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December 9, 2009 10:02 PM

The Labour Government is not being honest about the "hard slog" facing the economy after Alistair Darling unveiled a number of tax rises, the Liberal Democrats said.

Labour has postponed decisions on spending cuts until after the election, said Ron Beadle, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North.

He called for a national recovery plan incorporating "fair but realistic" measures on tax, pay and pensions.

"Instead of delivering a national economic plan to get us out of the recession and out of debt, the Chancellor has produced a weak party manifesto that avoids hard choices on spending and cuts," he said.

"Labour has missed a real chance to use this Budget to make the tax system fairer.

"People on middle incomes will be paying more tax while those at the top end continue to enjoy their loopholes.

"And low paid workers face a cut in real wages.

"By contrast, the Liberal Democrats propose the most radical, far-reaching tax reform in a generation paid for by closing tax loopholes, making polluters pay and introducing a 'mansion tax' on homes worth over £2 million.

"Under our plans people won't pay a penny on the first ten thousand pounds they earn.

"That would put £700 back in the pockets of the vast majority of taxpayers, and take millions of people on low pay out of paying income tax altogether."