Daily Archives: November 17, 2008

What will Gordon Brown be giving taxpayers for Christmas?

David Cameron just attacked a “Christmas tax give away” as unsustainable, saying “tax cuts should be for life not just for Christmas”. But just as uncertain is whether the tax cuts everyone is expecting will reach low income families before Santa does his rounds.

A cut in VAT or an increase in winter fuel payments could be implemented pretty quickly. But a boost to tax credits — Brown’s favoured method of helping families — could take much longer to feed through the system. Read more


Gordon Brown just claimed in the Commons that he had “never given a running commentary” on the currency markets, whether in government or in opposition. “It is highly irresponsible for [the Tories] to do that in the current circumstances”. To make his point, the prime minister even went on to quote Margaret Thatcher’s attack on those who “talk sterling down in an un-British way”. Read more

Watch out for the heads of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley at the Treasury select committee tomorrow morning: they are bound to get a grilling from MPs.

The question remains whether ministers can force British banks to lend more. Will the state’s new stakes in some of these groups give it a whip hand? Not on the evidence so far. Read more

Don’t believe everything you believe about the shadow chancellor: as Iain Dale points out in this column.

Osborne (already on the back foot after ‘Corfu-gate’) must be taken aback by the over-heated reaction to his observation that the pound has been in freefall in recent weeks.

The currency’s downward journey is hardly an endorsement for the government’s economic policies. As for the idea that the Tory’s interview would further destabilise the currency: hardly, given the ocean of negative data and comments floating around already.

The only problem is that a weak pound isn’t all bad: Read more