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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April 2005, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Who will run the economy best?
The Bank of England in London
Here are your earlier comments on the political parties' proposals for the economy.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

There is only one party able to deliver economic stability and that is Labour
Peter, Keighly, UK
There is only one party able to deliver economic stability and that is Labour. Interest rates are low, unemployment is down, and the NHS will be safer. Under the Tories folk need to remember the times when Michael Howard was a minister: record rates of interest, Howard opposed taking the role from politicians to Bank of England, the poll tax, the systematic dismantling of the NHS. People of Britain, think of what is best for the country, not who leads the country as Prime Minister.
Peter, Keighley, UK

Mr Brown has driven our larger firms to countries like China and India, so in my mind, he is a terrible chancellor. If he did more to encourage businesses to settle in the UK, and did more to encourage people to buy British, Rover would have survived!
James Murphy, Dorset

If the Tories are elected they will do the same as before. Cut taxes, cut spending and cut jobs. People always say, at least you knew where you stood with Thatcher. It's true, you stood in a doll queue.
Matthew Wilson, Oviedo, Spain

If we switched to a system of Flat Rate Income Tax of 25%, it would encourage economic growth.
Emily Brown, London

As someone on a reasonable income with a less-reasonable standard of living, I have no objection at all to paying to support those more vulnerable in society - it's our duty. However, I do object to supporting the 'benefit class' that has appeared under New Labour. Any party that commits to making it more beneficial to work (in any job) than to claim benefits has my vote - no-one has the right to spend their whole lives taking from the state without any intention of giving back.
Duncan, Newcastle

It is hard to trust the Tories on the economy. Michael Howard was in Thatcher's government. They presided over cuts and no investment for the future even when they had privatised the nation's silver and had lots of money lying about. A leopard cannot change its spots.
Mary King, Dover, UK

The reason Labour are so popular economy-wise is that people in public sector jobs are seeing more money to do less, while society doesn't benefit at all. Coupled with the massive debt we're accumulating, I say bring on the Tories!
Matt Day, Swindon, UK

Where would our economy be now if Thatcher hadn't defeated the communist led Unions? Labour's election motto should be "Tax and Squander" After another term in office they'll be praying that the Tories win the following election to rectify the economy again. The Lib Dems' plan to tax the highest earners is a total waste of time. When taxes go up the rich just find ways of evading them.
John Salkeld, Sheffield, UK

So Gordon Brown is the best Chancellor in 100 years? Placing interest rates in the hands of the Bank of England was a good move. However 1 Million manufacturing jobs have been lost under Labour. Business is being strangled by red tape and political correctness. Transport policy is a mess which limits growth. The creation of vast numbers of public sector jobs with final salary pension schemes is a timebomb. The uncontrolled flow of asylum seekers is another financial timebomb with healthcare and social issues which will result from it. The cruellest act of this 'great' Chancellor is the effective destruction of people's future (unless you are an MP or public sector worker with a final salary pension) by undermining private sector pensions. This is unforgivable. I hope that we do not have to endure any more of his 'greatness' over the next 5 years..
Chris Parker, Bucks

Labour's benefits policies have invented the "chav" culture
Brian, Ipswich
Labour's answer to reducing poverty in this country - throw money at those too lazy to get a job - is a joke and means these people now enjoy a better standard of living than most working people. We should be ensuring those too lazy to work are not rewarded with 30,000 in benefits and a free house. Labour's benefits policies have invented the "chav" culture. Hopefully the Tories will be able to stop this spend-fest.
Brian, Ipswich

I calculate that the majority of people in this country have made more money on the increased value of their houses in the last five years than they have by going to work. This must translate into increased spending, and an artificial boom. The government must keep prices driving up at the same rate if they want this to continue. How is the government going to achieve this? How will people be able to afford to purchase in the future if they do? And what is going to happen to the economy if they do not?
Terry M, Hersham, UK

Someone has to sort out pensions. Changing parties will only get us into a blame culture and delaying tactics so I'll have to vote Labour, if only to force them into doing something now and not putting off the issue until 2020 when its too late.
Richard, Bucks

I can't believe how selfish so many people are! Society is re-distributing the great wealth of this country and a load of Middle Class snobs (of whom I'm fast approaching salary wise) are bleating on about how poor they are! Get real will you! Vote Labour or Lib Dems; don't subject us to Tory rule again.
Iain, Poole

That Labour has a stable fiscal policy is due largely to Brown's decision to hand over interest rate decisions to the Bank of England. Labour has traditionally been the party who is dismal at fiscal control. They attack the Tories for wanting cuts in spending. Are they for real? Do they really think that we will swallow that? Any cuts in spending means less taxation for their profligacy! More money in our pockets. We have the appalling situation in the UK now of 1 in 5 employees working for the Government! I have never been pulled in by Labour's claims and I won't be now. Labour has tried to remove history from school curricula and understanderbly because they don't want history to stand as a witness to their folly. Historically, Labour is a failure at the economy.
Malcolm Alexander, Sittingbourne, England.

Why should we believe a word that Labour says about taxes?
Adam, London, UK
Why should we believe a word that Labour says about taxes? They said they wouldn't increase income tax last time, and then increase national insurance as soon as they were elected.
Adam, London, UK

Voting for the Tories would take us back to Victorian times. Lots of fat cats, no rights for workers, rampant unemployment - even a new slave trade with the new migrants from Europe. To paraphrase Dickens: "it will be the worst of times and the worst of times". People should have a social conscience and for that reason I shall vote Labour even if income tax rose to 60%!
Steve Jackson, Chesterfield

I think that voting conservative puts the economy at risk.
John Winstanley, Liverpool

What must be said I think is that the Conservatives 35 billion spending plans can work. This is because they will cut down on the civil service or bureaucracy. This is unlike what Labour stated that it was actually the amount of money to be cut. I just wanted to say this as many people seem unconvinced of the Conservative spending plans. Just because Labour says it will spend more will not mean it will be effective. However, the Conservatives have a long road ahead of them to convince voters that they can handle the economy.
Sebastian Hobot, Barry

When things are going well economically politicians claim it's all their doing. When things go badly, they say it's the world economy. In fact, I don't think it will make much difference who is in charge. The big events that will determine how the economy pans out are in fact determined on the global stage, such as oil prices and the growth of China and India.
Andrew Piercy, London, UK

Labour has shown over the past eight years that it can provide the conditions for a stable economy. In contrast the Tories' record when they were last in was of cycles of boom and bust. The Tories only interest nowadays is to cut taxes whilst saying as little as possible about the services that they will cut. Whilst the wealthy minority will be able to afford private provision, their plans will leave the vast majority in the country in a significantly worse position.
Colin, Kingston, Surrey

Surely it depends on what you want out of the economy. If you're well off and don't mind divisive social policies you'll tend to choose the Tories. If you rely on public services and want cohesive social policies you'll choose labour. And if you want policies that promise all things to all men you'll choose the Liberal Democrats.
Steve, Bristol, UK

Concerns over government debt are also unfounded
Nicolas Long, London
People who attack the economy tend to focus on minority interests, such as the manufacturing sector. It is somewhat ironic when the Conservatives focus on the loss of manufacturing jobs when discussing the economy. Total employment (ie the rest of us) has risen considerably since 1997. Concerns over government debt are also unfounded. Britain's debt is considerably lower than most of the rest of the world (the USA, and major economies in Europe for example).
Nicolas Long, London

Labour used to be 'tax and spend.' Now they're 'tax and tax'!!
Alex Mayers, Bournemouth, UK

Everyone keeps talking about Britain's hard-working families - what about single earners who are paying for everyone else's benefits and getting nothing in return?
Rob, Ipswich, UK

In their first term Labour inherited an economy in great shape and managed to maintain it by following most of the Conservative's economic policies. In the second term they have returned to tax and spend and we now have huge public debt, falling incomes (for the first time in a generation) and perhaps most tellingly, we are now falling down the international productivity tables rapidly. How this translates into economic competence is simply beyond me.
Grant, London

Anyone who trusts New Labour on the economy is mad. Huge borrowing to finance massive public spending is hardly a new policy to give the illusion of a strong economy. However, that is all it is. At some point, the borrowing must be repaid and at that time, the pain is felt. Borrowing is never the answer and yet seems to be the only card Gordon Brown is playing.
Mike, Brighton

How can we trust Labour, when during the fuel blockade they said that they would review the petrol duty. Now it is going up again and with it the cost of food etc. The only thing they debated was what laws they could bring into force to stop the blockades happening again.
Malcolm, UK

The Liberal Democrat tax policy is a joke
Neil Pearce, London, England
The Liberal Democrat tax policy is a joke. I emailed both their central and local offices, as well as a couple of their MPs asking for projected local income tax rates, clarification on how it would be collected and what would happen should you move to another area during the year. Not one of them could be bothered to reply.
Neil Pearce, London, England

The economy is booming! So they tell us. Looks like the Rover plant will be closing down. Go figure!
Jimmy, UK

The economy may on the surface appear to be a success, but the huge amount of public debt that Labour's excessive spending has lead to is gravely worrying. Whoever is elected needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency.
Alex, Leeds, UK

I think its unfair to say that the middle class are paying for everything because that's not true. Statistics show that people from all backgrounds pay on average an exactly same proportion from the wages just they get slightly more privileges from the government as they earn proportionally less. We are after all supposed to be a democratic state looking after our fellow people. To say you shouldn't have to is very out of touch with today's thinking. Vote Tory and we can all watch the economy crumble.
Chris Stacey, Girton, Cambridge

I have to admit, I trust Labour on the economy, but I still won't vote for them.
Ryan Johnstone, Southwick, West Sussex

I'm alarmed at some people demonstrating ignorance at suggesting the Conservatives made a total mess of the economy. The only reason we have got a good economy currently is because of their work in laying the foundations for the prosperity many enjoy now. My vote will be going straight from Blair's New Labour to the Conservatives on 5 May.
Matthew Jackson, Liverpool

Let's face it, every party will tax and spend. The real question is who will do it best. My daughter born two years ago in a new hospital will in three years time go to a new school. Under the Tories, as a top rate tax payer I may have been marginally better off - but the old hospital and school would still be there!!!
Alastair Graham, Cumbernauld, Scotland

It appears to me that the majority of the hard-working middle class professionals' wealth is being thrown at the abundant NEET class
Mike, UK
Where is the justice in Labour's economic 'wealth redistribution'? Purely by observation, it appears to me that the majority of the hard-working middle class professionals' wealth is being thrown at the abundant NEET class. Why are we rewarding these people, and similarly why am I being punished? I don't think working to support the lazy is a fair deal at all.
Mike, UK

Economy is the backbone of each and every country. The way Mr Brown has handled the economy of our country cannot be measured. I am still having nightmares of black bust which we had with the Tories. I firmly believe Mr Brown is the best chancellor and possible PM.
Danny, Nottingham

Have we not had enough of broken Labour promises? What are they going to give us after the election? More broken promises. Remember Iraq and top-up fees? All the increases in taxation? I voted the Conservatives out to have a change. I'll be voting Conservative this time.
Julian, Tarporley, England

It seems that although Labour have taxed and spent, the public have seen little improvement. In fact, in some cases things are worse, take violent crime for example. The Tories are absolutely right to seek value for money and use these savings to avoid increasing taxation!
Mark Kaye, Macclesfield, UK

Quite simply, Labour's economic track record is far superior to that of the Tories. Just look at the figures.
Rob, Bath

They will all say what they need to get re-elected but they won't mean it
Aaron, Sheffield
They will all say what they need to get re-elected but they won't mean it. In their second year they'll just raise taxes and then reduce them just before an election. Anyone who's played Sim City knows that old trick.
Aaron, Sheffield

Successful management of the economy (ie delivering sustainable economic growth with low inflation and without creating massive unemployment, running up big budget or current account deficits, or requiring bail-outs from the IMF) should be the minimum level of competence from any party, and therefore not on the election battleground at all. Neither Labour (remember 1974-1979) nor the Tories (ditto 1989-1993) are on really solid ground if previous record were critically examined. The one really positive step taken by Gordon Brown on the economy has been to put control of interest rates beyond temptation. Now it will be much harder for any party to mess up the economy
Simon Turner, Guildford, Surrey

Here's some irony, Labour inherited the economic stability we see today from policies the Tories had in place when they left office, so to claim its their policies is a bit rich.
Darrin, UK

Every penny paid by the state, no matter how noble the cause, must come from the taxpayer. Rather than having multiple taxes like income tax, VAT, council tax and the like, just have one tax - income tax. This would free thousands of civil servants from collecting and policing all the other taxes. Result - more money for health and education or less taxes.
David Stevens, Nottingham, England

Living in Sweden, I can say that the UK economy is widely admired with an enviable unemployment rate
Liam Joyce, Norrk, Sweden
Living in Sweden, I can say that the UK economy is widely admired with an enviable unemployment rate. I seem to remember the Tories not really being able to pull off consistent growth. Shame you have to work more hours a week than any other European though.
Liam Joyce, Norrk, Sweden

The Tories can propose whatever policies they like about the economy, as can the Liberals for that matter - that has always been the privilege of Opposition. We should judge parties on past performance and for that reason the Labour Party will get my vote.
Lou, Norwich

Ultimately it comes down to who you trust to look after your money. Brown or Letwin? I'd certainly choose Brown when even the Tories themselves don't have confidence in their economic policy.
Josh, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Under Gordon Brown the savings ratio (the percentage of the nation's wealth held in savings) has collapsed, and debt levels have spiralled out of control. What's so prudent about that?
Jon, Nottingham

The single person is not valid in this economy
Sam Janes, Nottingham
The single person is not valid in this economy. We are paying for everyone else's luxuries. Boom and bust, we owe more now than we ever did. Brown wiping off third world debts. We supported them for 20 years. What about the good old UK?
Sam Janes, Nottingham

Gordon Brown keeps borrowing and borrowing with the nation's money. When is he going to pay it? This is reminiscent of Labour in the 1970s. The credit card companies would soon be hounding me if I didn't ease up on the borrowing!
M Smith, Burton, Staffs

The only thing Gordon Brown has actually done to contribute to economic stability is allowing the Bank of England to control interest rates. Everything else has been damaging to both individuals and businesses. Labour have been lucky so far, but now that consumer spending and the housing market are not on the rise things will start to change. Thanks to Gordon Brown, because I'm a hard working person who earns a decent salary, I see less of it than ever before. I'm definitely voting Conservative.
Mark Paul, London

Mr Blair has just given us a choice with regards to the economy - Brown or Letwin? Well, as a middle England voter, I have seen my income and spending power reduced year on year by Mr Brown - Mr Letwin CANNOT do any worse - give him a chance.
Mike Evans, Arnold, UK

The only truly reliable thing about a politician is their track record. Gordon Brown gets my vote.
Lawrence, Sheffield, UK

We can only look at the Tory record to help us in our judgement
Vince, Coventry, UK
There's no doubt about this one! The Brown/Blair team gets my vote. We can only look at the Tory record to help us in our judgement. I recall Black Wednesday, raging inflation, high interest rates, negative equity, frequent house repossessions, cuts in spending on services. PLEASE DON'T LET THEM DO IT AGAIN!
Vince, Coventry, UK

Like most commentators on this topic so far, I'm a middle-income taxpayer. While I'm frustrated at paying 40% tax while owning a knackered car and a terraced house, I can see the benefits of a minimum wage, minimum income standards, cheap central heating for pensioners, tax credits and extra leave for parents, and better consumer protection. All these things will lead to a better society in the long run.
Steve, Exeter

Long term, Gordon Brown will be measured to be the most damaging Chancellor in history. He is propping up the economy with massive taxation and unsustainable spending. He is destroying grass-roots small businesses with tax legislation the implementation of which even the legal experts cannot agree. Disaster is looming. I don't know whether the Lib Dems or the Tories would run the economy best, but I can say that I do not believe a word that Labour says.
David, Halesowen, England

Labour's claims of economic success - low inflation, interest rates and unemployment - have nothing to do with Gordon Brown. The Bank of England is responsible for these and Brown made the BoE independent in 1997. Everything else he's touched is a mess.
Mark, London

Most comments relate to selfish views which are a manifestation of the Tory (Thatcher) years of "look after number one" - isn't it time we started to look after our communities? Labour gives us the best chance to do this.
Lisa Ryan, Brighton

I have noticed much stability with my occupational pension fund it has been bust and bust.
Nick Priest, Stroud

Gordon Brown has taken us into a massive debt hole
Andrew, London
Gordon Brown has taken us into a massive debt hole. All the things that used to encourage us to save have been degraded. From over 9000 in a tax free way in 1997 to 7000 in a 'tax efficient' way now. Pensions have been raided and their value for those who have not saved much has been eroded by the benefits system. We face a nightmare.
Andrew, London

It is a difficult task to keep British business competitive in the global market while at the same time ensuring a better deal for the worse off in society. Labour have done this, with record unemployment, a rising national minimum wage and the introduction of various tax credits. The Tories might maintain competitiveness, but we would put at risk the tentative steps that Britain has begun to make towards greater social justice.
Paul, Oxford

Why is it that I am in a position where I can't afford to buy a house for myself?
Buzz, Glasgow
I don't know who will run it best, but I do know this: If I am paying tax to put a roof over the heads of other people, why is it that I am in a position where I can't afford to buy a house for myself but nor do I qualify for a council house or housing association housing.
Buzz, Glasgow

Short memories on display. Far from being a disaster, the Tories in the 1980s produced what was widely regarded as an economic miracle. After a savage global recession in the 90s they then put in place the stability which we now all benefit from.
Jim, London, UK

It's only because the housing market hasn't crashed, YET, that people think Gordon Brown is any good. Living in my privately rented house, I am not one of them!
Peter Howe, Milton Keynes, England

Pensions destroyed, council tax out of control, National Insurance rises, power bills increasing again this year by another 17% - I wish the economy wasn't doing so well, I might have some money to spend on myself!
Eddie Emery, Notts

On balance Gordon Brown probably just about clinches it
Shankar, Sutton, UK
The nation's economy is one thing and the amount of money in peoples' pockets is another. The economy needs to be managed in a way that the rich v. poor divide does not become a damaging and poisonous chasm. There are many examples around the world where this was the origin of civil unrest and wars. None of the parties have paid open attention to this - probably because man as selfish as he is usually just wants to hear that he or she will be better off. On balance Gordon Brown probably just about clinches it.
Shankar, Sutton, UK

It doesn't seem to be a matter of a tax increase, it's like this is going to happen anyway! What should be asked is where these taxes are going to? I lived in Munich for a while, Germans pay around 55% tax but with the state of public transport, education and other public services it seems they get what they pay for! Wonder if ANY government would be able to do the same over here??
Stephen Blanchard, UK

How about actually doing something about the proportion of the super-rich who actively avoid paying tax? Neither New Labour or the Conservatives have go the bottle to go after them.
Anna, London, UK

We can all afford to pay more to protect the vulnerable
Dominic Tristram, Bath, UK
What chance do we have as a nation when so many people object to paying taxes to help those less fortunate? The two main parties are saying what they need to get into power. It's disgusting to see people here complaining about taxes being raised when they have a standard of living so much higher than other people in the country. They should be ashamed - we can all afford to pay more to protect the vulnerable.
Dominic Tristram, Bath, UK

Aren't the Tories great!! More money for the NHS, education, new mothers, the armed forces etc etc. All this and less tax as well. Wonderful!! Rubbish.
Al, Sunderland

Thanks to Gordon Brown's handling of the economy I have been made redundant twice in the past five years.
Paul, Milton Keynes, England

Anyone who thinks that the Tories would do a good job of running the economy must have really short memories. Either that or they may not be old enough to remember those disastrous years.
Dave, Scotland

The tax increases and massive increase in regulations make business much harder
Harry, UK
I would just like to say to those here who praise Mr Brown, that I as a company director and owner am not finding business easy. The tax increases and massive increase in regulations make business much harder. The sooner Labour leave, the sooner firms can prosper and employ more people. Also I would point out that the economic stability we enjoy is primarily due to Bank of England independence and has much less to do with fiscal management. The Conservatives would keep this arrangement so no return to boom-bust ever again.
Harry, UK

As an intelligent hard working member of UK society, I'm fed up of being treaded like a second class cash cow for the Gordon and Tony appreciation society. If they get in again, I see no option but to leave this country and watch from afar as it slowly dribbles down the drain.....
Simon, Colchester

We have a better economy than we have had for years, certainly much better than during the "stop-go" years. How can it be "time for a change"?
J. Westerman, Leeds, UK



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