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CHANCELLOR 'NOT EMPIRE-BUILDING'.

CLAIMS that Chancellor Gordon Brown is empire-building were rejected yesterday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair's supporters are uneasy about the high profile adopted by the Chancellor - seeing it, and talk of extra staffing in the Treasury, as a veiled leadership challenge.

They are also unhappy about Mr Brown's publication of a pre- Budget pamphlet, paid for out of his own pocket, and the postponement of a consultation document by Social Security Minister Frank Field.

But last night Paymaster-General Geoffrey Robinson insisted the Treasury wanted only to play an "enabling role" - not to set up a rival to the No 10 policy unit.

A spokesman for the Chancellor said the aim was to help departments come up with solutions, such as the recent announcement to make the London Underground a joint public-private affair.

He added: "To suggest that that we are trying to second-guess them is absolute nonsense."

Mr Robinson hopes to meet Cabinet Secretary Sir Richard Wilson next week to argue the case for a wider-ranging, inter-departmental role.
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 22, 1998
Words:167
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