A HEADTEACHER is calling for more direct funding after last week's Budget provoked a mixed response in Wyre Forest.

A £200 million national education boost will mean £2 million for education for Worcestershire County Council, while cash has also been pumped into schools.

But Kevin O'Regan, head of Wolverley High School, said: "I would like to see the money being used to level out the funding so the poorest authorities, such as Worcestershire, come closer to those which are swamped with money already."

Wyre Forest MP David Lock said heads in the district would receive direct cash boosts of between £13,000 and £115,000 - but Mr O'Regan said he wanted schools to receive more direct funding in future.

Mr Lock also claims district families with children will be an average of £240 a year better off as a result of the Budget.

"I particularly welcome the new money going into recruitment of nurses and for the fight against crime and drugs," he added.

Chancellor Gordon Brown confirmed cuts of 2p on unleaded petrol and 3p on diesel in his Budget speech last week.

Derek Biggs, managing director of Franche Motoring Centre, Franche Road, Kidderminster, said: "Any reduction in the price of fuel is good for the public."

Mr Biggs, who introduced fuel rationing at his centre during the height of the crisis last year, said he felt people paid too much tax on fuel.

"Obviously it doesn't go far enough, but we're in touch with the day-to-day price of fuel and any further cuts will have to come from reductions in duty," he added.

The Budget has been geared largely towards families - at the expense of the elderly, according to the chairman of Wyre Forest Pensioners' Convention.

Pat Moorfield-Webb said a pension credit to be introduced in 2003, designed to benefit pensioners with modest savings, was not enough - especially after last year's "insulting" 75p rise in pensions.

"The Government ought to do more for us, but a lot of pensioners are frightened to speak up for themselves," she added.

The chairman of Wyre Forest Business Club believes small businesses will face difficulty in building a stable workforce as a result of increases in maternity pay and the introduction of paternity leave.

Clem Prothero said these measures would "add to the ever-growing pressures on small businesses to act as the Government's tax collector and benefit payer".

And Wyre Forest's Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate Mark Simpson said district voters he had spoken to were "less than impressed" with the Budget.

"A common view was that Gordon Brown may have given back a small amount but had still kept a huge amount of tax he had raised over the past four years," he added.