Mail on Sunday
GORDON BROWN bestrides the British domestic policy agenda. His budget can be criticised for being too complex, too fiddly-interventionist and, having too many fiscal conjuring tricks. Perhaps, he was also too optimistic about the global economics surrounding it. He redistributed income, targeted the poorest in work and all within a clear political agenda. The middle classes were kept on side.
LAST WEEK, we urged the Chancellor to remain prudent and allow the economy time to deliver. In the broadest sense, he did just that, delivering a fiscally neutral package, wrapped cleverly in some headline-catching measures. Once again, he was able to take with one hand, give back with the other, and be praised for doing so. How the Tories' hapless spin-doctors must hate him.
THE STRAIGHT answer to the tax question is that they are going up significantly, but not by as much as they would have done before Tuesday. The Government is so far ahead in the polls, and in the public mind when it comes to economic competence, ministers did not need to sell themselves as reborn tax-cutters. In doing so, they distracted from what was, in many respects, a clever Budget. (David Smith)
NATURALLY ALL Chancellors try to put the best possible gloss on their measures, but Mr Brown has gone further. He has soured the atmosphere with his lack of honesty.
Gordon Brown is getting the reputation of someone who cannot be trusted, who jabs his finger at the camera, and then says: "I did not have tax increases with that Budget!" when - in fact - he most certainly did.
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