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BBC Wales's political editor David Williams
"Mr Brown appeared to offer tax incentives to businesses in the poorest areas of Wales"
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Monday, 9 October, 2000, 18:57 GMT 19:57 UK
Brown 'listening' ahead of budget
Filling the car
Brown pledges to listen to ordinary motorists
The chancellor of the exchequer has said that he will listen to people's concerns over fuel prices before producing his next budget.

However, Gordon Brown said he would not put the wider economy at risk for the benefit of any particular group.

The chancellor is under pressure to reduce fuel duty before his pre-budget statement in November or face further blockades from protesters.

Mr Brown also said he was examining proposals to help businesses set up and grow in areas of traditionally high unemployment.

He added that the government was looking at stamp duty relief on the development of brownfield sites as a method of regenerating inner city areas and helping the environment.

'We are listening'

Speaking in south Wales on the first of a series of pre-budget consultation meetings, he said that in the past, chancellors had kept away from the public in the run-up to budgets.

This meant that they had no knowledge of what was going on in the country and what people were thinking.

Mr Brown said that Labour believed in consultation, which was why he was holding such meetings - making the right decisions "requires us to hear the views of the people".

The chancellor acknowledged concerns among exporters and manufacturers about the strength of the pound, and among hauliers and consumers about the price of their petrol.

"We understand," Mr Brown said. but went on to warn that the government would not spend money it did not have, nor take decisions that would risk its overall fiscal strategy.

He said he was sure that even those voicing their concerns loudest would not want the economy endangered, and a return to "the conditions of stop-go, boom-bust".

"That is the bottom line, that is something I will refuse to do," the chancellor said.

Regeneration

On the subject of regeneration, Mr Brown said he saw public expenditure matched by targeted tax cuts as a sound basis.

He said he wanted to help businesses develop in areas of traditionally high unemployment, such as south Wales.

"We stand ready to put tax relief in place and that tax incentive in play so that we can stimulate extra development in those areas that have been hardest hit by unemployment in the past," he said.

The chancellor also said the government was looking at the relief of stamp duty to cut the cost of developing brownfield sites.

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See also:

29 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Deal signed on fuel supplies
14 Sep 00 | Business
Could the government cut fuel duty?
14 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Blair faces heavy price for fuel gamble
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