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A budget about insurance: John Stones at the House of Commons

It was a Budget all about insurance. National Insurance, that is. Chancellor Brown unambiguously ruled out private medical insurance and social insurance to pay for an improved health service, bunging a penny on National Insurance on employees and employers for an extra £8bn for the NHS. This route was &#45 in Brown&#39s unfortunate adjective &#45 &#34equitable&#34 -.
To ensure the billions would be spent properly, there would be yearly NHS audits. Luckily, as the Chancellor was giving his speech, beleaguered auditors Andersens announced it was shedding 30 per cent of its UK work force – a ready pool of labour then.
Go forth and procreate! That had been family friendly sentiment of the budget. To this was added another message to resonate with the more mercenary advisers as consultation on polarisation draws to a close: go forth and flog your businesses!
It was as if the only time the Chancellor does anything for IFAs it is to make selling their businesses easier by changing CGT. As Brown said, the small businesses of today are the big businesses tomorrow.
Then William Hague, oops, Iain Duncan Smith stood up for the unenviable job of responding blind to Brown.
But he had something he had prepared earlier attacking the Chancellor for not supporting savings and pensions, and savaging stakeholder.
IDS gave the clearest proof that he is not regulated by the FSA saying that with the Chancellor, &#34like the markets, past performance was a guide to future performance&#34.
Blair, Blunkett and Brown had been uncomfortably shoe-horned together on the House of Commons&#39 cramped benches, their suits giving off sparks that did not speak of mutual affection. Now the three Bs softened into studious bonhomie. After all it was only yesterday that Blunkett had bitterly referred to the Chancellor as the &#34Money God&#34. It was now for the country to decide.

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