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Britain Crafts Tax Plan to Help Address Country’s Economic Ills

The British Parliament on Monday considered changes to its income and sales taxes as a means to alleviate the economic downturn. Margaret Warner reports from London about the proposed stimulus plan.

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    Next, Britain tries its own economic stimulus package. And Margaret Warner reports on that from London.


    It's a month before Christmas, and London's Oxford Street is filled with would-be shoppers, gazing at the glittering window displays, but mostly free of shopping bags. And salespeople say customers haven't opened their wallets yet.


    We've been the first to feel the crunch.


    One of the best barometers of London's economic health are its cab drivers.


    The business is really right down. We have to be in the cab seven days a week to earn any money, really.


    And today Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled his latest recession fighter: a nearly 20 billion dollar pound stimulus package with a temporary sales tax cut and a bit more spending on infrastructure.

    This comes not a moment too soon for Britain. The retail sector is hurting; homes aren't selling; unemployment is its highest in 11 years and forecast to get worse; and the British pound has lost a quarter of its value against the dollar.

    All that means Gordon Brown has an anxious British public to reassure.

  • JAMES MAX, Radio Talk Show Host:

    Five minutes past 5:00, you are listening to "Business Matters"…


    Just six months ago, London radio talk show host James Max was fielding calls from listeners looking for advice about how to profit in a booming economy. No longer.


    The kinds of questions that we're getting are, "I've got money in my bank account. Is it even safe?"

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