Gordon Brown will leave his successor at the Treasury a double whammy of £10 billion in tax rises and £10 billion in public spending cuts, a report from an influential economic think tank says today.
Since Mr Brown became Chancellor 10 years ago the total rise in tax revenue has been £40 billion or £1,300 per family, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies found.
If, as now seems certain, Mr Brown succeeds Tony Blair this summer, his first years as prime minister will see not only the “tightest squeeze on spending” for a decade but also increases in taxes totalling £10 billion.
The Institute’s Green Budget for 2007 claims that Mr Brown’s record at the Treasury over the past decade was not as glowing as the Chancellor likes to make out.
The mother of a British soldier killed by a bomb in Iraq has said soldiers’ lives are being risked by patrolling in lightly-armoured Land Rover vehicles.
Pte Leon Spicer, Pte Phillip Hewett, 21, both of Tamworth, Staffs, and 2nd Lt Richard Shearer, 26, of Nuneaton, Warks, died in the attack in July 2005.
A coroner ruled on Tuesday that all three were unlawfully killed.
But Sue Smith, mother of Pte Hewett, said she was considering legal action to stop the use of the Land Rovers.
The three soldiers were travelling in a “snatch” Land Rover when they were killed by the bomb near Al Amarah in southern Iraq.
Their families said the soldiers should have been in more heavily armoured Warrior vehicles.
The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen for the first time since March 2000, Home Office figures revealed today.
Opposition parties slammed the news as symptomatic of government cuts in policing.
News of the fall in officer numbers comes only days after the British Crime Survey revealed a 4 per cent rise in overall crime, with a 9 per cent leap in armed robberies.
The jail system is in “serious crisis” with overcrowding affecting rehabilitation of offenders, the chief inspector of prisons has warned.
Anne Owers said some jails have become “riskier places to manage” because of the overcrowding problem.
Many male prisoners had mental health issues that would be better addressed in secure hospitals, Ms Owers said.
A Home Office spokesman said it shared her concerns on “a number of issues” and was “addressing the problems”.
There are nearly 80,000 prisoners in England and Wales, with some inmates held in police stations and court cells to ease overcrowding.
Parents are spending up to one third of their weekly earnings putting their children in nurseries or with child-minders.
New research reveals the lowest nursery costs are in the Midlands and the cheapest childminders are found in the North-West.
Parents in London pay the highest prices – up to £400 per week for a child minder, and £200 a week to send a child to a nursery.
Two-thirds of parents say there is a lack of affordable childcare in their area, according to research for the Daycare Trust.
An NHS trust in Kent is asking employees to work extra hours for free as a way to ease its financial burden.
A leaked letter from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said the idea was one of several to meet targets to secure a new hospital building.
The trust said it was an idea from staff after they were asked how to keep to budgets and work more efficiently.
First-time buyers are willing to take greater financial risks than ever, a survey by Yorkshire Bank suggests.
Six out of 10 would consider taking out a substantial mortgage – even in excess of five times salary – to get on the property ladder.
Mortgages repayable over longer periods than 25 years are also becoming more popular, the survey found.
First-time buyers are also twice as likely as others to offer more than the asking price to get their dream home.