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THE pensions tax row blew up last Friday - and since then there has been claim and counterclaim as Mr Brown has come under fire from business and political opponents:

FRIDAY: Papers released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal officials warned about the potential impact on pensions funds of changing the tax credit rules.

An Inland Revenue document said: "We agree that abolishing tax credits would make a big hole in pensions scheme finances."

SATURDAY: Pensions campaigner Ros Altman, a former adviser to Tony Blair, says: "It is outrageous. It is an absolute disgrace. They were knowingly embarking on the emasculation of the most successful pension system in the world."

Economic Secretary Ed Balls hits back, saying: "In 1993 in the Budget, Norman Lamont, advised by David Cameron, cut the dividend tax credit from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.

"In 1996, The CBI said to us: 'You haven't gone far enough. You need to act in a decisive way in the long-term interests of British companies and British investment' - and we did that."

SUNDAY: Tory Leader David Cameron says: "The crisis that has been created in our pensions system - after Mr Brown ignored official warnings - is typical of his approach. A stealth tax aimed to hit those who have worked hard and saved for their future was pushed through and then, when the full scale of his failure is revealed, there is not a hint of an apology."

YESTERDAY: Lord Turner - CBI director general from 1995 to 1999 - says Mr Balls' claim that the CBI lobbied for the move is "completely untrue".

He goes on: "At no time whatsoever did the CBI support the policy of removing the dividend tax credit.

"And when the change was introduced in the 1997 Budget, I wrote to the Chancellor expressing our disagreement."


UNDER FIRE: Brown's first Budget in '97; ED BALLS; LORD TURNER
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 3, 2007
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