Insights from the UK and beyond
“Darling seeks end to 10p tax backlash” reports the Financial Times, noting that the move will still leave 1.1 million poorer households worse off following the abolition of the lowest tax band in last year’s budget.
For the Daily Mail the tax giveaway is a “2.7 billion pound gamble” to appease fury on the Labour backbenches over the scrapping of the 10p starting rate.
But the papers also find room for other stories: Drivers face a 185 pound tax to park at work, says the Daily Telegraph of a government push to cut traffic congestion. The paper reports that Nottingham city council will be the first to introduce the “workplace parking levy as an alternative to road pricing.
Commentators are revelling in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s effusive praise of Britain and drooling over the fashion sense of his wife but several see stormier waters ahead — specifically in the second half of the year from July when France takes over the presidency of the European Union.
Leader writers see problems in the two countries’ approach to Europe, particularly over France’s desire for closer European defence co-operation and a permanent EU president.