GORDON BROWN’S carefully laid plans for a G20 deal on worldwide tax cuts have been scuppered by an eve-of-summit ambush by European leaders.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, last night led the assault on the prime minister’s “global new deal” for a $2 trillion-plus fiscal stimulus to end the recession.
“I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money,” she said.
The Spanish finance minister, Pedro Solbes, also dismissed new cash being pledged at Thursday’s London summit.
“In these conditions I and the rest of my colleagues from the eurozone believe there is no room for new fiscal stimulus plans,” he said.
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has insisted that “radical reform” of capitalism is more important than tax cutting.
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The attacks on Brown’s ambitions for the G20 to inject more money into the world economy come at the end of a week where the prime minister has travelled to three continents to build support for his proposals.
The likely deadlock at this week’s meeting will kill any remaining hope that Alistair Darling’s April 22 budget will offer significant tax cuts.
The assault by European Union leaders also represents a defeat for President Barack Obama, who is desperate for other big economies to copy his $800 billion stimulus plan.
“There will be a very long communiqué, but there won’t be much in it,” said a Washington economist.