Brown has 10p tax rate `in sight'

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The Independent Online
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has said that Labour's promised 10p-in-the-pound starting rate for tax is now in sight, writes Stephen Castle.

Mr Brown said that the Government is in a position to make speedy progress towards the 10p objective, which was one of Labour's policy commitments in the general election campaign.

Interviewed in the Sunday Times, he did not commit himself to any specific moves in Labour's next Budget. But he said: "The time is fast approaching when the 10p tax rate that I have argued for in principle can be put into practice." One source close to Mr Brown said last night: "Chancellors never predict what will be in the Budgets."

However, Labour believes it is close to delivering on Tony Blair's pre-election pledge to reduce taxation on ordinary families if possible. Before the election, Mr Brown had described the 10p rate as a long-term objective.

The Chancellor's comments come ahead of his speech to the Labour conference in Brighton tomorrow in which he will promise a new deal for the jobless and tax brakes for low-income families.