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from The Great Debate UK:

Will politicians come clean on tax hikes?

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As political parties step up their campaigning ahead of a general election due by June 2010, voters need to know exactly how politicians plan to tackle a projected deficit of 175 billion pounds, says Stephen Herring, senior tax partner at accountancy firm BDO LLP.

In a report titled "Time to Break the Silence" BDO suggests there will not only be cuts in public spending, but substantial business tax increases.

The firm argues that voters have the right to be properly informed about where the changes will be made and says that an additional 25 billion pounds a year in taxes might be required in the medium term to rebuild national finances.

"It may come as little surprise to see that almost every business is expecting to be hit by tax rises next year, but it's disappointing to see that even after the [political] conference season, we're still in the dark over the parties' tax policies," Herring said.

What next for the government?

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Reuters UK Chief Correspondent Keith Weir assesses the European election results and the challenges facing Prime Minister Gordon Brown after support for the Labour Party plunged to its lowest level in a century in European elections.

The collapse in the Labour vote in the European Parliament election, which followed a dismal showing in local government elections last week, helped the far-right British National Party win its first two seats in the European Parliament.

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