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Tuesday, 9 November, 1999, 15:47 GMT
Brown sets out future challenges

Gordon Brown: Setting out his plans for the UK economy
The United Kingdom can secure rising living standards for all people in the country, Chancellor Gordon Brown has told MPs in his pre-Budget report.

He forecast increased growth of up to 3% in 2000 and set out tax reductions for companies with long-term investments in Britain.

Pre-Budget Statement
No-one could be left behind in building prosperity for the new millennium, Mr Brown said in the House of Commons.

Opening his statement, he said: "The challenge a year ago amid the global turbulence and predictions of recession was to steer a course of stability.

"Now the challenge is to lock in that stability.... Britain must leave behind the sterile century-old conflict between enterprise and fairness."

(To send your questions to prime minister and chancellor and your reaction to the statement click here)

The chancellor used his third such annual statement to set out four key challenges for the next decade. They are:

  • To increase UK industry's competitiveness ahead of other countries
  • To get the majority of school-leavers into further education
  • To boost massively the percentage of the population in work
  • To cut child poverty by 50% in a decade and abolish it in 20 years.

To stimulate business, capital gains tax for investments for over three years will fall to 22% - subject to consultation - while for five-year investments the rate will be 10%.

Child poverty will fall by 50% in a decade, the chancellor promises
The pre-Budget report was introduced by Mr Brown in 1997 as a means of setting out plans for the UK economy ahead of the actual Budget.

This year, he said growth would be between 1% and 1.5% and the budget surplus would total 9.5bn.

Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier praised the chancellor for the "excellent job" he had performed in steering the UK economy.

Mr Brown detailed his pre-Budget statement to the cabinet in a 45-minute meeting on Tuesday morning.

Opposition politicians continue to challenge the government to spend more on public services and accuse it of achieving a consumer boom at the expense of savers.

But the chancellor insists he will not go on a spending spree, although inflation is low and growth is higher than forecast.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown will be answering questions on the pre-Budget report on BBC Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell show on Wednesday morning.

Telephone lines will open at 0800 BST on Wednesday and the show is live on air between 0900 and 0940 BST. You can also book a question by calling on Tuesday between 1600 and 1900 BST.

The number to ring is 0500 909693. Questions can also be sent by e-mail to:

Send us your reaction to Gordon Brown's pre-Budget report:

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