16 MARCH 1991, Page 21

Baring down

I TRUST that Norman Lamont, as an old Rothschild man, has asked the Barings what to put in his Budget. Peel did that, 150 years ago. He wanted to cut tariffs, he risked a deficit — as much as £2 million! So he planned to bring in a supposedly tem- porary income tax, and asked Lord Ashburton, as head of the Baring family, what he thought. Well, said Ashburton, how much? A shilling in the pound, said Peel: 5 per cent. The great banker shook his head, and gave his answer: 'It would be next to insupportable to live in a country where such a tax were permanent.'