Gordon Brown has ridiculed the shadow chancellor George Osborne’s proposal
for a flat rate of income tax.
In a speech clearly aimed at establishing himself as the next Labour leader
and prime minister, Brown told the Labour conference in Brighton that he would
continue Tony Blair’s legacy as ‘new Labour renewed’.
He said the Tory party and its leadership contenders were out of date and out
of touch with the country.
The chancellor said: ‘What is their new big idea? A flat tax. An idea that
they say is sweeping the world, well, sweeping Estonia, well, a wing of the
neo-Conservatives in Estonia.
‘The Tories are promising to do for national tax what they did for local tax
with their last big idea – the poll tax. And let the flat tax go the way of the
‘The millionaire to pay exactly the same tax rate as the young nurse, the
home help, the worker on the minimum wage? The price tag: £50bn on cuts in
‘It’s clear that they’ve already decided they’ve lost the last three
elections not because they were too right-wing, but not right-wing enough. Let
us tell the electorate at the local elections, and at every election, that the
party that gave you the poll tax and now threatens the flat tax has learnt
nothing and forgotten nothing – totally incapable of equipping Britain for the
And Brown dismissed Liberal Democrat tax and spending policies as
‘incoherent’. He said that at their Blackpool conference last week, ‘they
dropped their tax policies but kept all their spending pledges. They are simply
incapable of facing up to the big economic challenges.’
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