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Brown promises no change to basic tax rate

Watching the election, so you don't have to

Prime minister Gordon Brown said there will be no rise in the basic rate of 20 per cent tax should Labour win the election.

Brown pledged to stay for a full five years and said the party had chosen an increase in National Insurance in order to protect public services. He claimed the Conservative party had failed to either make such a pledge or show where the money would come from.

He also told Channel 4 News he was now serious about changes to the political system.

Brown promised a referendum on further political reform which he said was now necessary because of falling public confidence in his money-grabbing colleagues.

The Labour Party has 14,000 friends on Facebook and almost the same number of followers on Twitter - which would be a comfortable majority in some constituencies. There are over 46 million voters in the UK.

Channel 4 News is here, and a summary of his MSN interview is here.

Meanwhile for the Conservatives Davey Cameron wheeled out aged actor Michael Caine to explain his non-military national scheme for 16-year olds. This two-month "residential and at-home components" and will be "universal but not compulsory".

And it's not just litter-picking for louts. Instead there will be a week spent away from home with "a focus on teamwork and outdoor physical challenges". Then a week spent nearer home, but still not at home, looking after old people - like Michale Caine - or another specified group.

Week three will be spent at home carrying out a social action project. The final week the youths can work on their social project part-time.

The actual organisation of this youth league will be carried out by independent charities and quangos.

More on the Conservative plans here. ®

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