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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Brown outlines vision on economy
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown: Labour put stability first
Voters face a choice between economic success and instability, the chancellor has said on the day Tony Blair is expected to call the election.

Gordon Brown told City figures Labour had built a strong, stable economy.

He pointed to the independence of the Bank of England in deciding interest rates, new fiscal rules and the reduction of debt as Labour successes.

The Tories say taxes will have to rise if Labour is re-elected. The Lib Dems say they would make taxes fairer.

Mr Brown again implicitly accused the Tories of planning 35bn in cuts, something the opposition strenuously denies.

Rising economies

He told the audience of business leaders: "Labour's manifesto will show how we will lock in stability, enhance flexibility and invest for success.

"That would not be possible if we neglected science, abolished the New Deal and Small Business Service, and cut money for universities, transport, housing and other vital infrastructure in a 35bn programme of cuts."

He said in a world where rising economies like India and China were competing even in hi-tech sectors, Britain needed to continue to invest in training and education.

"If India and China are turning out 4 million graduates a year, we cannot now afford to waste the talents of any person in our economy."

The chancellor said Labour had steered away from the "old stop-go Britain".

'Opportunity for all'

He concluded: "This coming election does indeed pose a choice - either we move forward to a Britain united in opportunity, building long term economic success and opportunity for all or we turn backwards to the old Britain of economic instability and social division."

Shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin dismissed Mr Brown's speech as "the same tired words from the same tired chancellor".

"Despite a welter of alarming figures, he banged on and on about economic stability.

"What matters to hardworking families are stable incomes. But latest figures show that for the first time in over a decade, people's take-home pay has actually fallen because of Mr Blair's tax rises.

"If Labour win the election taxes will go up again and we will be worse off still."





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