for the Euro vs the Taxpayer Gordon Brown



Gordon Brown has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. He has expressed doubts about the EU's moves towards tax harmonisation in the proposed Constitution. His call for a referendum is seen to be distinguishing himself from Tony Blair.

But just how 'Eurosceptical' is Brown?


The Sunday Times (15.6.03) covered some far reaching moves that would fundamentally alter the way the economy works - noting that housing market 'reform' is vital if the UK is to join the Euro:

 Looking at how to push home buyers onto 25 year fixed rate 'Continental' mortgages (in spite of the fact that most house buyers reject such loans and the UK has cheaper mortgages than most of the EU). Amazingly, the Treasury is looking at subsidies to 'encourage' mortgagees to shift!

(Brown's 'solution' was described as "disastrous for millions' by Daily Express Personal Finance Editor, David Prosser, 18.11.03. Prosser added: "There is no need to shake up mortgages this way. The home loan market currently works well". His article also noted that loans at a fixed interest rate of between 6.5 and 7.0% are being introduced by the European Mortgage Finance Agency.

 Europeanising the way inflation figures are calculated.

 Trying to force workers to accept regional pay settlements.

 Measures forcing local authorities to give planning permission for housebuilding (NB John Prescott's department (ODPM) now makes it easy for local authorities to sell off land for less than its value. See 'ODPM circular 06/2003', quoted: Voice of Business, Federation of Small Businesses, Nov/Dec 2003).


This in addition to the Treasury's national Euro changeover plan and the pressure being put on local authorities to prepare. Although separately denied, Brown has been reported to be looking at taxing the increase in value on a home (cf. Treasury Euro-dossier, Sun, 10.6.03). This would penalise families moving jobs and senior citizens selling up to pay for their retirement care (We subsequently noted that the March 2004 Budget moved to eliminate some tax loopholes in this area).

(The Sunday Telegraph, 19.10.03, noted it would "bring Britain into line with several other European countries"). By increasing the percentage of national tax take - without a marked improvement in public services - Brown is also 'harmonising' our economy. (The Sunday Times, 15.6.03, also spoke of "the spectre of big tax rises to smooth Britain's path into the Euro").


On 17.11.98, Brown and ten other 'Social Democrat' / 'Socialist' EU Finance Ministers signed up to a policy document, 'The New European Way', which held that different national tax systems constituted a "distortion of competition".

Of course simply being different is 'a bad thing' to the EU, which has long looked at opportunities for 'harmonisation'. European Commissioner for Competition, Mario Monti, made it clear that 'reform' was being targeted where national tax levels were less than the EU average. (See his "Towards Tax Co-ordination in the EU'", reported in the Telegraph, 22.10.97).

Ultimately, it does not matter so much whether 'co-ordination' (sic) is achieved by legislation or by a 'voluntary' Code of Conduct - the result is the same: greater harmonisation.

Channel 4 economics correspondent, Liam Halligan, reviewed the taxes generally that have rocketed under Brown's Chancellorship: "...Council taxes have also risen relentlessly - in the words of Local Government Minister, Nick Raynsford, "to the limit of acceptability"....

This mounting tax burden is rapidly pushing us in the direction of continental Europe - where the stifling effect of high tax is now acknowledged". (Evening Standard, 3.11.03).


For all his bluster about 'British values' and tax vetoes, Brown favours "pooling sovereignty" (sic) in EU trade talks and wishes to dispel "anti-European prejudice". (Telegraph, 5.11.03).

In spite of his gripes on extending VAT, Brown caved in when the EU refused relief on UK church repairs!

Labour Movement for Europe's Chris Bryant MP warned that those seeing Brown as a sort of 'Eurosceptic ' were in for a rude awakening! (Parliament's 'The House' magazine. Jun 2003).


Brown also told BBC News that he'd be one of the leaders of the pro-Euro campaign in a referendum! (BBC Online, 27.2.03).

|Euro, taxes & pensions article |

|Brown's 'prudence' doubted|

|For earlier tax article|

|Mortgage systems compared|

|Link to TaxPayers Alliance -
exposing waste of public funds

|New Lab's European direction|

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This page updated: 26 March 2004