Brown to clash over single EU tax rate

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brown will today criticise attempts by Brussels to push through proposals to harmonise company tax rates across the European Union.

The European Commission will tell a summit of finance ministers that maintaining 15 separate tax systems will impede the growth of an internal market.

It wants countries to agree to a single system of corporation tax with the rates set by a majority vote.

In a report it warns that even if member states fail to take action, the European Court of Justice will eventually outlaw different tax rates as discriminatory.

The commission warns that the court "rarely accepts justifications imposed by member states".

But Mr Brown will say Britain will oppose any move to make corporate tax rates the same across the EU.

"It is right to resist schemes for the harmonisation of corporation tax," he told a business conference last night. "Rather than political initiatives based on harmonisation, Europe needs competition decisions which make a reality of the single market."

He will instead call for a war against red tape in the EU. "We should wage a war against wasteful regulation and use the European Councils as summits that sweep aside unnecessary rules and red tape," he said.