it a few months apart really doesn’t make a difference.”

Mrs Powell said the two per cent rise in wine, beer and spirits could put people off going to the pub.

She said: “We both gave up smoking a few years ago so that doesn’t effect us, but we do like to share a bottle of wine when we go out for a meal and now that is going to be more expensive.”