Business View: The new dawn is fading already for golden Brown

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Good morning, Chancellor, or should we say Prime Minister elect. It is a lovely morning in Kirkcaldy, if you ignore the wind and the rain. And you, Gordon Brown, can look out towards a bright future, which should see you moving from No 11 to No 10 Downing Street in the next two or three years.

Good morning, Chancellor, or should we say Prime Minister elect. It is a lovely morning in Kirkcaldy, if you ignore the wind and the rain. And you, Gordon Brown, can look out towards a bright future, which should see you moving from No 11 to No 10 Downing Street in the next two or three years.

But I have to tell you, there are a few issues that could trouble the digestion of your Arbroath smokies.

I've identified 10 medium- to long-term challenges - and in no particular order, here they are:

The new Chancellor. As you are picking him (or her), you will no doubt choose one of your most trusted friends. I'm sure you would like it to be Ed Balls, but the change may come too soon. In which case, Alistair Darling should fit the bill. Having been the most admired chancellor in living memory, you will no doubt want to pass on your advice and guidance. In fact, you might find it hard letting go, which could lead to even more creative tension than you had with Tony Blair, or than Margaret Thatcher had with Nigel Lawson. Micro-management is good when you are Chancellor, but bad when you are PM.

Tax take. In your early years at No 11, a growing economy with a booming IT and financial sector led to a great inflow into the coffers. But this has dried up and you are wondering how to bridge the gap. Your tax-avoidance measures in the Budget were wisely postponed until after the election and should now be rethought. Any attempts to tax big corporations harder could see multinationals quitting the UK - bad for jobs, revenues and image. And taxing small businesses will choke off the entrepreneurial spirit you keep saying that you want to engender. So are you going to hit the pockets of the hard- working families you also keep going on about?

Tax complexity. After eight years of your chancellorship, the poor taxpayer needs a PhD in maths to understand the myriad of credits, debits, allowances and codings that make up our tax and benefits system. Everyone knows it needs root-and-branch reform. Make that your legacy.

The deficit. "What deficit?" you ask. The £10bn-plus gap between your public spending and revenue figures and what everyone else thinks they will come out at. In the past you've been proved right with your optimistic projections. But your luck must run out. You might consider giving up the "golden rule" - which you have bent so much that it hardly means anything now.

Pensions. Ever since Frank Field was stopped from thinking the unthinkable, Labour has been in a funk over pensions. And the crisis has just built and built. When Adair Turner's commission reports this autumn, make sure David Blunkett acts on it. Or else it will be the time bomb that could blow up during your premiership.

Interest rates. The Bank of England is a bit like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. It keeps threatening to blast us with rate rises, even though inflation is at unprecedented lows. Another gift to your successor might be a slight easing of the inflation target.

The euro. Yes, I know we're not going to join it. But what has happened is that we are benefiting from its strength, as the UK looks a cheap place to invest in and buy from. But the euro is slipping and the markets are saying it is going to take a bath. This will hit UK competitiveness hard. Beware.

The US. Protectionism. Imperialism. Slowing consumerism. And big American companies sacking people in Europe because things are bad in Peoria. George Bush might have appeared to be Mr Blair's friend. But he's no friend of the UK economy.

Energy. We've had a few months to get used to $50-plus oil prices, and you've come round to the Prime Minister's way of thinking about spending billions on new nuclear reactors. It is clear that this problem is preying on everyone's mind - why else give Alan Johnson the preposterous title of secretary of state for Productivity, Energy and Industry in the Cabinet reshuffle?

Immigration. Just remember that immigration is good. The UK is a country of immigrants and the latest wave is keeping the economy afloat. Tough laws to stop people getting in may play well in marginal constituencies, but they will hit us hard in the pocket.

j.nisse@independent.co.uk

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