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Government rejects claims of Gordon Brown intervention

The government has today rejected claims that Gordon Brown effectively blocked a more complete debt repayment programme from Alistair Darling in this week's pre-budget report. Rumour has it that Alistair Darling wanted to increase taxes in the short term, with VAT said to be a particular target, although Gordon Brown is alleged to have turned around and block this particular move.

The government is stuck between a rock and a hard place because with the election on the way there is a need to withhold any pain for UK taxpayers in the short term while giving the impression the debt problem is being managed. This is a very difficult balancing act to do, and in many ways it is impossible, but with rumours of fallout between Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling this is not helping the credibility and reputation of the UK government.

There is no doubt, when you look at Alistair Darling's comments before the pre-budget report, that he would like to have gone further regarding the debt situation and increasing taxes, but for some reason has held back. Whether the true reason is intervention by Gordon Brown is a matter for discussion but there is history between the two and they have had major disagreements in the past.

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