Budget 1999: Backbench Reaction - Acclaim from Labour ranks

REACTION FROM from Labour MPs in the lobbies was forthright. Some, highly critical of the Government in the past, said they were proud of Mr Brown's measures as they left the chamber.

"What a week," said Alice Mahon, a left-wing Labour MP. "First the ramblers and right-to-roam, then Michael Howard going, and then this Budget. It's like Christmas."

The increases in pensions and the fuel bonus of pounds 100 to help pensioners' winter heating bills were seen as the most popular of the Chancellor's give-aways. MPs who had found it difficult to defend the Government's record in their constituencies said they were looking forward to going home. "It shows Gordon Brown has listened to the party. It's a very redistributive Budget," said another Labour left-winger.

One source close to the Treasury team said the Chancellor had paid for the pounds 4bn give-away by keeping to tough spending limits in the first two years. "It's payback week," she said. Ministers as well as humble backbenchers were stun-ned by the number of surprises in the Budget package.

"We were sitting there wondering what he was going to do next. It was one bonus after another," said a ministerial aide.

Nigel Griffiths, the former trade and industry minister, said: "It's Gordon showing that the compassion that drew him into the Labour Party shines as bright as ever."

As the Chancellor announced the 10p rate of tax and a 1p cut in the basic rate to 22p, a senior minister leant across to his colleague and said that William Hague might as well go home. "What can he say? He can wave the white flag and say, `I'm joining the Labour Party'."

As the Tory leader replied by accusing the Government of putting up the tax burden, Labour MPs went off to the tea-rooms to celebrate. Ann Keen, a former community nurse and now ministerial aide to Frank Dobson, the Health Secretary, was delighted by the additional spending for hospital accident and emergency units, which would help to tackle the logjams for patients.

"This Budget recognises for the first time that there is a link between poverty and ill-health. It's a Budget for children and for families. It will go down very well in our constituencies," she said. Labour MPs said the Budget was the foundation for victory at the next election.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible