The [Pounds Sterling]5bn 'Black Hole' in Brown's Promises
Wilson, Graeme, Daily Mail (London)
Byline: GRAEME WILSON
A [pound]5BILLION 'black hole' has emerged in Gordon Brown's spending plans.
The Chancellor's ambitious pledges include the introduction of new tax credits for pensioners, children and workers in 2003.
The three new credits will cost up to [pound]5billion to bring in - but Mr Brown has not included this figure in his spending blueprint.
News of the massive gap comes just days after Mr Brown's chief economic adviser hinted that Labour would have to raise taxes or borrowing by [pound]5billion a year to weather the growing economic storm.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs has already estimated that the economic slowdown will wipe out the Government's [pound]6billion surplus this year.
Last night the Conservatives expressed alarm that the outlook could be much bleaker than that because Mr Brown has to find billions of pounds to fund his new tax credits.
Social security spokesman David Willetts said: 'What is clear is that in April 2003 Mr Brown is planning to spend up to [pound]5billion on social security - more than the increase to health or education - but this money has not been accounted for.
'This is a massive black hole in his spending plans. He is telling colleagues to watch their spending, yet at the same time he is poised to spend billions on one of his pet projects.
'Mr Willetts spoke out after the independent House of Commons library trawled through the official Budget Red Book - which sets out the Chancellor's spending plans - and confirmed they did not include the cost of the new tax credits. …