Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mr Darling Faces the Music

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mr Darling Faces the Music

Article excerpt

THIS HAS been an uncomfortable fortnight for the Prime Minister. Freshhumiliations this week, including being taken to task by David Cameron overLabour's part in the debacle of the Scottish elections, and Anthony Seldon'sbook confirming the animus between Tony Blair and Mr Brown, may pass. Others,like the row about capital gains tax, may inflict more lasting damage.

Today his Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has come under fire before the TreasurySelect Committee. He has been accused of "indecision and dithering" in hishandling of the Northern Rock crisis; he has admitted that there are lessons tobe learned from the debacle.

But further problems stem from his pre-Budget report and Comprehensive SpendingReview. The Chancellor shamelessly stole the Opposition's proposals oninheritance tax and taxation of non-domiciled residentsthough his own differ subtly from the Tory proposals in being more likely toresult in an exodus of US non-doms.

More importantly, the sheer rush to respond to Tory measures resulted in poorlythought-through changes to capital gains tax. …

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