HIGHLIGHTS – UK’s Brown on ruling Labour Party manifesto

By Reuters Staff
April 12, 2010

BIRMINGHAM, England, April 12 (Reuters) – Britain’s ruling Labour Party published its policy programme on Monday for the May 6 general election.

Following are some of the main points made by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and finance minister Alistair Darling in response to reporters’ questions about the manifesto:

* PRIME MINISTER BROWN

SELLING STAKES IN PART-NATIONALISED BANKS

“We will gradually move these companies back into the private sector.

“Every single penny that has gone into the banks will be returned to the people of this country.”

BANK LEVY

“I’m confident that we can persuade other countries to join us in a multilateral levy. I believe if banks were consistently having to pay a tax in this country that was not levied in other countries, that would create a problem for the City of London.

“We don’t want a race to the bottom or double taxation. That’s why we’re taking a sensible course of cooperation with other countries and we hope to announce something on this soon.”

“It’s a global financial system and there needs to be global action to deal with it.”

VALUE-ADDED TAX

“On VAT, we’ve made clear the issue about not putting it on children’s clothes, transport or food. I can give you an honest assurance that we’ve not raised VAT since 1997. The only party that has raised VAT in the last 25 years is the Conservative party.

“That is something we have not done and over the last few months. We’ve decided we would put national insurance up, because that is the way we pay for our health services and public services.

“Our deficit reduction plans add up without having to put up VAT. I would suggest that the Conservative party’s plans do not add up without assuming they will put up VAT.”

“Our deficit reduction plan is costed and it doesn’t include us having to raise VAT.”

* FINANCE MINISTER DARLING

BANK LEVY

“The Conservatives have taken their idea from Sweden, but the Swedish banking system is much smaller and pretty well insulated, whereas the City of London is truly global.

“If you’re going to have a tax that works, then you do need international agreement. That’s why, even in the space of the last few weeks, we’ve made terrific progress where I think we can see a way of getting an international levy where banks pay what’s due to them.”

“I can think of a lot of better ways of spending the money than on a very unfair marriage tax allowance, which discriminates against children.” ((keith.weir@thomsonreuters.com, 00 44 20 7542 8022; Reuters Messaging: keith.weir.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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