BROWN MUST FIND [Pounds sterling]5BN TO FINANCE NEW TAX CREDITS

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Byline: JANE PADGHAM

GORDON Brown will have to find an extra [pound]5 billion in his Budget - the equivalent of nearly 2p on income tax - to fund the raft of new tax credits he is planning for children, low-paid workers and pensioners, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said today.

The think-tank said in its authoritative Green Budget which sets out the options for the Chancellor's April Budget, that the figure would rise to [pound]7 billion if the Government increases public spending as a share of national income as it has done in previous years.

Cash for the new benefits, which include the child tax credit and the working tax credit for families without children, is not yet included in Brown's public finance projections, implying tax increases or a rise in borrowing if they are to be introduced as planned in 2003.

"If the Government were to maintain the level of caution seen in recent years in the public finances, and pay for new measures which have been announced but not yet included in its costings, the Chancellor would need to announce new spending cuts or tax increases of [pound]5 billion," the report said. …

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