As I write, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are setting out the framework of ‘the party’s tax policies, the philosophical basis that underpins them and the contrast between the Liberal Democrats’ policies and those of the other two parties.’
This has been well trailed in the media this morning, with Nick conducting a series of media interviews. Much focus so far on the tweak to the ‘mansion tax’ proposals that Vince mooted at conference to public acclaim, but some disquiet among his own Parliamentary colleagues (many of whom knew nothing about it in advance).
The party has responded to criticisms made of the tax, especially in marginal seats in the south of England, by lifting the threshold at which the annual levy is paid to cover all houses worth more than £2m, and doubling the levy from 0.5% to 1% to ensure even more money is raised by the new tax.
The revenue raised from this and other measures (such as green taxes) will be ploughed back into the party’s spending priorities, including raising the tax threshold for the poorest in society.
Here’s some of the media coverage so far:
The Liberal Democrats have doubled the threshold at which they say homeowners should pay an annual “mansion tax”. Properties will now have to be worth at least £2m to incur a 1% charge – the previous plan was to charge 0.5% a year on a property’s value above £1m.
Party leader Nick Clegg said the “principle” remained the same but “we just looked at the figures”. The party is also pledging to scrap income tax for four million people earning less than £10,000 a year. …
Mr Clegg told BBC One’s Breakfast: “The principle is very clear. People who live in very large houses, mansions, should pay some more money, so we can give some back to the majority of British taxpayers. It does what it says on the tin. It’s a mansion tax. It goes towards what many people want from the tax system. Nothing has changed in terms of the principle… We are the only party in British politics who have a plan to make taxes fair. This is a simple, fair, do-able plan.”
There’s also coverage of Nick’s media interviews at PoliticsHome.
And here’s the full text of the party news release:
Fair taxes at the heart of Liberal Democrat message
Mon, 30 Nov 2009
Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today pledged to put fair taxes at the heart of the party’s message to the British people.
The party’s new tax plans will see tax cuts for millions of people, paid for by closing tax loopholes, making polluters pay and introducing a ‘mansion tax’ on homes worth over £2m.
Nick Clegg said:
“If you want to know how committed a government is to fairness then look at its tax system.
“Gordon Brown has created a tax regime that forces some of the lowest earners in society to pay hundreds of pounds in tax they can’t afford, while polluters and rich tax dodgers avoid paying their fair share.
“Meanwhile the Conservatives want tax cuts for millionaires, but say there might be tax rises for everyone else.
“Under our plans people won’t pay a penny on the first ten thousand pounds they earn. That would put £700 back in the pockets of the vast majority of tax payers, and take millions of people on low pay out of paying income tax altogether.
“Our plans represent the most radical, far reaching tax reform in a generation.
“They embody everything the Liberal Democrats stand for: fairness, protecting the environment, rewarding hard work.
“It is right to ask those with the broadest shoulders to bear a little more of the burden so that millions of people on normal earnings get the break they desperately need.”