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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 06:33 GMT
Brown's Budget stirs up press pot

A Budget ahead of an election from a chancellor with ambitions beyond Number 11 certainly stirs up the press pot.

Many papers agree at least that it was Gordon Brown's day, with the Daily Mirror picturing him as the masked superhero Mr Incredible.

The tabloid says Mr Brown "produced a package of budget wizardry that left

his political opponents floundering".

The Daily Mail disagrees. "You can pay me back later", it says, citing experts who say it means taxes will rise later.

Tax rise predictions

Digesting the Budget, the Mail's city editor, Alex Brummer, says taxes will have to rise "if public finances are to remain in order".

But the paper concedes Mr Brown served up "a bagful of election goodies".

The Daily Express announces bluntly "It's the rob you later Budget", calling giveaways "one big con".

A Daily Telegraph cartoon depicts Mr Brown as a highwayman tossing cash into a stagecoach, while along the road waits another highwayman - Tony Blair.

'Grey voter' targeted

"Pay Day for the Grey Voter," says the Telegraph, suggesting the Budget's target audience was very clear.

The Guardian points out this is the age group most likely to vote.

Under the headline, "Boom and Bus", the Sun claims the chancellor shamelessly targeted the older electorate with free bus travel and council tax rebates.

It says that, despite tax rises, it is almost impossible not to go for a chancellor who has such impressive results on interest rates, growth and inflation.

Brown 'in charge'

The Financial Times asks how the chancellor was able to produce pre-election sweeteners, and then provides a detailed answer.

According to the Guardian, the chancellor has managed to rally disgruntled Labour supporters.

The Times says Mr Brown is being asked to take charge of Labour's economic campaign in the election.

The paper claims Downing Street is now confident he will become increasingly visible following the budget.




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