More than half of FDs (52%) were convinced that Labour’s election fortunes would be damaged if the chancellor was removed from government, according to the latest Accountancy Age/Reed Finance Big Question. Just over a third said losing the chancellor would make no difference.
‘Brown is vital to the country. He is the best and most important chancellor since Lloyd George; Blair is merely the best prime minister we have got,’ said Malcolm Ace, FD at the University of Southampton. Another FD said: ‘Blair would appear an increasingly autocratic leader, which is not what the nation likes.’
Other FDs believe opposition to Labour is so weak at the moment, that losing Brown would make little difference to the outcome of the election.
The conclusions came as both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats placed tax at the heart of their election manifestos, a move designed to attack the chancellor’s record of fiddling with the nation’s tax liabilities.
Aided by David James, the man brought in to sort out the Dome, the Tories have formulated a proposal to cut taxes by £4bn, funded by savings made on spending in their first Budget after being elected. James proposed savings of £35bn – among the schemes given the chop would be the government’s Small Business Service.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats pledged to raise the top rate of income tax on earnings above £100,000 per annum to 50% and remove council tax in favour of a local income tax to finance local authority expenditure.
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