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Brown's frustration

Nick Robinson | 17:18 UK time, Wednesday, 23 April 2008

I have just been interviewing the prime minister in Downing Street about his 10p tax rate U-turn. He insists that he had 'not been pushed around' and had stuck to his policy of scrapping the 10p tax rate. This, he said again and again and again, was the right long term policy for Britain.

Mr Brown said he had 'listened' to people's concerns about the impact on certain groups, particularly in more difficult economic times. He went on to make clear that the cost of the compensation package hinted at today would be substantially lower than £1bn. He accepted that not all those who've lost from the 10p tax rate cut would benefit. Not all losers, indeed most of them he believes, are anything like poor.

When I put it to him that Labour MPs might conclude that if they "pushed him hard enough he'd cave in", he denied that and insisted that he would stick to the other policy proposal which Labour whips have warned him he may lose - to extend detention without trial to 42 days.

I could sense his frustration about the position he now finds himself in. He still believes that his last Budget as chancellor was right and fair; that the number of poor people who lose has been exaggerated; that he's only made a minor change to his policy, costing a relatively small sum of money. And, finally, he is outraged at being lectured on poverty by the Conservative party.

Nevertheless, deep down, he must know that this political mess is largely of his own making.


  • Comment number 1.

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What mental state must the man be in if he not only lies about the election that never was, blames the lobby for exaggerating this issue and then goes into denial as suggested by the current post.

    We had Prescott suffering from stress, Browne not sure whether he is drilled, bored or countersunk and now the Prime Minister himself.

    If I were a shareholder or employee of a company where the senior executives were ill in this fashion, I would sell and make a quick exit as soon as I could. If the non-execs didn't take action when they knew what was going on then I do not think such an organisation would have a future.

  • Comment number 2.

    In other words, he doesn't really "get it" at all. But we all knew that anyway.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have just heard your interview with Brown. What little respect I had for him has just gone out of the window. He is a loser.

    I have a definition for many politicians, namely "self-serving professional liars." Gordon Brown can consider himself the model for this definition.

    I have never come across, although there must be many, such an ambitious politician who will do absolutely everything he/she can not to lose face. He waited for 10 years for the PM job and now finds he is not up to the job.

    I do not like him, trust him and would never vote for him. The 10p fiasco was a ploy to try to hold middle class voters like myself. It failed.

  • Comment number 4.

    I imagine what really infuriates the Prime Minister is that after 10 years of waiting, he's discovered - much to his horror - that when you're leader you can't just say jump and expect the Cabinet, the Labour party or the electorare to reply'how high'. You have to earn your authority Mr Brown - and so far, you've earned none.....

  • Comment number 5.

    Writing as an Englishman, I can today, of all days, tell Gordon Brown that the right long term policy for Britain, as a political entity, is for it to quietly die.

    It is no use Gordon Brown robotically droning on and on about Britain.

    Britain is dying on its feet, politically speaking, and the politicians need to adjust accordingly.

    We English must have politicians who are in tune with our aspirations.

  • Comment number 6.

    Brown is merely demonstrating his lack of understanding of the real economy. The many part time workers and pensioners on low incomes are being hit for the sake of Labour spin. For once he picked on a group of voters who realise they have been hurt by Labour tax and waste policies.
    Roll on the next election.

  • Comment number 7.

    I've got to say, your interview with Gordon Brown was one of the most spineless from a journalist I've ever seen.

    He's made a huge mistake, has been obstinate, hasn't listened to his own party and even now won't admit what every person in the UK now knows, that this Prime Minister only changed his mind because he was afraid for his job prospects (and at the last minute just before PMQs... come on Gordon, how gullible do you think we are?).

    Did you push any further into his obvious lack of reality? Did you hell.

  • Comment number 8.

    so once again by being married with no children i am being penalised by this government, it's time for someone else to bear the brunt of browns tax increases, i am a 62 disabled married man who never had any children and forced to pay more and more every year for young single mothers, who have as many children as they want by 5 or 6 different so called men, who refuse to pay one penny towards the raisings of their child.

  • Comment number 9.

    With each passing day I become more convinced that Gordon Brown is dead in the water. He's been an economic and social disaster for this country, the damage caused mainly whilst he was operating (stealthily) behind his front-man. Now that Brown is centre stage, the spotlight is illuminating his warts and showing us all what a particularly ugly politician he is. All of the earlier talk of him being "psychologically flawed" is being borne out now. The man is simply not up to the job and the British people will soon be making this clear to him in local elections ... and eventually when he loses his job in a national election.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hes in denial having waited so long for a job that he thought looked so easy he cannot understand why no one is treating him with respect.The backbenchers have the taste for blood now.

  • Comment number 11.

    "New Labour's flag is dirty white.
    Poor Gordon Brown had a big fright
    shook to the core by 'pinion poll,
    Frank Field's vote has chilled his soul

    We'll change the country bit by bit
    So nobody will notice it
    To fake a pose that we're sincere
    We'll spin and lie throughout the year"

    The Red Flag, circa 2008

  • Comment number 12.

    I re-iterate what I have said on other chaions regarding this.

    I earn less than the 17K benchmark. I am not well off. I have no children. I am not a pensioner. The abolition of the 10p tax rate has lowered my income by 5.50 a week.

    I am what would be considered a core Labour voter. I have voted Labour at every turn since the mid-1970s. I live in a marginal constituency.

    I will not vote Labour ever again. You have stolen from me to help people better off.

    That is disgusting. If any of your canvassers knock on my door ever I again I will persue them down the street.

    If you want my vote back, give me back my money. Other than that you are just cheap thieves.

  • Comment number 13.

    But then again Nick, in the early 90s when Cameron manufactured the economic blunder on a biblical scale, he had nothing for the 100,000 or so a year that were loosing the roof over their heads, let alone doing something for the poor in them days!
    My tax has gone down to 20% thanks to Labour. I was brought up thinking that the Tories were the party of low taxation, but they were the party of cuts, and more cuts in services to end up waiting for 4 years for a cataract or hip operation! In short a Third World Country NHS in UK. The present idea is to simplify the tax and just like Switzerland, Labour will bring the basic rate of tax down to 18%! So after all this, would I consider voting Tory again? Noop! Hang on a minute! Tax on petrol is going up, but then again, ask the shadow chancellor about this tax and he will reply, yeh but, no but, yes but, no, but you know, but!

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Dear Mr Robinson
    Thank you for a clear and concise summing up with regard to Mr Brown's U turn
    I am 54 years of age. Last year I had to give up my full time employment - the only job I have had since I was 16 years of age due to my partner becoming chronically sick. I have paid into a private pension for many many years, paying in the top rate so that my firm would add the same amount into my pension pot. Alas last year when I came to leave my employment with just my pension to live on, I found that this was not worth what it shoudl have been. Mr Brown had tinkered with the pensions in 1997 apparently.

    As to the 10p tax level. I cannot see what compensation I will receive. My income is £523.14 per month from my pension and £48 every week for carer's allowance. I have found out today that I pay over £70 per 4 weeks in tax. For me this is absolutely financially devastating.

    I cannot see from the news reports how I shall be compensated with tax credits or heating allowance.

    There will still be many like myself.

  • Comment number 16.

    Brown's problem is that under Blair the backbenchers thought that if they made trouble for the leader then they might all lose their jobs.

    Now that they sense defeat at the next general election, they simply can't make it any worse for themselves and might as well score points with the electorate by standing up to unwelcome legislation while they still have the chance. So, really, they're all as spineless as each other.

    Blair got out - and resigned even as an MP - when he did because he knew the smoke and mirrors of the New Labour Project were about to clear and no one was going to like what emerged. Better to hand over to Gordon than tarnish his own "legacy" by being there when it all came apart.

  • Comment number 17.

    I bet he loves it when you pop in for a chat Nick.
    I await to see what he does when he loses the 42 day terrorist plan - clearly the argument is not won for this yet - so from 90, then 50 I think, now 42. I think he may try again at 35 - give old plod another week to question plotters.

    Tell me though, does it really creep you out when you have to sit in front of GB and watch him smile - I'm surprised you haven't developed an eating disorder

  • Comment number 18.

    I will be one of the losers with this deduction from my fairly modest works pension.

    I am not convinced that what I lose will be covered by winter fuel payments, this is the only way I can get this back, as I do not qualify for any credits etc. I also think that the way fuel costs are raising any increase will not even cover the increase in fuel, never mind what Broon has stolen from me.

    What I would like to ask all these gormless gutless Scottish Labour MPs, particularly the idiot who was on the politics show on Sunday, what about all the bills I have to pay between now and when I get the fuel allowance. Will I ask Fife Council if I can reduce my council tax bill.

    Broon mentioned all the past Scottish trade union leaders in his lecture to the sheep at Inverness. I wonder what Mick McGahey would have thought of the doubling of the starting rate of tax???

    I do not think he would have given Broon a standing ovation. Mind you he had a mind of his own, that could not be bought at any price.

  • Comment number 19.

    Brown is not only incompetent, he is a shyster of the first order.

    To be proclaiming one day that there are no losers and then rushing through a package to compensate the losers shows him to be totally dishonest or simply not having the courage of his convictions.

    God help him with his backbenchers over the next 12 months

  • Comment number 20.

    Brown is now dead in the water. No one will ever trust him or believe his spin again (apart perhaps from Charles E. Hartwidge).

    The only solution is a general election. Fat chance!

    McCavity Brown wants to be Prime Minister so badly he'd abolish the five year rule for elections if he could. My bet is he will not now call an election until well into the fifth year of this parliament. It's the only way he can hang on.

  • Comment number 21.

    Back-down Brown strikes again.

    The tax system wouldn't need simplifying if he hadn't complicated it in the first place. I still find it hard to believe that the government sees fit to take money from the lowest paid and then makes them beg for it back in tax credits.

  • Comment number 22.

    I watched your interview Nick and you really should have pushed the scoundrel a bit harder. I used to get irritated by his sanctimonious pontificating but now the manic grin and the incantations about "the right decisions for the future" merely look and sound profoundly sad. This man has truly lost all connection with reality and I suspect is slowly going mad. His ranting at the despatch box today was pitiful and he never makes any attempt to answer the questions directed towards him. Indeed, the psychological flaws identified by Alistair Cambell come more sharply into focus everyday.

  • Comment number 23.

    Brown is delusional - obviously psychologically flawed.

  • Comment number 24.

    When new evidence comes to hand I'm pleased government changes its mind.

    The Poll tax was wrong but it took three years for that government to admit that. It took too long for the US and our country to admit that, after all, the weapons of mass distruction that Iraq had developed had been destroyed by them years earlier. It's taken this government only a couple of weeks to realise that it needed to compensate all low income people who lost out because of the abolition of the 10p rate.

    It's good to admit mistakes and to put them right. This is progress. I might even try it myself.

  • Comment number 25.

    for those demanding a Gen. Election; get real. we do NOT elect PM's in this country; we elect parties to govern, and it's up to the party who leads them, and how they choose him. labour are perfectly within their rights to serve a full term, just as J Major esq did.
    And given our economy is still in good health, I expect them to do so to give themselves time to fight back

  • Comment number 26.

    Frankly he's on his way to be a laughing stock. A complete pillock who, regardless of his convictions, mis-reads every situation and emerges as an incompetent buffoon. Next to Brown, Blair is the consumate statesman - but I'm sure Blair planned that all along.

  • Comment number 27.

    Badgercourage @ 6.40 pm

    There is no way we want the Labour party to hold an election now, it is right and just that they remain in government to reap the reward of their disastrous policies over the last 11 years.

    Maggie very nearly banished socialism, but Major ruined any chance of that, now we have the prospect of Brown and Nulabour finally putting the final nail in the coffin of the politics of envy and confiscation - Socialism !

  • Comment number 28.

    Cynosarges wrote:

    "New Labour's flag is dirty white....
    The Red Flag, circa 2008

    I seem to remember one from the early 90's

    "Land of no hope and Tory"
    think on it.

  • Comment number 29.

    What is worrying that Brown could not see the political suicide abolishing the 10p rate was.

    It is a bit like assuming that CO2 is a bad thing so we tax those with nasty expensive 4wd vehicles.

    For those a bit further in the know plants (ie the food we eat ) relies on CO2 to grow (indeed Britsh Sugar (not UK owned obviously) uses a CO2 enrichment program to grow tomatoes). So we tax CO2 like it is a bad thing.

    Back to Gordon, if he doesn't see the implication of his policies on his electorate what else is he missing.

    If he wants to know my tel no. is XXXXXXXX

  • Comment number 30.

    leftilkley wrote "It's taken this government only a couple of weeks to realise that it needed to compensate all low income people who lost out because of the abolition of the 10p rate."

    Try a year and a couple of weeks more like!

    Not to mention that it has just promised to correct a problem that it's spent said 2 weeks both denying that it existed and denying that anything could be done even if it had. So add incompetence and dishonesty to the charge of slowness on the uptake.

    Oh, and they haven't "compensated all low income people who lost out" either - they've promised to look into the matter and backdate any changes. In other words, it's a Labour promise which by now has about the same trustworthiness as a US mortgage debt bond!

  • Comment number 31.

    Cynosarges wrote:
    The Red Flag, circa 2008

    my personal favourite is that other early nineties hit

    "Recession, recession, so good we had one twice" by Johnny Major and the Majorettes.

    this is fun...

  • Comment number 32.

    So - in the space of a couple of years we have:
    'We have been able to introduce a 10p tax rate..'
    We have been able to abolish the 10p tax rate..'
    We have been able to provide compensation for those affected by the abolition of the 10p tax rate...'
    You couldn't make it up, could you..??

  • Comment number 33.

    For so many years, Gordon has been stressing the importance of looking at everything in the LONG TERM that I started to consider him as Capability Brown.
    Sadly, his latest series of self-inflicted wounds leads me to think he will probably be remembered by voters as Culpability Brown.

  • Comment number 34.

    Cynosarges wrote: The Red Flag, circa 2008

    it struggled to make the top 12 but how about

    by Big Norm Lamont featuring Diddy Dave Cameron.

  • Comment number 35.

    Further to my previous comment, and seeing versions of the Red Flag, the 10p debacle can be summed up by

    "The working class can kiss my arse,
    I've got the foreman's job at last"

    Gordon Brown, 2008

  • Comment number 36.

    In this instance raw democracy has worked, it doesn't happen often, so don't knock it!

    Cameron has shown that, if he was in post, he would blunder on without listening to his party.

    Cameron has lost my vote.

  • Comment number 37.

    People need to ask themselves if they want a more complicated tax and benefits system, and politicians who've sold out to big business, or something more useful and accountable. On balance the prime Minister's initiative delivers both those things for the long-term, and the people who are just here to argue and boost their own egos might like to reflect on that.

    There's times when I wonder why the Prime Minister bothers. I've done voluntary work with drug addicts and consulted for listed companies that have gone bankrupt, and seen a similar pattern of self-destruction end in predictable misery. Just walking away and letting Britain collapse into a pile of its own muddle and contrariness would be the easiest thing to do.

    The Prime Minister naturally embraces order, harmony, and the long-term. People don't always understand or care when their minds are closed and their attitude is condemning. This pushes out understanding and consensus but is only a small matter. Pain and confusion is only as real as they're allowed to be. After letting go all that remains is serenity.

    All hail Blessed Leader!

  • Comment number 38.

    G. Broon likes to lecture on how he takes the "long-term view". Happily he always applies this principle ..... for example he introduces the 10p rate and then he removes it!

  • Comment number 39.

    Brown has NOT done a U-turn. He's done a U-U-turn. In saying that he will review the specific categories of people who will be worse off and compensate them in the Autumn, he is merely attempting to buy good headlines, bribe his own pathetic and selfish backbenchers who have not got a genuine compassionate bone between them, for IF they had, they would have been protesting this LAST YEAR when it was first announced and delay the day of reckoning.

    However what he did NOT say is which stealth taxes will be increased or created to claw every penny back again. Probably from the same working poor who can not afford to leave the country.

  • Comment number 40.

    In the full interview broadcast on Radio 4 Gordon Brown must have used the word 'Right' at least twice in every sentence. It was repeated so often as to be scary. I am still trying to work out whether he was being patronizing, crudely trying to hypnotize listeners or is suffering from some form of mental illness. He certainly disconnected from reality.

    Nick, have the Labour Party got some kind of hold over you? Or is it that you don't like to offend.

  • Comment number 41.

    If Major was vin ordinaire Brown is brown ale.

    As PM as safe pair of hands he ain't.

    A big clunking fist! Blair must be rolling on the floor laughing.

  • Comment number 42.

    How on earth can Mr Brown try and claim that he is the champion of simplifying the tax system? How can suggesting that yet more tax credits and the associated paper work solves this problem?

    Why take money from hard working people and then pretend that you are doing them a favour by forcing them to beg for it back from the Government by filling out forms and jumping through hoops?

    Yet more redtape, beauracracy, and spin from a man who only ever wanted the top job and will do anything to keep it no matter what the impact on the nation.

  • Comment number 43.

    As a high earner this change may affect me, but to be honest I won't notice either way because the amounts are very small.

    It is truly bizarre that a few pounds per week, which someone like me won't even notice either way, are being taken from the pockets of people who will truly notice them in the worst possible way.

    It is even more bizarre that this is being done by a man who claims to want to reduce poverty.

    If Comrade Brown is so keen to reduce poverty why doesn't he simply raise tax allowances and abolish tax credits? That way the money stays in peoples' pockets in the first place, nobody fails to receive their entitlements because they don't understand the process, and just for good measure we don't need all the advertising telling people to remember to claim their tax credits. It's quick, it's simple, and it's effective. Which is probably the top three reasons Gordon doesn't want to do it.

    On a positive note it is good to see even Labour's traditional votes finally seeing that their Emperor stands before them resplendent (or not) in his birthday suit.

  • Comment number 44.

    The general political feeling of many people in this country revolves around apathy and lack of belief in being heard. Gordon Brown then listens to the uproar against the tax changes, takes heed and a new direction only to allow a media feeding frenzy to begin.
    If a change of Government policy due to majority opinion was not displayed as a 'weakness' then perhaps our country may be the democracy it claims to be.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have been a Labour supporter all my life yet now this is the final straw.

    Not only am I being hit by rising energy costs, rising food bills, rising council tax, petrol etc etc etc, not only can I not afford to buy my 1st house and I am renting at well over the worth of the dump, not only did I get a less than 2% pay rise to cope with all this, yet now Im supposed to pay more out of the measly sum I earn as well??? I work hard long hours, I earn just over £15,000, I have no children, my husband is ill and cannot work. This on top of caring responsibilties! Is it any wonder Im at breaking point???

    For Gordon Brown to say he "listens" to the people is a joke! I love this sentence in your blog Nick - "Not all losers, indeed most of them he believes, are anything like poor". Maybe Mr Brown needs to live a week in the real world to see what "Poor" really means!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Those who think Nick was a bit weak based on the short version on the BBC1 news should make sure they watch the full version linked in the first sentence.

    It's about 10 minutes long and shows Nick asking some much tougher questions. He does throw one total softball question in at the end which made it onto TV for some reason.

    I counted GB use the word "right" 40 times, normally pretty close to "decision". Strangely, he only used the word "wrong" once. The New Labour spin phrase used to be "right and proper", I guess they thought that was a bit too long.

  • Comment number 47.

    RE: Charles_E_Hardwidge
    Have you been at the potent hallucinogenic drugs or something?!
    At the very best, you can sum this up as Brown doing the best he can when he's already in a deep hole. More realistically - his performance in the House was dismal... I was waiting for DC to really seize on the floundering of the Prime Minister and put the boot in (he could have answered the PM's ridiculous argument about judging the conservatives on past performance by highlighting the sheer irrelevance of it when you look at the change in party composition and situation), but it never came, and I began to realise maybe I was witnessing someone with far more understanding of the HOC than me at work - Cameron achieved jeers for the PM with every point he made, without really having to say much.

    Coming to the point (something GB obscenely failed to do in the commons), Brown's positions have gone from: "look at me, I've introduced a 10p tax rate, aren't I wonderful?" to "look at me, I've removed the 10p tax rate, aren't I fantastic?" to "look at me, I'm compensating for the removal of the 10p tax rate, aren't I glorious?"
    Absolute drivel.
    Either he's a lying ditherer, or he's stupid. Personally, I don't want to be ruled by a man who is either a liar or an idiot.

    The best hope for Britain is now a Tory party who step it up a gear. I see no hope for Labour - Brown is clearly not fit to be Prime Minister, and I really don't know if Ed Balls would be a huge improvement.

  • Comment number 48.

    I worry sometimes at the bad press brown has had.

    He is not the fluid, imagination capturing person that Blair was, and yet that shouldn't matter.

    But in the UK it does, and we support and encourage anyone who gives the PM a kicking, and are not interested in the rights or wrongs of it.

    For instance, the Tories have been using the word "dithering" for months now. It was something that was decided by their spin doctors - "Get it in as much as you can," they were told, " and the media will use it too - we cant lose."

    And of course they are right.

    It is not that I am saying the Brown is good or bad - it is just that we no longer judge it fairly- the media base their opinions on what the majority of the shouters are saying - mostly the Eton Schoolboy Cameron at the present

    Another good example is John Prescott.

    Most serious comentators felt that his admissions about eating disorders did him credit recently.

    But in the Have Your Say boards he was savaged over it by the handful of uncaring opinionated thugs that have recently taken control of the Have Your Say boards. They are not representative of the British Public, and yet they get the lime light.

    Nick, you said today on the Daily Politics that most people will not care about whether this was a U-Turn or not. And you are right. To 90 percent of the population, it is only a matter of how it affects them - they are not interested in the thug politics of it all.

    About time politicians and the media started addressing them, rather than the handful of people, journalists and political pundits who only care for the story and really care little for the country.

    Yes, Brown did show his real passion today - tomorrow someone will beat him up for it.

  • Comment number 49.

    The 10% tax removal was to all intents overlooked at the last budget by MP's. It was obvious that the those on low income would be the worse off, why did it take until now for the penny to drop.

  • Comment number 50.


    What is not being addressed is a very practical problem.

    Tax credits are not a competent mechanism to aleviate poverty.

    Those with fluctuating incomes, the self employed find tax credits impossible to claim. The administration remains frustrating yet Brown keeps referring to them as a positive.

    Their implementation has been one of the biggest failings of the last decade.

  • Comment number 51.

    The correct thing for Gordon Brown to do would be to do a true U-turn on the abolition of the 10p tax rate. Instead he has to try and fix his problems by introducing more tax credits, greater winter fuel allowances,etc I am currently in the process of applying for Child Tax Credits. Am I the only one to find the department exceptionally beurocratic, staff badly trained and simply don't know what they are doing? Also, did the government properly cost this semi-u-turn? My guess is not. What a complete and utter shambles from Gordon Brown.

  • Comment number 52.

    When I read the comments above , based on ridiculously one sided reporting I just despair at the common ignorance of people posting to this board , based on Tory hypocrisy pedalled in the press.

    Did any one of the above posters siding with the Tories on the withdrawal of the 10p rate, notice the Tory plans

    a) to cut tax credits

    b) to take away the Sure start maternity benefits specifically targetted at the lower paid

    and use the funds to pay additional child benefit to ALL parents , whatever their salary or income

    Now this is a very real case of robbing the poor to give to the rich

    ( see the Times today)

    But hey , there are 50 posters above who only hear what the Tories tell them

    Remember, that this is the same party who resisted the minimum wage saying it would lead to economic meltdown.

    This is the same party who resisted the New Deal

    Nick, please please please do your job. It is to look at the arguments of both sides.

    Instead lately your reporting seems to follow the whims of the editor of the Daily Mail . You are following in the steps of John Cole and John Sergeant. Please attempt to attain reputation for independence ratther the narrow partisan route you now take

  • Comment number 53.

    Could you PLEASE get the BBC to amend the 'letter' from Alistair Darling on your website.

    Your copy

    "For pensioners aged 60-64, whose incomes tend to be more stable, we have put in hand work to see if those households who have lost out from the removal of the 10p starting rate of income tax can be helped through the mechanism that already exists to pay the Winter Fuel Allowance.

    As a sign of the Government's intent, we do not wish to wait unnecessarily until November. Whatever conclusions we come to, all the changes will be backdated to the start of this financial year.

    For other low-paid families currently outside the working tax credit system, while we will examine in our review all practical propositions, our focus is on potential changes to the tax credits system to allow the average losses from the removal of the 10p starting rate of income tax to be offset"

    The Actual Letter

    "For pensioners aged 60-64, whose incomes tend to be more stable, we have put in hand work to see if those households who have lost out from the removal of the 10p starting rate of income tax can be helped through the mechanism that already exists to pay the Winter Fuel Allowance.
    As a sign of the Government's intent, we do not wish to wait unnecessarily until November. Whatever conclusions we come to, all the changes will be backdated to the start of this financial year.

    For other low-paid families currently outside the working tax credit system, while we will examine in our review all practical propositions, our focus is on potential changes to the tax credits system to allow the average losses from the removal of the 10p starting rate of income tax to be offset"

    The difference is only two sentences but because you have put in a gap i.e. made a new paragraph you have totally distorted what the letter actually means.

    If the BBC do NOT copy over the text (punctuation and all) then I will raise a complaint with the PCC.

  • Comment number 54.

    Having watched Newsnight, the question must be has Frank Field ( a man of honour and trust) been sold down river.

    A week is long time in politics and by the antics of today a day is even longer.

    Do we have a goverment who knows what it wants. Gordon sorry but you have been found out, go on make a decision and stick to it, put your neck on the block call a general election.

  • Comment number 55.

    # 53 I don't see the difference. Badly punctated or not, it is still New Labour BS.

    By their actions ye shall know them. The Government has promised jam tomorrow. It's all "if" "review" and "examine". Weasel words. The doubling of tax from 10p to 20p is happening NOW.

  • Comment number 56.

    Mr Brown is right; look at the long term policy here. A simpler, fairer tax system for the greatest number of people - the vast majority of people are now taxed at 20p in the pound, great news! Those with children will get more help - this is good for our country. The current media frenzy and talk of u-turns is nonsense. To his credit, Brown has listened to many people and backbenchers and announced measures to compensate those who have lost out most with the loss of the 10p tax rate. People seem to want it both ways; they criticised the 10p tax rate going, seemed to ignore the cut from 22% to 20%, and now they criticise when the government swiftly announces compensation measures.

  • Comment number 57.


    All the talk this morning is of a compensation package with tax credits and "winter fuel payments." These apply to 2008-9 we hope. It may be useful to find out how these payments relate to 2009-10 and after.

    My opinion is that this is a fudge and that those affected will NOT be compensated to the extent that the Labour MPs believe.

  • Comment number 58.

    Should a man who clearly has an anger-management problem be leader of the country (or anything, for that matter)?

  • Comment number 59.

    I expect the government (what ever party) to govern in the best interest of the whole population. For the last ten years taxes have been taken from the Working and Middle classes and given to those a the lower end, fair enough. Now that the government has started to address this problem by reducing the basic rate of income tax from 22% to 20% thereby helping 24 million (29m in work less the reported and questionable 5m ) long suffering tax payers, those who have gained over the years are up in arms.

    Not once during this dispute has Mr Robinson and the rest of the media praised the government for reducing the tax burden on the majority, but have danced to the David Cameron Conservative Party tune, does the hard working classes count for nothing. I for one will vote Labour at the next General Election because they have cut my taxes.

  • Comment number 60.

    Again I say, I am not just going to loose out by the loss of the 10% tax bracket, but also by the substantial increase in the upper earnings profit given that I am self employed - a double whammy. Why has this not been picked up? Surely this will hit many self employed tradesmen and entreprenuers?

  • Comment number 61.

    He's frustrated because he doesn't have the psychological ability to understand what he does or what effect it has. Coupled with that is his sheer lack of understanding of basic maths or logic.

    He's a sociopath, so no amount of rational argument will ever sway him and that's why he's so damaging.

    sociopath [(soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-uh-path)] :

    Someone whose social behavior is extremely abnormal. Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.

  • Comment number 62.

    Nick, try as you might to paint Gordon as a fool, it won't work.

    True, he is our leading scorer with a (1-0) at half time (three victories-to you journalists).

    And again, it could be argued that he netted into his own goal with a 10p deduction. (1-1)

    ....But! he has driven home a scorcher by listen to the crowds chants and has been carried off after a fantastic victory (2-1)

    Labour will lift the British Cup for a fourth time, Nick...and remember....

    'Journalists are on the telly...they think it's all over....It is NOW!

    Get in there, Gordon!

    Labour FC.

  • Comment number 63.

    Number 59 seems to be the only person whose tax has gone down in the last 11 years; he clearly hasn't spotted any stealth taxes. That will cheer Gordon up!

  • Comment number 64.

    I see from some of the above posts that the government 'doubleplus good life is happy' apologists are creeping out from the woodwork.

  • Comment number 65.

    The long term view? Ah, yes...but Gordon has been in power for eleven years and for ten of those he was chancellor setting the long term agenda.

    So the mess we have at the moment is the result of Gordon Brown's long term view from 97,98, pensions, no gold, catastrophic overspending on public services, a busted bank and a broken Tripartite system. This was the long term view.

    We've had enough of Gordon's 'Long term view' and we are reaping the results of it now. Nobody wants any more of Gordon's long term view because he's done enough damage already.

    Those asking us to reflect and take the long term view might like to relfect on this; we've been reflecting for eleven years and we don't like the sorry apology for a government and an economy that this shower have left us with.

    NuLabour, NuLosers.

  • Comment number 66.

    What most people have missed is that everybody is worse off, just some more than others. The increase in NICs is likely to offset the effect of the new tax bands for most middle income earners.

  • Comment number 67.

    I find richardcalhoun's belief that NuLabour is socialist or has enacted any socialist laws quite baffling. If this is socialism then Maggie Thatcher must have been Che Guevara.

    The whole POINT of the New Labour Project was to show that ditching socialism and letting the super-rich make as much money as possible with as little regulation as possible would lead us to a brave new world.

    In fact, Blair and Brown have shown just how useless "free market" capitalism is when the wind isn't at your back.

  • Comment number 68.

    Nick, I had one of those shout-at-your-radio moments while I was driving home last night, listening to your interview with our embattled PM. I am now convinced that Gordon Brown inhabits a different sort of reality to the rest of us.

  • Comment number 69.

    I now see why it is that Blair got the top job originally and held it for a decade EVEN after leading us into a catastrophic war and being exposed as a lying snake on the way: He knows how to go for goal.
    GB - by far his intellectual superior - botttled it in 94, bottled it over Iraq, bottled it in 2006 and has bottled it here.
    whatever one may think of Blair, when he faced a crunch moment he didn't hang about.
    doesn't help he's got zero flamboyance or charisma either.
    It's a shame because Labour's domestic record is actually pretty good.

  • Comment number 70.

    I noticed Mr Brown didn't take up your offer of a handshake before the interview Nick. How rude considering how you've much you've done to defend him. "Manners maketh the man".

  • Comment number 71.

    GB was so upset that on the clip I saw on BBC News at Ten, he brushed away your attempt to shake his hand. He is looking very riled.

    It is all getting to him now. The heart murmur will be next - let's hope he has a good doctor monitoring him.

  • Comment number 72.

    Re doctorJonathams comment 63 lowering the basic rate of income tax from 22% to 20% is a tax cut. If you don't believe me check your pay slip with one six months ago and you will see less income tax being deducted.

  • Comment number 73.

    "People seem to want it both ways; they criticised the 10p tax rate going, seemed to ignore the cut from 22% to 20%, and now they criticise when the government swiftly announces compensation measures."

    If the above were true then you would be right, but you are not.

    Labour announced over a year ago that they were kicking the poorest to get a cheap headline. Not one labour MP opposed, or protested during the following year.

    ONLY When it looked like Labour were about to be wiped out in the May elections, by the inevitable backlash from doubling the taxes on the poorest people, did backbenchers decide that they disliked the idea of doubling taxes on the poorest workers.

    Labour's leadership then blatantly lied repeatedly by denying that anyone would be worse off.

    They then admitted some (the very poorest) would be, but it didn't matter, because more people (the better off anyway) would be better off and so there would be NO climbdown on this very good budget. A good labour budget being one where the poorest workers and pensioners in the land have their income tax doubled and Ed Balls called any disquiet about the policy of doubling the income tax of the poor, "self indulgent nonsense" THAT tells you all you need to know about Brown's labour party.

    Then, only when staring defeat in the commons in the face, a defeat forced by scared MP's motivated SOLELY by self interest, did Brown do what he has a habit of doing under pressure: Cave in.

    But even then, he never solved the underlying problem. ALL he has done is buy time from the rebels. He has announced that ALL the 5 million poorest people hit by this tax grab on the poor, will still have their tax doubled for at least six months and then some reviews MAY compensate SOME of them via a mixture of some un-announced measure that, going on Gordon Brown's record for eleven years, will be clawed straight back from the poor he is compensating via some other disgusting stealth tax.

    This is a record of immoral cruelty followed by lies, deception, spin, cave in and weasel words. No change from Labour there then.

    For people to claim that the Tories are worse, remember that the allowances under the Tories meant that those poorest workers who labour have dragged into the 10p band and then through it's abolition dragged onto the 20p band, would not have been paying ANY tax at all. They would have kept their income at source. No forms to fill in, no worries about mis-payments...

    It is Labour who tax the poorest and then force them to leap through hoops in the vain hope of being allowed the correct amount of their hard earned income back... Some hope of that with this administration though.

    It would be fairer, cheaper, easier to administrate and far better all round for everyone, if the government did not tax the poor in the FIRST PLACE. They should SCRAP the tax credits and then they should increase allowances and let people keep more of their own hard earned money. NOT steal it and ask the victim of this crime to fill in very extensive personal and private financial information to get some amount of it back, without ever knowing IF they are getting the right amount or IF they are going to have to pay it back again.

    How ANYONE can support or defend what Brown has done is completely beyond me... I suppose his supporters would like to see children up chimneys again and slavery brought back too.

  • Comment number 74.

    "for those demanding a Gen. Election; get real. we do NOT elect PM's in this country; we elect parties to govern, and it's up to the party who leads them, and how they choose him. labour are perfectly within their rights to serve a full term,"

    In principle you are correct, however morally, any government who values honesty and integrity and a sense of fairness would accept that labour fought the last election on 2 specific promises:

    That Tony Blair would serve a FULL third term and that the Elected government would hold a referendum on the EU treaty...

    Failing to keep the former, means that Brown has NO MANDATE WHATSOEVER to break the latter.

    Now having broke the latter, he should (if he was a worthy Prime Minister) call an election to get a fresh mandate from the electorate for his anti-English and pro Manche Region of the United States of Europe policies!

  • Comment number 75.

    I am on a state pension, and took out a private pension to supplyment the state one before i retired, this private one pays me 65-22 a month,out of this the tax man takes 11-80, makes you think, is it worth anyone trying to help themselfs by doing what i did.
    makes me mad when you see people that have dont work, have never worked, and dont pay anything into the system,qualify for all the benifits, when we that have played by the rules, cant get any help because we have a few pounds over the
    qualifying limit????.

  • Comment number 76.

    The posting above (Number 73) is an interesting one, mostly because it mentions (albeit sarcastically) that GB might like to reintroduce slavery.

    In fact he's already done that; he's actually already re-introduced slavery under a different guise; he calls it things like "compulsory voluntary work" for certain sections of society (children and immigrants mostly, but he's said that he wants others to follow), whereby the state forces certain sections of society to do totally unpaid work in order to be able to continue their education or to get a visa. This is, of course, in addition to paid work that they're already doing on which they pay tax.

    Call it "training" or "apprenticeships" or whatever you want, at the end of the day GB has forced millions of children and people to do unpaid work on pain of prison or deportation; if that's not slavery I don't know what it.

    Ask any parent who's got a child of around 16 or so and they'll tell you the same; their kids are being forced to do unpaid work in shops and factories under the guise of "training." GB is a very very scary man on this front as he's always praised and pushed for the idea of slavery when it comes to children and immigrants.

  • Comment number 77.

    purpleDogzzz, we don't elect parties to govern; since Labour won office and sold us all to the EU, we elect MPs to do just what the EU says, while living off the trough of office without power.

  • Comment number 78.

    I personally thought that Brown would be a disaster as Prime Minister for the English people.

    Not because I'd read Tom Bowers unauthorised biography, although that in itself would raise serious doubts, but mainly because time and tide has turned.

    The era of the political entity 'Britain' is drawing to a close and that means a corresponding rise in nationalism in Scotland, Wales and latterly, in England.

    Thus, this deeply Scottish politician (as was his predecessor but heavily disguised) is totally out-of-touch with English ideals and aspirations.

    No wonder he struggles, but it certainly is no laughing matter for us English.

  • Comment number 79.

    PS. This revised blogging mechanism is a great improvement, both functionally and performance wise.

    Well done to you unsung coders out there.

  • Comment number 80.

    I find it hard to believe that I live on the same planet never mind the same country as most of the commentaters on this subject they have obviously crawled out from under their stones which they probably do on every oportunity when they believe they can try to discredit the PM with their vitriolic remarks, despite some claiming to be labour supporters,which they are patently not and never were, in fact if they were I would then have reason to be worried about the Labour party the rest are attempting to jump on bully boy Camerons endles train of band wagons,
    despite what some of you try to tell us the people of this country are certainly one hundred per cent better off than at any time under Tory rule, Gordon made an error took a few days to consider it and then acted to correct it, if he had'nt you idiots would be condemning him for that, now you want to condemn him because he did. have you taken a look at Camerons indecision over the 10p I bet you havn't and it would'nt make any difference if you did you are all so absorbed by blind hate that your totally unaware of the real world but then I am an old man and I in my lifetime have rarely met or seen a Tory that cares for anyone but themselves, be carefull what you wish for if were unlucky and swayed by your Tory rhetoric we might God forbid get it.

  • Comment number 81.

    re post 80:
    1) He didn't take a few days to reconsider it, he took over a year and then he only acted when his own job was threatened (prior to that he refused to even believe the basic maths of it)
    2) I'm infinitely worse off under labour than I was under the tories. Especially because of council tax, whereby labour have actually reduced the cash given to tory councils and moved the cash to their own councils instead via the barnett formula as an election bribe, and whereby labour has also forced increased costs. So we get less money from the government (in absolute terms, not just in real terms) than we used to, and the costs forced on us have gone up, so we get hit twice.
    3) I'm personally a non-party-political person; I'd vote for whichever party was most competent/intelligent, but I can't vote for Brown because he's simply a complete idiot and doesn't understand basic maths.
    4) I refuse to be lectured or lied to by someone like gordon brown who has single-handedly destroyed the economy and made most people's lives a misery over the last 10 years.

    I'm not a tory in the political sense, but I can't vote for a sociopathic idiot either.

  • Comment number 82.

    Re; post 81 GB didn't spend the year reconsidering it but he did reconsider it when it became an issue, in that same year it took Bully Boy Cameron three different decisions before he realised that by jumping on the Labour rebels band wagon he could embarress the PM but once again he was trumped by the PM you mention the barnnet formula but you make no reference to the Lord Ascroft formula that is pouring millions into marginal seats to try to persuade Labour voters into turning Tory. your comment regarding Gordon Brown being a complete idiot and not understanding basic maths tells me a lot more about you than it does about the PM he has as you say made most people lives a misery for the last ten years, does that include the nearly three million extra people who are now back in work or the 250,000 young people who are now serving apprenticeships or possibly the millions who have been dragged out of poverty by the Tory opposed minimum wage, do you want to be embarressed further? your the idiot and I have a strong suspicion that despite your protestation your a self serving Tory.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    No, I am not 'anything like poor'... BUT I still earn under £18k.

    I am not 'anything like rich' either - so I dont want my money taken away thanks!

  • Comment number 85.

    re post 82:
    no need to get personal; I'm one of the people suffering from gordon's latest theft; I'm not rich and I'm not a tory. I simply don't like having my money stolen when I'm earning below the average wage, and when I see £50billion going to the banks that kind of grates.
    If you want to be specific, technically he had 2 years to consider it (he made the announcement a year in advance, so he had the year leading up to his announcement for an impact analysis, and he had a year after the announcement but before it came into effect. During that 2 years he constantly said that there were "no losers" and that was a blatent lie.

    If you want to talk about Bully Boy Cameron, consider the fact that Bully Boy Gordon bullied his own colleagues into crowning him instead of electing a leader.

    You can quote the "gordon" statistics as much as you want, but we all know that most of them are either deliberately misleading (eg inflation figures that don't actuallly include anything that you spend your money on to keep your family alive) or are blatent lies.

    Gordon brown raided my pension funds (he's been doing it for years; pensions are now worth a fraction of what they were prior to his chancellorship because of the pension related tax raids he's been doing for the last 10 years), increased my council tax, and generally made my life a misery. Lots of people are in the same boat as me.

    People like me are not rich, or tories; we never used to consider ourselves "poor" but we are now thanks to Gordon.

  • Comment number 86.

    Yes your right Gordon is a bad guy here's some of the things he 's done wrong since becoming PM, he was of course responsible for the floods or possibly global warning, then, why on earth he was'nt at the foot and mouth reseach center to check on the guys wellies as they left is a cardinal sin,there was also a break out of blue tongue that he must have been responsible for, then he of course didn't pay attention to whoever was sending some data discs out to whoever legitimately needed them he should have been at that office that day, no excuse, he should also of checked the idiot Naval officers car for him when he went into his flat for the night, Off course he also didn't have an election,that seemed to have upset the Tories even though most pundits say Gordon at that point would have won, they say he said he was going to have an election but I heard him say three times on the Andrew Marr show when asked his reply was I am only interesed in getting on with the job of running the country, what a disgusting thing to say, suggesting doing what he's paid to do, he didn't give us a referendum on the EU constitution but just a minute there was no EU constitution as was agreed by a number of Tory MPs it was a treaty but then he could have given us one anyway, he could have sent every voter a copy of the constitution and a copy of the treaty thats the only way we could have judged for ourselfs the difference between them we could then have read at our leisure, most of us would have been quite happy to have taken a day or two or three from the golf club or the football or rugby match or whatever your pastime is and mum would have been only to pleased to sit down in the evening after a hard days work and miss her favourite programmes in order to spend a night or three discussing it with her husband and any children over the voting age who would have been delighted to stay in to discuss the treaty-constitution, then that would have been fair we could have gone to vote as a family group to pass a measured judgement on what might affect our lives for years to come so that was pretty unfair Gordon, not for me though I find it very difficult to understand lawyer speak so I prefered to leave it to my MP as I thought well thats why I helped elect him and he does get paid for sitting down reading it and forming an opinion on my behalf for my welfare, if I didn't trust him I shouldn't have voted for him but we should have had a referendum Gordon even though it wasn't a constitution. well I could go on with all the bad things that the PM has done wrong but somehow the more you write these accusations down the more absurd they become, OH! well perhaps I should write down all the good things he's done tomorrow

  • Comment number 87.

    Now that the writing is on the wall, I wonder how long it will take our MP's to get their pay rise, and their pensions increased so that they are all financially secure before the next general election? Not long, I'll wager.


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