Business: Early Christmas

A pre-election present from the Labor government

Britain's heavily burdened taxpayers last week got an early Christmas present from Denis Healey, the Labor government's stern Chancellor of the Exchequer and previously a champion of austerity. Presenting his second minibudget of the year to a tune of increasing optimism over North Sea oil, Healey abandoned his Scrooge-like posture to unwrap a package of tax cuts and state-pension increases worth $1.75 billion this fiscal year (which ends next March) and $3.5 billion in the following fiscal year. Under the proposals, a married couple earning $8,750 a year will pay $95 less income...

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