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Lib Dems say pre-Budget is complacent

In response to the pre-Budget report, Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Dr Vince Cable MP says: “Last week the Prime Minister gave us the politics of fear; this week the chancellor has offered the economics of complacency. There are serious challenges ahead from the falling dollar and from the rapid downturn in the UK housing market and rising personal debt. But they have not been confronted.

“Gordon Brown faces a specific challenge to his credibility from the threatened breach of the ‘golden rule’.

“He must open up fiscal policy to an OFSTED style inspection by allowing the NAO to inspect and evaluate he government’s accounts. The chancellor can no longer get away with setting the tests and marking them himself.”

Cable went on to emphasise that the government’s margin of safety regarding the Budget is small with some dangerous loose ends:

He says: ” For example British taxpayers are facing the full brunt of the costs of the Iraq war. In the first Gulf War grateful Arab and European allies paid 80% of costs. This time we will pay at least 5bn if we stay in Iraq until January 2006.”

“Tough choices need to be made and the Liberal Democrats are the only party to be explicit about what will be cut to allow for spending on areas such as pensions, policing and education. Our cuts would include the ID card scheme whose costs are spiralling out of control – its estimates have doubled in the last few days; the Baby Bond scheme; and the big growth in spending envisaged in the DTI.”

Cable went on to criticise the chancellor for his failure to make the tax system simpler or fairer.

He says: “However well intentioned the chancellor’s tinkering, he has made taxes extremely complex.

“Many pensioners and hard working families now face marginal rates of tax over 50%. It is hypocritical of the government to attack the Liberal Democrat 50% tax rate on people with high incomes.

“It is about time the chancellor tackled the tax system to make it fairer to reduce the inequality. Abolishing the regressive Council Tax would be a good start to achieving this.”


Bradford & Bingley makes solid progress

Bradford & Bingley says the group is making solid progress and currently expects trading profit for the full year to be towards the top end of estimates.It says its lending business has continued to show good growth with arrears levels and charges for loan loss provisions remaining low.Refocus of the core retail business has been […]

Scottish Provident on target for 60m CI payouts

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Cartel survey reveals uncertainty in housing market

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AMG commissions xit2 to create customised system

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Canada Life annual IHT survey results

75% of wealthy unaware of new residence nil rate band IHT allowance Just 4% were aware the new allowance will be up to £175,000 per individual Lack of awareness of IHT rules means families risk paying a bigger bill than they need 83% think the current inheritance tax rules are far too complex A remarkable […]


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