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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 10:34 GMT
Pre-Budget report: Your verdict
Chancellor Gordon Brown has admitted for the first time that UK economic growth will not meet his forecasts.
In his pre-Budget report, the chancellor told the House of Commons that growth this year would be 1.6%, down from the prediction he made in his Budget in April of between 2% and 2.5%.
He signalled a big rise in government borrowing of up to £20bn in 2002/03 against a forecast of £11bn.
Mr Brown also used his speech to warn firefighters and other workers demanding pay rises that "to continue to set a steady course we must hold firm in our demand for discipline".
Tell us your reaction to the Chancellor's pre-Budget report.
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
He can find $50 billion for debt relief but not £0.5 billion for firemen. Why?
Once again, there is very little to help the many struggling families with young children, where there is just one income earner and who do not qualify for existing credits and benefits.
Why does the government continue to make it so hard for families who sacrifice personal career development so that they can bring up their own children in a stable family environment?
Peter H, UK
His reputation - our money. Now we see New Labour in its true Old Labour colours: tax and borrow and never mind about tomorrow. Build a central command and control system of staggering inefficiency peopled with officials and inspectors and wonder why such high spending achieves such small results. Time to remove this government now.
By how much is the chancellor going to increase landfill tax? Will he finally make it cheaper to recycle than landfill?
I don't want an NHS. I'd prefer to pay for my own treatment insurance thank you rather than encourage poor health. If the government gave money back guarantee on tax contributions, how many people would be satisfied with the results?
In reply to Bari, UK. It's quite true, the British don't like forking out money for "essential services" but it's not as though there's not enough cash in the economy already, it's just being spent wrongly. It's not rocket science to work out that vast amounts of our money are squandered on daft and politically-correct things instead of the important things.
It always was only a matter of time before the old tax and spend Labour resurfaced. I've been saying this for about four years now. It's hard to believe that so few saw this coming. Ho hum.
The Lib Dems have got it right when they tell Brown to concentrate on the manufacturing industry. With jobs departing to cheaper workers overseas at an increasing rate, the future for this country's industry is bleak. After all there are only so many houses and hamburgers we can sell each other.
How are today's workers meant to save for their retirement when the government is borrowing more and taxes are rising? Mr Brown's gift to the pensioners will have to be paid for by future taxation. How are people meant to save, if the government insists upon spending their money?
George, London, England
The UK spends so little on public services in comparison with the rest of Europe that it is no wonder that the public is demanding more. I pay much higher taxes here in Germany (as a British citizen) but I know that that crystallises into a far broader range of efficient services than in the UK. You basically get what you pay for - don't forget that!
How amusing to see New Labour apologists falling over themselves to excuse Gordon Brown. Five years of growing stealth taxes, now a slowing economy and he is still spending our money like a drunk in a bar. This was predicted years ago, to howls of derision from fans of New Labour. I'm sorry to say that as far as I can see, "things can only get better". But not with this lot.
Once again left-wing politicians confiscate our earnings, filter it through a complex and inefficient system to give it back to us in the form of services we wouldn't necessarily have chosen had we been allowed to exercise consumer choice. No matter how watered-down or verbally disguised this is Keynesian-socialist central economic planning and it just doesn't work! Ask anybody who's lived through communism.
About 100,000 self-employed UK IT workers are out of work, many for over 12 months, yet Gordon Brown announced today that he is bringing in more foreign workers to address a so-called skills shortages and then he wonders why he is short of corporation and PAYE taxes.
Tony Tyler, UK
I am paying an extra £50 a week as a result of tax increases. Our roads our failing apart, public sector strikes are in progress and the NHS is still dire. Yet we spent £750 million on a Millennium tent - these guys have lost the plot.
It is not Gordon Brown's fault that he has had to downgrade and reduce the growth rate. It is the global economic downturn, even the USA is not immune from it. Simply put, he is one of the best chancellors we have had. What would you do? Reduce public spending? I think not.
Chris Bamber, UK
Having reaped the benefit of a balanced economy delivered by the Conservative Party, New Labour has done nothing for more than five years other than make promises and remake those promises. Now you residents in the UK will have to pay the costs of that folly. I am glad that I left the UK in 1996.
Judging by this performance, as a pensioner I can safely say I have more faith in the firefighters than in MPs.
Duncan McDonald, London, UK
Crisis? Some crisis! There's a world economic slowdown and we still manage 1.6% growth. Compare that with the Tory recessions of the early 80s and 90s. The chancellor has been lucky - his timing can't be that good, but he has earned that luck. Six years on and the only black mark against him is a rise in borrowing to 2% of GDP. Compare that to the golden days of John Major when an annual deficit of 3% was considered to be a triumph.
How much of the extra borrowed cash will we be dropping on Iraq over the Christmas period?
Well, well, so the pigeons are finally coming home to roost after five years of New Labour telling us how well they're managing the UK economy. The fact is they took over a buoyant economy from John Major and have since set about systematically destroying it. Labour are proving as predictable as ever - completely unable to manage the UK economy! Prudent chancellor! Don't make me laugh!
If you want a modern NHS there is no alternative to the chancellor's decisions today. We spend roughly half of what France and Germany do on our NHS and have been doing so for a good 20 years. Sadly it seems to me that most Brits would rather die on a trolley in a hospital corridor than pay an extra 3% or so income tax. How greedy is that?
Christopher Jopp, England
Once again Labour has shown that they cannot run the purse strings. All the chancellor wants to do is borrow. Another Labour disaster waiting to happen.
It is ironic that New Labour is capable of making the same very old mistakes with the economy. Education, education, education. If only some people would learn.
At last, an element of Keynesianism returns! I hope the Chancellor now has the courage to finally drop Monetarism and stop using interest rates as the primary tool of economic management. Low interest rates should be a primary aim of economic policy. If low interest rates are causing an unstable housing boom, then use fiscal policy to dampen this down - increase the stamp duty on house sales - for both the buyer and the seller.
If Mr Brown is to raise landfill tax, what 'incentive' will he offer for recycling ? After all a carrot is better than a stick!
Amy Smith, England
Did I miss something or was there no mention of anything to assist carers, or to encourage more people to become carers? How does this government propose to alleviate the burgeoning care crisis in this country without some financial encouragements to potential carers?
Nationalism before internationalism. Instead of a war on Iraq, £1bn could go to the public sector.
Why the hell do we have to fork out yet more money which isn't even going back into the UK? Billions are going to go on overseas aid/projects/development, whilst this country's public services are deteriorating into Third World chaos!
I entirely agree with Sue Hudson. The £100bn debt relief would go a long way to solving the pitiful under investment that has taken place over the last twenty years in this country.
To Sue Hudson, London, UK: This country gets huge amounts of subsidies from the EU, that gets poured into very worthwhile projects such as rural development plans, farming subsidies and support for community projects. Shutting ourselves off from the rest of the world is not going to help us or anyone else.
To Jo, UK: The UK is one of the few net contributors to the EU budget so anything we get out of it is strictly political.
I studied for four years to get both a BSc and MSC as a mature student. After hundreds of applications I was offered a job 200 miles away. When I asked the state to help me with a repayable load to help move I was refused and more or less told to remain unemployed. Give the unemployed the tools to take up work and contribute to all through taxes.
Dear Mr Brown: You can put up my income tax a couple of percent and that will cover the long overdue pay rises for essential public sector workers - not just the firefighters and control staff but nurses, teachers, care workers etc. You will have a 75% support from the UK citizens in avoiding a war with Iraq according to the polls, or are you only interested in looking after the chief executive officers who seem to be enjoying a boom on the verge of economic breakdown? In anticipation of the usual contempt.
He puts up stamp duty and doesn't give the first time home buyer any help by not having the first £60,000 of the property price as a stamp duty free allowance. The first time buyer can only hope that prices fall.
Once again, there is very little to help the many struggling families with young children, where there is just one income earner and who do not qualify for existing credits and benefits. Why does the government continue to make it so hard for families who sacrifice personal career development so that they can bring up their own children in a stable family environment?
He may not have delivered on the economy, but he has done a good job of raising taxes!
We had a number of stealth taxes while the economy was good. Now it is weak we are going to get some more. Middle England isn't a bottomless pit of cash.
Back to bad old days of tax and spend!
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