Alistair Darling’s Budget was never going to win any gold stars from Birmingham headteacher Matt Smith.
The 47-year-old, who has run Northfield Manor Primary School for the past two years, said while an upcoming election might have set the stage for an A+ address, the state of the economy put paid to that.
But Labour-supporting Mr Smith, who was previously deputy headteacher at Clifton Primary School, in Balsall Heath, welcomed most of what the Chancellor had to say.
With his school in an area hit hard by the recession, he was pleased with a rise in stamp duty for wealthier property-owners and an extension to 2012 of six-month work or training guarantees for under 24s.
He said: “We need to make sure we are helping under 24s because otherwise we will breed a generation of unemployed.
“We have felt the pinch around this area with people losing jobs. Although the recession doesn’t seem to be biting in the same ways, when you dig down it is for some people. The number of children having free school meals has gone up in the last year as people lose their jobs.”
Mr Smith is still paying his mortgage on a salary which see headteachers earning between £35,000 for a small primary school to £120,000 for a large secondary school.
On the rise to five per cent on stamp duty for residential property sales of more than £1 million, he said: “It’s not unfair to ask people who can afford a million pound house to pay more stamp duty.”
While he was not convinced funding for 20,000 new university places was needed, he was encouraged the places for maths and science students would increase diversity.
He said: “There are a lot of graduates out of work and we need to make sure we are training people appropriately. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to go to university.”
Mr Smith, who walks from his home in Selly Oak to the school where his two teenage sons also used to go, saw the environmental benefit the increase in fuel duty rise might bring.
He said: “I’ve never driven a car to work in 25 years so I hope this might make people think more about alternative ways of travelling.”
The non-smoker, who runs marathons and plays rugby, also welcomed £2 billion investment to back low-carbon industries.