Labour MPs toast Gordon's tax cut

GORDON Brown's 11th and last Budget was welcomed by Labour MPs, with Ipswich's Chris Mole welcoming “2p extra in your pay packet for every pound you earn.

By Graham Dines

GORDON Brown's 11th and last Budget was welcomed by Labour MPs, with Ipswich's Chris Mole welcoming “2p extra in your pay packet for every pound you earn.”

Mr Mole said the Budget continued economy's growth, the good state of the public finances and commit more investment to making work pay, supporting families, helping pensioners, encouraging energy efficiency and further boosts to education spending.

“The UK economy is set to continue to grow, and inflation will remain low. The Government is meeting its fiscal rules and the national debt is low compared to other major countries. A further cut in Corporation Tax, reduced red tape and investment in science are all good news for British businesses.

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“With Labour's goal to tackle child poverty and build a fairer society the increase in Child Tax Credits by £150 next year over and above inflation will be welcome to thousands of Ipswich families and nationally it will lift 200,000 children out of poverty. Child Benefit, which was £575 in 1997, will break the £1,000 barrier by 2010.”

Mr Mole said pensioners would pay less income tax with 600,000 across the country paying none at all, and there will be further help for those workers affected by the collapse of company pension schemes.

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He welcomed “early measures to tackle climate change include increasing car tax for gas guzzlers and reducing it for cars with cleaner emissions. New zero-carbon homes, those with the best insulation and energy efficiency, will pay no stamp duty as a positive incentive to buyers.”

However, the Budget disappointed Suffolk South Conservative MP Tim Yeo, chairman of the influential cross-party parliamentary environmental audit committee, who said hopes had been high that it would be Gordon Brown's greenest. He pointed out that Sir Nicholas Stern's influential report on the economics of climate change, commissioned by the Treasury itself, said action to cut carbon emissions would be cheaper and more effective if taken sooner rather than later.

“Although eye catching moves like the new emphasis in overseas aid policy on climate change measures such as tackling deforestation are welcome, the overall verdict has to be that once again caution has prevailed.

“The most polluting cars will be hit by a hike in vehicle excised duty. That's a move in the right direction but the two stage increase to £400 for the thirstiest gas guzzlers and a small rise in petrol duty, won't persuade many drivers to change to low emission alternatives. Much wider VED differentials are still needed.”

Mr Yeo said exempting zero-carbon new homes from stamp duty was also right but affected very few properties. “Why not offer this incentive to any existing homeowner who invests in the carbon saving measures which achieve this standard?

“The rejection of any moves to cut the growth in domestic and short haul flights is another missed opportunity and means that Stansted airport's expansion becomes more likely.

“As for the planned rise in landfill tax, that presents a challenge for county councils like Suffolk as they ponder alternatives to landfill which if not found soon will lead to higher council tax.''

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