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BLUNKETT BANNED FROM RATE CUT TALKS

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Chancellor Gordon Brown has vetoed any further meetings between education and employment secretary David Blunkett a...
Chancellor Gordon Brown has vetoed any further meetings between education and employment secretary David Blunkett and the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, reported The Observer (p9).

News of Mr Brown's intervention is said to come amid signs of growing tensions between the two ministers over economic policy. The chancellor is known to be irritated at what he regards as unwarranted pressure to reflate the economy. Mr Blunkett has been concerned that the rise in the number of jobless will undermine the effectiveness of the new deal.

It is understood that Mr Blunkett was the only cabinet minister to speak out in opposition to the chancellor's decision to cut the basic tax rate by 1p from next year. He argued that money could be better spent on improving public services, including schools.
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