TAX NEWS: Government watchdog attacks tax credits 'incompetence'. By Dan Martin

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Problems with Gordon Brown's flagship tax credits system are due to "sociological incompetence", the UK's most senior public spending watchdog has claimed.

Sir John Bourne, head of the National Audit Office (NAO), said the chancellor's frequent policy changes are to blame for the "unacceptably high" losses to tax credit fraud and overpayment errors.

Speaking to 'The Sunday Telegraph', he said: "If you constantly alter the system, you increase error and fraud. You foster chaos and confusion as claimants and civil servants try to cope with changes that are not thought through."

In what the newspaper described as a "blistering attack" on the chancellor, Sir John went on to criticise the practice of overpaying claimants with the premise that the government will ask for the money back.

"The thing a...

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27th Jul 2006 16:05

Gordon Brown - The Incompetent Chancellor
What surprises me is that Gordon Brown still has a job.Normal mortals would be shown the door for such gross incompetence yet he get away with at the taxpayers expense.

It is widely held in the British media that Gordon Brown was appointed Chancellor as the result of a power brokerage agreement with Tony Blair. Gordon Brown has no economic training.

One cornerstone of Brown's chancellorship has been a complicated system of "tax credits", one of several ideas imported from former US president Bill Clinton whereby welfare payments are accounted for as negative taxation. It involves a lengthy means-tested application form, separate to the normal tax return. This has proved problematic, and in 2004 and 2005 the system has been abused to the extent that £2bn has been lost in each of those years.

In 2001 Brown sold 60% of the UK's gold reserves at $275 an ounce.It was later attacked as a "disastrous foray into international asset management" as he had sold at close to a 20-year low. Prices went on to reach $700 an ounce in May 2006 - he could have raised £4bn for the public had he waited He pressured the IMF to do the same , but it resisted.

Yet we have this guy running our the finances of the UK.

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