Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 12:40 UK

Point-by-point: Question time

The main points from Gordon Brown's weekly grilling by MPs:

  • The prime minister said a "message should be sent" that the situation in Zimbabwe was "completely unacceptable". He added that the UK would promote proposals for an embargo on arms sales to the country.

  • Labour's Lyn Brown asked for a "concerted and sustained effort" to ensure those on low incomes take advantage of tax credits. Mr Brown said he was "determined" that all benefits should get to recipients "as quickly as possible".

  • Treasury select committee chairman John McFall said he "welcomed" the letter from the chancellor offering help to some of those who lost out from the abolition of the 10p rate of income tax. He urged the prime minister to "seriously consider" any other changes resulting from the committee's current inquiry.

  • Mr Brown said there was more that could be done to help the low paid and pensioners under the age of 64. He added that 70% who had lost out as a result of the tax change earned more than 20,000 a year.

  • The prime minister said "even in difficult global times" the government was creating jobs.

  • Mr Brown said there was a "general recognition" that the policy on the fuel bioethanol had to be reviewed and that world food supplies had to be improved.

  • Mr Brown said it was "very regrettable" that teachers were going on strike and that they should "reconsider" and that it was a "matter of public debate" whether St George's Day should be made a public holiday in England.

  • The prime minister said public transport and housing had improved in London under Mayor Ken Livingstone.

  • Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said the lowest earners were being made "deliberately" worse off by the government's tax changes. Mr Brown said Liberal Democrat policies would have meant more unemployment and greater inequality.

  • The prime minister said he was "proud" of the government's policy of free travel for pensioners.

  • Mr Brown said the Tories could not "make up their mind" on taxation and that the country was on Labour's side. He also said: "We are determined to take action because we are the party of fairness tackling poverty."

  • Tory leader David Cameron accused him of "weakness" and "dithering", and being "a loser, not a leader". He accused the prime minister of making tax changes because the government was afraid of losing a Commons vote on them next week. Mr Cameron asked: "Do you have any idea what a pathetic figure you cut today? You are making these changes because you thought you would lose the vote. Or is this like the general election which you cancelled even though you thought you were going to win it?"

  • He said 600,000 more people were in extreme poverty than when Labour came to power.

  • Mr Cameron said the session should be called "prime minister's U-turns rather than prime minister's questions". He said the announcement on income tax showed a "massive loss of authority".

  • Mr Brown said the government had done more than any in a century to help reduce child poverty and help lower income families. There were "better ways" to help than the recently abolished 10p income tax rate, he added.

  • The prime minister expressed his sadness at the death of long-serving Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody, as did Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg.


    Gordon Brown The Full Story
    All the action with key points, analysis and reaction from Gordon Brown's weekly grilling

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