The Economy

Part of Council Tax Rebate – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 31st March 2009.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Chancellor of the Exchequer 3:49 pm, 31st March 2009

I will give way in a moment, but first I thought I might give the Opposition some further food for thought.

We face the most substantial economic downturn in generations. The whole world faces a financial crisis the like of which we have not seen for decades. The Conservatives might have thought that the No. 1 priority was to cut inheritance tax. Surely they would question not only having such a policy, but the fact that they cannot even pay for it. On 24 March this year, the shadow Chancellor told the BBC,

"what I'm saying is with the Conservatives' plans these are funded, on inheritance tax we will pay for it with the long-established proposals we've put forward on non-domiciles."

The next day, again on the BBC, the shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said:

"We don't know how many non-doms will be here, we don't know how much our policy of raising fair taxation from foreigners who work in this country will raise".

In other words, the policy is not only unfair but unfunded. Does not that tell us everything we need to know about where today's Conservative party is?

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