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Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown
"Stability....the foundation of all that we do"
 real 28k

The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti
"Brown was spelling out his five economic goals for the next decade"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 08:50 GMT
Brown upbeat on economy
Chancellor Gordon Brown
Mr Brown outlines Labour's plans for the future
The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has refused to rule out further tax increases but says that Labour will set out its economic plans to "bring prosperity for all" if it is returned to power.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Mr Brown said that Labour had met all its tax pledges in full, with a cut in the basic rate of tax, and no increase in either higher rate taxes or VAT.

Because Labour enters this election as the party of economic stability, it can also fight this election as the party of new ambitions for Britain

Gordon Brown
He refused to be drawn on reports that Labour will repeat the same pledge - not to increase income tax rates - in its Manifesto which will be published next week.

However, he did reveal that five economic goals will become a key part of Labour's plans for the next government - including full employment and increased investment in public services.

Tax burden

William Hague, meanwhile, attacked Labour's approach to taxation as the Conservatives launched its poster campaign

"Never has a party taxed so much and achieved so little," he said.

Never has a party taxed so much and achieved so little

William Hague
Mr Brown said that Labour sought a "balanced" approach to taxation, and that the tax burden was forecast to fall in the next few years.

The Conservatives have accused Labour of introducing 43 new tax increases during its term of office. But Mr Brown said that tax burden was lower than it had been forecast to be under Tory spending plans.

He said that the principles of Labour tax policy were rewarding work and enterprise, encouraging savings and investment, and fairness.

Where affordable, Labour would make targeted tax cuts similar to the children's' tax credit its priority.

And, Mr Brown said, the average household had become 10% better off in real terms during Labour's period in office.

Prosperity for all

Mr Brown, in a speech in London, said that economic progress and social justice should go hand in hand.

He said that Labour's ambition for a second term was to entrench a long-term culture of stability in the economy, with low inflation and stable growth the priority.

His second goal was to boost productivity to the levels of Britain's main competitors, enabling greater prosperity. That required more reforms, including tougher competition policy, more help for capital investment, and greater incentives for training and employee ownership..

And Mr Brown said Labour aimed at full employment, extending the New Deal for young people to other vulnerable groups in order to create one million more jobs.

He also wants to increase the number of people going into higher education from 33% to 50%.

Finally, Mr Brown's fifth goal is the halving of child poverty in ten years, "on the road to abolishing it in a generation."

Mr Brown said that it was Labour's ambition to create "a Britain where there is opportunity for all who take responsibility, the chance for not just the few but for anyone, no matter your birth or background, to reach as high as your talents will take you."

Tax cuts

Mr Brown criticised the Conservatives for their "irresponsible and indiscriminate tax cuts" that they could not afford in the first three years, and said it was even more irresponsible for them to promise more tax cuts "they could not fund" in the future.

He rejected criticism that his public spending plans were reckless, pointing out that the government had reduced its total debt from 40% to 30% of GDP.

But he also rejected criticism by the Liberal Democrats, who have argued that Labour should have spent more in its first term in office, rather than sticking to Conservative spending plans for the first two years.

"Because Labour enters this election as the party of economic stability, it can also fight this election as the party of new ambitions for Britain," Mr Brown said.


Issues: Economy




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