The economy

I have just received an e-mail from a constituent telling me how much worse off his whole family will be as a result of the removal of the 10 per cent starting rate for income tax.

That was the tax rise which Gordon Brown forgot to mention when he grabbed a headline by "cutting" income tax in last year's Budget.

At Westminster, there are increasing rumours of a rebellion as Labour MPs see the electoral danger of increasing taxes on families.

It all seemed so easy for Gordon when the economy was growing.  He ramped up borrowing and taxes in order to pay for his ‘flash flood' of public spending.

Today the only major countries with higher budget deficits than Britain are Hungary, Pakistan and Egypt.

Over the last decade, the size of government has increased a third more than the size of the economy.

Now the money has run out, and the chickens are coming home to roost.  This week the International Monetary Fund downgraded Britain's growth forecasts for the next two years.  House prices are now predicted to fall by as much as 10 per cent this year.

Gordon Brown has left us in a weakened position to cope with the downturn.  Just as the economy is slowing, we are approaching the highest tax burden in our history.

In the United States, the Federal Government has been able to cut taxes in order to help weather the storm.

Not here.  This year's Budget will impose an extra £110 a year in taxes on the average family.

Meanwhile, the cost of living is rising.  The price of butter has leapt by over a third in less than a year, fuel bills have soared and yet again our council tax bills have gone up.

But there can be no relief for families - because the "prudent" Prime Minister failed to set something aside when times were good.

Michelle Taylor