CHANCELLOR GORDON Brown is expected to deliver a "no-thrills" Budget this Wednesday after it emerged he will try to avoid any tax hikes in the run-up to next year's election.
The Daily Telegraph says Brown's decision to steer clear of any tax rises was further strenghtened when he promised to "strive for stability" at Labour's Spring conference.
But his determination to hold down spending faces pressure from Cabinet colleagues as it could hit efforts to fight against crime, according to a leaked government paper.
That said, the chancellor is still expected to announce rises in VAT and/or stamp duty when he addresses the Commons on Wednesday.
UP IN Scotland, the mutual insurer Standard Life yesterday shot down claims there was anything sinister in the fact that it has delayed sending out some of its annual endowment statements to policyholders until after its annual general meeting, says the Scotsman.
This delay will effectively mean many of the company's 1.2m mortgage endowment customers will not get an update on potential shortfalls in their policies until after the AGM on 6 April.
However, Standard Life denied the delay was their way of trying to avert further criticism.
MEANWHILE, THE UK housing market continues to look strong as a report by the property website Rightmove suggested house prices rose by 2.9% during the past month as potential buyers returned to the market, writes the Times.
This increase was the second highest monthly jump recorded since the "boom days" of May 2002, the survey said.
According to Rightmove, the rise comes as twice as many people went in search for a new home during the four weeks to March 6 as there were in December last year.IFAonline
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