UK tax cuts to fight recession

Britain's prime minister plans extra public spending to lift economy.

    The package is expected to include a cut in sales tax and help for low earners [GALLO/GETTY]

    Recessionary slide

    The stakes are high, as Britain is sliding into recession with house prices slumping, unemployment rising and manufacturing output shrinking.

    Although Brown's handling of the financial crisis has lifted his declining popularity, a poll published on Sunday still showed his Labour Party trailing the opposition Conservatives by 11 points, a wider margin than some other recent surveys.

    His chances of winning the next election, due by mid-2010, may depend on the recession being relatively short and shallow, but that is looking increasingly unlikely.

    The National Institute of Social and Economic Research, an independent economic forecaster, said on Monday Britain's economy would shrink by 1.5 per cent next year and is not expected to start recovering until early 2010.

    In March, Darling forecast growth of about two per cent this year and around 2.5 per cent in 2009.

    Tax cut

    The centrepiece of Monday's plan will be a temporary cut in value-added tax, several British newspapers reported.

    VAT could be reduced to 15 per cent - the lowest level allowed by the European Union - from 17.5 per cent, boosting consumers' spending power before Christmas.

    The cut would be reversed after one or two years.

    The Sunday Times newspaper said Darling would scrap plans to increase corporation tax for small companies and exempt foreign dividends from tax in an effort to allay concerns that have led several big companies to shift their tax domicile to Ireland.

    A Treasury spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

    Germany, the Netherlands and Spain have already announced stimulus plans.

    A European Union package, worth up to $163bn, will be unveiled on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.