Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised to plug the blackhole of Britain’s debt by increasing taxes if his Liberal Democrat party gain full government power at the next election.
During the Lib Dem Party conference in Glasgow Mr Clegg slammed the Conservative’s plans to help workers to take home more of their pay, by reducing the tax burden on 30 million people, as being ‘economically illiterate’.
Ahead of a tough battle to prevent his party, currently the third largest in terms of House of Commons seats, from suffering electoral oblivion; with YouGov highlighting support for the Lib Dems at only seven per cent; he claimed that they were the only party with ‘values, the beliefs and the resilience to win’.
In an aggressive swipe at the party that had to forge a coalition with his own after the last election, Mr Clegg criticised the Tories for not targeting the wealthiest income earners to help with the commitment to reducing the deficit, while claiming a Labour election victory would return Britain to recession, as well as resulting in escalating unemployment and a generation of young people ‘thrown back on the scrap heap’.
“The Liberal Democrats are not going to enter into government with an economic agenda which the Conservatives have announced is their priority, which would only penalise the working-age poor,” said Mr Clegg, who wants wealthier families to pay more tax to reduce the deficit; “It is anathema to everything we believe in.
Mr Clegg also revealed a second coalition with the Conservatives would only be given the green light by his party if the tough stance on benefits cuts and Human Rights legislation was diluted.
“We have restrained the Conservatives from doing what they want,” he claimed.
Business Secretary Vince Cable also attacked the Conservative hierarchy during his conference speech and claimed they were ‘lying’ with promises they can reduce the budget deficit without enforcing higher tax policies. He also warned of a Britain under future Tory control with: “Companies pulling out of the UK left, right and centre, the markets losing confidence, hiking up our borrowing costs and halting the recovery in its tracks.”
He declared: “Any politician who tells you that the next government can balance the budget and avoid tax increases is lying to you. The Tories are ideologically obsessed by cuts. They see it as a way of destroying public services and the welfare state, which they detest.”
Later Mr Cable followed up the speech with a further reiteration of his claim on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One and suggested the Tories had set out some tax cuts but that he was ‘pretty confident’ that other taxes would rise if Conservatives gained complete power at the next election.
“It simply isn’t possible without doing enormous harm to achieve the deficit reduction simply by spending cuts alone,” he said; “And that is why I made the strong statement I did.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander claimed in an interview that a Conservative pledge to increase the tax-free allowance to £12,500 was ‘grand larceny’; ahead of announcing to the Lib Dem conference that his party’s government would step up the tax-free income level by £500 to £11,000 in its inaugural budget, before increasing to £12,500. The tax policy would then be partly funded by targeting tax avoidance.
“The economic plan is just as much my plan as it is George Osborne’s,” said Mr Alexander.
Former Lib Dem Party Leader Lord Ashdown said: “Labour will screw the economy and the Tories will screw the weak. Well here’s our message, we won’t let them do it.”
Meanwhile, as the Lib Dems announced its watered-down mansion tax proposals through new council tax bands targeting wealthy home owners, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls confirmed that the Queen will have to pay mansion tax if his party takes government control.
Experts have calculated that the Monarch’s tax charges under a Labour regime would be upto £1million and will include annual bills running into hundreds of thousands of pounds for every residence, excluding BuckinghamPalace and WindsorCastle as they are open to the public.
“The Royal Family pays tax like everybody else and rightly so,” said Mr Balls; “There aren’t different rules for anybody, it’s the nature of society.”
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell warned that the tax policy would threaten royal buildings that were technically owned by the Queen but also part of our national heritage.
“The spite of Ed Balls over this policy is breath-taking,” said Mr Rosindell; “This tax would put royal properties in jeopardy.”