Tuesday

Gordon Brown has been criticised – but not enough

The press and the BBC have, for once, been fairly critical of Gordon Brown and his pre-budget report. But not critical enough.
For the past year or more, the financial pages of all newspapers have been looking forward to the new pensions regime previously announced by Mr Brown. Standard Life said this morning that it, alone, had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds preparing for what Mr Brown had announced he would introduce – namely allowing pension funds to buy residential homes and other things such as fine wines. What Standard Life did, many other pension providers will also have done. So they have spent millions of pounds belonging to their shareholders – largely pension funds investing money for the retirements of many of us. Now Mr Brown gets up and says, “Ooops, sorry! I made a mistake. What I announced before is too open to abuse. I am now de-announcing it.”
Except of course, he did not apologise. He has wasted money that was going to pay the pensions of millions of people. Pensions will, albeit fractionally, be lower as a result. But he did not apologise. The man has bungled. He has been incompetent. It has cost other people money. The press should have said all this bluntly.

  1. How much better off would we be if Gordon Brown had never existed?
  2. One part of Gordon Brown’s incompetence
  3. How Gordon Brown does it.
  4. The tax system that Gordon Brown does not want you to know about
  5. Mr Brown taxes more of the poor
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2 Responses to Gordon Brown has been criticised – but not enough

  1. Robert Dammers says:

    My question for Brown supporters is the following:
    What is the difference between Gordon Brown and Robert Maxwell?
    Maxwell intended, at least in theory, to pay back the pension money he stole. Brown is proud of having no such intention.
    At various times, pollsters ask people if they would be prepared to pay a little more tax if the NHS or Education improved. Well, they’ve had their pensions stolen, and both those services seem to have got worse. Surely pollsters should be pointing this out, and asking how many people think they got good value for money?
    The great political debate at present seems to be when Brown becomes Prime Minister. I’m more curious as to how he has managed to avoid his head being stuck on a pike on London Bridge …

  2. Paul Robinson says:

    It won’t just be the pension funds either. I suspect a number of investors will, like me, have taken expensive advice / already converted their personal pensions to SIPPs at considerable cost
    to take advantage of the residential property provision.
    If one were cynical you might think that GB’s change of heart was more to do with the difficulty of taxing these sort of pension assets.
    As they are fond of saying at Samizdata, “the State is not your friend”.

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