By Sean O'Grady Economics Editor
In an embarrassing U-turn, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, an- nounced yesterday that changes to the capital gains tax regime will not be announced until early next year. Mr Darling had previously promised, for example to the CBI conference last month, that a statement would be made to Parliament before the Christmas recess, which will start next week.
The Commons will not meet again until 7 January. The changes are due to start with the new fiscal year in April. Mr Darling told MPs that "it is not now going to be possible to conclude that process until the new year", because he needed more time to study the various representations he has received on the topic.
Mr Darling's decision provoked derision. Vincent Cable, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "A very serious error was made by the Government by not consulting more widely. That failure in communication stands behind a feeling of ill-will in the business community." George Osborne, for the Conservatives, asked: "Doesn't this represent the final humiliation of this Chancellor? In the next couple of weeks, he's going to have to announce major concessions, major U-turns. …