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Howard blast for ‘vote now pay later’ Brown

Conservative leader Michael Howard says Chancellor Gordon Brown has produced a “vote now pay later” Budget.

Howard attacked Brown’s promise to raise the stamp duty threshold to £120,000, saying Brown created the problem in the first place by raising stamp duty in his first four Budgets while freezing the threshold in his first eight Budgets.

On Brown’s move to raise pensioner council tax refunds from £50 to £200, Howard said the Tories would offer a discount of up to £500.

Responding to Brown’s move to raise the inheritance tax threshold, Howard said Brown was responsible for dragging people into the net of death duties in the first place.

Howard said: “The simple fact is that if Labour gets in again, taxes go up again.”

The Liberal Democrats have called the Budget an election “sticking plaster” that does not go far enough.

Leader Charles Kennedy welcomes raising the stamp duty threshold but asks why Brown could not commit to the £150,000 threshold the LibDems proposed.

Kennedy said this proposal would help first-time buyers who pay an average £131,000 for a property.

Commenting on the pension credit increase, Ken-nedy said Brown had not solved fundamental problems and suggested that a local income tax would save the average pensioner £209 a year.

Kennedy said: “The Chancellor talks about British economic success but for us that is also about having a Government dedi-cated to fairness.”

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