News snippets from the Conservative conference: tax, Europe, migration and more

Conservative Party logoTrouble ahead on tax as Osborne opposes a mansion tax:

We are not going to have a mansion tax, or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties.

Before you rush to spot the loophole in that – what about adding extra higher bands to Council Tax? – he opposed that too. Given Osborne made much of his reputation as was by opposing changes to inheritance tax, perhaps it is on capital gains tax that there will be room fro an agreement with the Liberal Democrats. We’ve often called for taxes on income and wealth to be more equal, instead of advantaging wealth over income. The post-2010 election budget saw a big move in that direction with capital gains tax going up. Perhaps another move towards equalisation is on the cards?

Whether it’s capital gains tax or not, David Cameron has told the BBC:

[We will] take further action to ensure rich people pay their fair share.

Meanwhile, Cameron has said Council Tax in England will be frozen for a third year and rail fare increases capped:

The fares rise cap — set by the PM today at one per cent on top of inflation — will be a massive relief to angry train users braced for punishing ticket price leaps of 11 per cent this autumn.

At a cost of £300million, it will last until the end of 2014 and save commuters with an average annual season ticket up to £45 a year, Mr Cameron said.

The council tax freeze — now for the third year in a row — will save the average family up to £72 next year.

On Europe, Cameron is making hostile noises to a further increase in the European Union’s budget:

The Prime Minister also vows today to use Britain’s veto, if necessary, to block “outrageous” attempts to increase the European Union’s overall budget in upcoming negotiations to set total spending for the years 2014 to 2020

This is an issue that has caused some controversy in the Liberal Democrats when opposition to increases in the budget have been previously floated. Or rather floated and then sunk by opposition within the party, especially from Lib Dem MEPs. Changing economic circumstances may make the debate more even-handed this time round.

And finally Theresa May who sounded like she’d made an announcement, until David Cameron rowed back on it.

Here’s May [£]:

Visa controls to prevent an influx of immigrants from some European Union countries are being considered by the Tories in a move that challenges one of the fundamental tenets of the EU. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Theresa May, the home secretary, says the EU’s freedom of movement directive, which guarantees the right of its 500m citizens to travel freely within the EU, should be reviewed.

But then Cameron was interviewed:

Finally, a reminder of one of the differences the Liberal Democrats are making:

David Cameron has been given a clear demand from the Conservative Party’s grass roots to drop his controversial plans to legalise same-sex marriage in an eve-of-conference poll.

If it weren’t for coalition, these calls would have already sunk the proposals – and there’s no sign of such calls succeeding this autumn either.

 

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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13 Comments

  • Philip Rolle 7th Oct '12 - 10:56am

    Capital gains tax is already too high. A rate of 28% is only justifiable if indexation allowance is restored to avoid inflationary gains being charged.

  • Capital gains tax should be at least equivalent to taxes on employment earnings.

  • Leekliberal 7th Oct '12 - 6:03pm

    CP says ‘ Capital gains tax should be at least equivalent to taxes on employment earnings’. Hear hear! What we are about is stopping the wealthy from avoiding their fair share of tax – Let’s get to it!

  • Agree CPT should be near-equivalent to taxes on employment earnings. And I think that also suggests the upper limit on employment earnings should, in the near future, come down quite significantly.

  • No Mansion Tax. More cuts in Welfare. How much more evidence do you need that the Tories are protecting their own interests – essentially big business, the wealthy and multiple property owners. Mind you, even some of these interests have criticised the incompetence, inefficiency and unfairness of certain policies……

  • Helen Dudden 7th Oct '12 - 8:46pm

    All salaries should be cut and that includes are very wealthy MP’s and Ministers, also there are some who take cold weather payments, and they are not needed. If this is to be fair it has to be across the board, starting now, how about some of our very wealthy Government Ministers showing us how it is done.

  • Mark, I am so depressed as I am watching news review and I understans the LD’s are eager tlo join with the Tories to hammer the poor yet agin. Please tellme this is not true. Pat

  • How does this work then?

    The LD conference has rhetoric about mansion and wealth taxes with no more cuts being approved until these are put in place.

    A couple of weeks later the LD in-house paper (or Guardian to the rest of us) has news that the next round of cuts will have no marked contribution from the rich but come from welfare cuts. But don’t fear the next contribution will come from the risk……promise!

    Were your leaders fibbing?

  • I hate autocorrect!!!! Meant ‘rich’ rather than ‘risk’

  • Martin Pierce 8th Oct '12 - 7:56am

    Sorry, but in what sense is there ‘trouble ahead on tax’? Lib Dems suggest something, Tories say no, and that’s the end of it. Coalition business as usual. Also lets not get too pleased with ourselves about same sex marriage. As HofL reform showed, all it would take is for Cameron to wake up tomorrow and do a u-turn on it and we’d be completely powerless to progress it.

  • Dennis Brown 8th Oct '12 - 9:22am

    A bit of a “PS” to this posting:-

    Has anyone else seen the similarity between the Tory logo and that of the magazine “Who do you think you are” – and do the think it is significant?

  • Paul in Twickenham 8th Oct '12 - 10:31am

    Headline right now in The Guardian : “Tories claim Lib Dems have agreed to plan provided that rich are targeted next.”

    Surely this`cannot be right? Are we really agreeing to see benefits cuts today with some vague commitment to taxes on the wealthy later?

  • I’m a Conservative voter, but support a Land Value Tax. I can tell you, that the LibDems are LTV’s worst enemy. It is not a tax on wealth, and it is not designed to punish the rich. It’s not technically speaking a tax on property.
    In fact, if you’re wealthy, there’s a fair chance you will be much better off under a LVT.

    So why are LibDems so anxious to hand Tories a big baseball bat, with which to smash they idea of “property taxes” into touch?

    I think you all need to familiarise yourselves with the facts. I’ve noticed ALTER doesn’t even know what it’s talking about. This is very damaging.

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