Accusations against Alistair Darling that he rushed through tax changes in
his pre-Budget report have been rubbished by chief Treasury secretary Andy
‘The decisions announced in the PBR were under consideration from the first
day that the chancellor took office. The suggestion that the Treasury would
import tax measures without going through the proper processes is one I refute
entirely,’ said Burnham.
Burnham launched his defence when he appeared before members of the Treasury
select committee this week.
It has been suggested that Darling copied Tory policies to charge a levy on
all non-domiciled taxpayers and reform inheritance tax, and rushed them through
at the last minute in order to include the policies in the PBR.
Burnham was unbowed in the face of stern questioning from Conservative
committee member Philip Dunne on the Treasury’s decision to abolish taper relief
and introduce a flat 18% capital gains tax rate.
‘The direction on capital gains tax was flagged as early as the Budget. There
was a clear commitment to work for simplification, and where there was
complexity, seeking to remove it from the system,’ Burnham said.
‘CGT is lower than it was in 1997 and the 18% rate stands in good comparison
with the rest of the world.’
Attention will now turn to Darling, who will appear before the Treasury
committee on Thursday. MPs are expected to grill the chancellor over the CGT,
non-doms and the Northern Rock crisis.
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