In today’s Observer, Nick Clegg makes the case once again for a mansion tax to be introduced as the most effective way of spreading the pain of austerity. In fact, he goes a bit further saying it is inevitable:
Victor Hugo observed that it is near impossible to resist an idea once its time has come. Last week, he was again proved right as calls for a mansion tax, first proposed by the Liberal Democrats in 2009, gathered new momentum. … I offer certainty: the mansion tax, or a version of it, will happen. My party has often led the political debate – whether on climate change, on the recklessness in our banks, on Iraq or on gay marriage. The lesson is always the same: change is rarely possible overnight – new ideas are always met with outrage by people who cling to the status quo – but when you have the argument on your side, it’s only a matter of time. The mansion tax is an idea whose time has come.
And his message to the voters of Eastleigh couldn’t be clearer:
This growing support for the mansion tax may be sudden, but it’s not surprising. This levy is part of the answer to the biggest question in politics today: during an unprecedented period of austerity, how should the burden be spread? As millions of ordinary families struggle on, who can plausibly argue against the very wealthy paying a bit more? As we try to build a stronger, more entrepreneurial economy, who can possibly defend a tax system that rewards unearned wealth at the expense of hard work?
Across the developed world, property levies are the norm. And in the UK, the demand for tax fairness is not going to go away. The next election, in 2015, will be our first full-blown scarcity election: no political party will be able to duck difficult questions on further public spending restraint and tax increases to fill the gaping hole in the public finances. Tax has been the theme of the Eastleigh byelection and it is a preview of what is to come.
The Liberal Democrats started this byelection by setting out the case for fair taxes in straitened times. And as we head towards the finishing line, this remains the dominant theme. The message to Eastleigh’s voters is simple: in government, we have successfully cut income tax for more than 20 million people. But multimillion-pound homeowners should pay their fair share. Send another Liberal Democrat MP to Parliament on Thursday and strengthen our hand.
You can read Nick’s article in full here.
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