George Osborne on the defensive after stealth tax criticism

The chancellor has denied unflattering comparisons to Gordon Brown.

by Rebecca Smith

Businesses weren't hugely impressed with the chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which was something of a mixed bag, but even they may have stopped short of likening his approach to that of Gordon Brown’s - the latest accusation from one of his colleagues.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the eccentric Conservative MP for North East Somerset, said the chancellor was taking a ‘high tax and stealth tax approach’ towards policymaking that was inconsistent with the government’s pledge to create a ‘lower tax society’.

Osborne has been forced to defend his two biggest tax-raising policies – an apprenticeship levy (more here on whether this is actually good for business) which is predicted to raise an optimistic £11.6bn over the next five years, and £6.2bn in extra revenues drummed up from handing powers to local authorities to raise council tax.

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