Leading Article: Don't do it, Mr Brown

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The Independent Culture
NIGEL LAWSON'S reputation as Chancellor of the Exchequer was dented by the boom and bust of the late Eighties. But as a tax reformer, his six-and-a-half years still deserve their place in history. He managed to simplify the tax system to a significant degree, but left much work still to do. Unfortunately his successors have undone much of the good work, and now Gordon Brown threatens to wade deeper into the morass of tax reliefs, dodges and exemptions.

Last week he relaunched his scheme to give tax breaks on directors' share options in "high-risk" companies, a revival in more complex form of a discredited scheme he attacked while in opposition. Now he is said to be planning capital gains tax concessions for long-term investments. This is all a terrible mistake. The best way to encourage enterprise is to make the tax system as simple as possible, not to devise make-work schemes for accountants.

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