Nick Clegg calls for emergency taxes on wealthy

Nick Clegg has told the Guardian that he wants to see a time limited extra tax for the wealthiest so that it can be seen that they are shouldering their share of the burden of the country’s economic challenges. He warned that, with the “economic war” we’re facing likely to be longer term than we thought, it wouldn’t be either “socially or politically sustainable  or acceptable” if the richest weren’t asked to pay more.

He said:

If we are going to ask people for more sacrifices over a longer period of time, a longer period of belt tightening as a country, then we just have to make sure that people see it is being done as fairly and as progressively as possible.

We already know that the Liberal Democrats have already made sure that the rich pay more tax on their Capital Gains while the lowest paid pay less tax. Nick Clegg also insisted that benefits should be uprated in line with inflation last year, against the wishes of the Conservatives and of course we have seen the biggest cash rise in the State Pension ever. None of these things would have happened without us being in Government.

Nick didn’t give any specific details of how the “time limited contribution” would work. Our conference in three weeks’ time will provide the prime opportunity to unveil the proposal.

Liberal Democrat Voice co-editor Mark Pack, while welcoming the policy, expressed concerns at the clumsiness of the language Nick  used to describe it. Certainly

we need to really hard-wire fairness into what we do in the next phases of fiscal restraint

is not a phrase we want to see on too many leaflets.

While many Liberal Democrats will welcome such a bold statement from the leader, and will strongly support his proposals, they will also want to see more measures to actively relieve the pressure on the poorest, particularly those whose sickness benefits have been time limited and who are struggling as a consequence. The Conference will also be debating a wide-ranging motion on inequality which will tackle some of those issues.

Labour were typically quick to criticise Nick’s proposal – but it’s significantly more radical than anything they managed to do. A modest rise in income tax for the wealthiest a month before leaving office didn’t really cut it, especially when it’s wealth and unearned income which require greater attention from HMRC.

And, finally, it’s good to see the Guardian publish a nice picture of Nick smiling for a change. They do exist and should be used more often.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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53 Comments

  • As a supporter of Nick, I have to say this all sounds a little desperate. After all, this really isn’t going to happen with the Tories around, is it? And in any case, what are we saying should be done with this money? Unless we can get the economy growing again, this really isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference to how people view us, still less win back the millions of voters who have (unfairly) deserted us for Labour.

  • ‘Didn’t give any specific details’ eh?
    Not really a surprise since it appears to be unworkable nonsense.
    What has gone wrong with the LibDs?
    This was the party that was right on the big issues and popular locally.
    Not any more, it seems.

  • Labour were typically quick to criticise Nick’s proposal – but it’s significantly more radical than anything they managed to do. </I

    !

    Labour who increased the upper tax band to 50p, which was then reduced with the help of Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.

    Come on, I'm open to arguments that the 50p rate was a trap designed to make the Coalition look bad, and one they blundered into, but it does make them look bad and it makes Nick Clegg's claim this morning look hypocritical. It was also made to look incompetent by the apparent ignorance of your own treasury spokesperson to the proposal….

  • Charles Knight 29th Aug '12 - 9:08am

    If Clegg suggests it, we as members of the public know it’s not going to happen…

    More seriously, how gullible does he think we are? We know this is just a soundbit for conference season and then it’s bank to listening to his master’s voice.

  • Another day, another gimmick. More arbitrary thresholds for the wealthy to avoid, leading to yet more unfairness, inequality and unpredictability. Whatever happened to our commitment at the last election to a progressive and proportionate tax system?

  • I understand the principle, but why not have local income tax rather than council tax, which would mean that people who own more than one house would be paying income tax on each area that they own a house in, which would be effectively a tax on wealth, but through the income tax system with the added benefit of releasing properties back onto the market so lack of house building might not be such a concern.

  • These calls for extra taxes on the wealthy just don’t stack up when they [the wealthy], already avoid the taxes that they are due to pay under present tax law now.
    The one policy that the LibDems can be proud of, is pushing the personal tax allowances towards £10,000. A better and more popular policy for Nick to pursue would be for him to campaign against any further QE for the banks, and instead push on for a further tax allowance lift to as close to £12,000, as the math will allow.
    If you can’t take it from the wealth, at least give the poor a better shield.

  • Far more significant would be a commitment to:

    1) Close down tax havens;
    2) Abolish current tax loopholes e.g. allowing companies to indebt themselves for no good reason and then claim the interest as an expense;
    3) Impose a minimum withholding rate of tax on income of e.g. 25%, regardless of what loopholes the rich choose to exploit.

  • I will be on the Jeremy Vince Show, with Ruth Porter from the IEA, to discuss the issue. Catch us at 1205.

  • I found the suggestion that people in 2010 thought that the huge economic issues could be solved by short sharp shock a little worrying. Did he really think that? Had he not been taking on board all of Vince’s comments on the seriousness of the situation. If goes some way to explaining why the government still appears not to have a coherent growth strategy !

  • RC. So “the millions of voters who have …. deserted us for Labour” have been “unfair” to the LibDems.I think the voters see things the other way round. I remember the Conservatives adopting, en masse, an exactly similar attitude after their defeat in 1997, which amounted to “the voters got it all wrong, we are right and they have made a huge mistake”. But it was the Consertative party that eventually had to come into line with electors’ 21st-century views; it took 13 years for them to “get it”, namely the voters call the tune. As the LIbDems know only too well the Tories still failed to get an overall majority in 2010. I believe that the Conservatives,15 years later, still have not fully recovered from that arrogant attitude towards the electorate. There is a lesson to be learned here.

  • Richard Dean 29th Aug '12 - 12:00pm

    I missed the Jeremey Vince show – at that time I have to work. What happened?

    It’s certainly true that the tax system needs to be fair. But taxing the rich won’t help economically. The rich invest their riches in shares, or they park money in banks who are able to use it as reserves to support lending more than the amount parked. Therefore, takinging taxes away from the rich reduces investments in shares and reduces the amount of money that is available for banks to lend.

    Put another way, an emergency tax on the rich will take money away from the future. It’s only useful economically if the present has no other way forward.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 29th Aug '12 - 12:55pm

    Perhaps he might wish to explain how he is going to establish a basis for taxing the wealthy given that he has in effect ruled out use of income through the 50p tax rate and residential property values through the mansion tax. Given that he sees this as an emergency – perhaps he could have given a little thought as to how a mechanism could be put in place quickly. On the other hand perhaps he is not really a serious politician?

    Really if you guys want someone who comes up with frivoulous ideas and no serious thoughts as to their implementation then you really should elect Lembit as your leader – who at least has the virtue of being vaguely funny.

  • David Allen 29th Aug '12 - 1:00pm

    Labour’s attack on this, that Clegg is taking everyone for a fool having supported Osborne’s cut in the top rate, is absolutely predictable. We gave them an open goal and they didn’t miss it.

    If we had consistently painted coalition as a tug-of-war, it wouldn’t have been so bad. If we had settled on a top rate cut from 50% to 45% after hearing lots of Tories bang on about wanting a cut to 40%, it would not have been so bad. Even if we had simply had to say that the 45% rate was one of the issues on which we had lost the internal argument at the time, it wouldn’t have been so bad.

    What we can’t do is be rah-rah the coalition is perfect on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, hey-hey we need to make emergency course corrections on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

  • Mack(Not a Lib Dem) 29th Aug '12 - 1:09pm

    The Liberal Democrats are all over the place when it comes to taxing the astronomically wealthy. If Clegg and his MPs had not supported the Tories’ reduction of Labour’s 50p tax on the really rich and asked pensioners to pay for it
    I might have responded to this latest desperate, short term, announcement with a smidgeon of credibility; but as it is I will assume that, as usual, this is yet again a case of Clegg and the Lib Dems saying one thing and, when the Tories veto it , doing the complete opposite .

  • @BIGDAVE
    RC. So “the millions of voters who have …. deserted us for Labour” have been “unfair” to the LibDems.I think the voters see things the other way round.”

    It is not arrogance to say the Lib Dems have been treated unfairly. It is just plain simple truth. The voters are blaming us for the fact that there have to be cuts (not our fault) and the fact the economy isn’t growing (due to external trade collapsing – believe me, the figures PROVE this). We have also been pilloried continuously in the press from both left and right. We have been accused of “betrayal” when it would have been impossible to deliver any more of our manifesto commitments with just 57 MPs.

    That is unfair in my books.

  • @ Mark Pack

    When in government, if you call for something, to sound vaguely authentic you should have some chance of getting it implemented. Much as I would like a wealth tax, the probability of it happening under the current administration is less than zero.

  • Paul Pettinger 29th Aug '12 - 3:21pm

    I wish Clegg could have picked a different issue to pick on to try and save his position, rather than toxify wealth taxes.

  • Bill le Breton 29th Aug '12 - 3:55pm

    Clegg unites Party! Rarely if ever can there have been such a show of unanimity here on Lib Dem Voice.

    This is such dreadful third rate leadership that it is frankly embarrassing.

    It is possible that the Guardian article turns into a suicide note.

    If not, those senior figures trying to salvage something from their leader’s latest brainstorm have gone through their extraordinary contortions for nothing.

    Lord Oakeshott valiantly trying to steer the good ship Mansion Tax into safe harbour: now actually scuppered by this premature ejaculation.

    Baroness Kramer having to admit that the Today presenters probably had more notice and more understanding of what it all meant than she did.

    Simon Hughes ushered into the WATO trenches to explain that it would be a one-off 0.5% tax on all forms of wealth.

    You can see the leaflets now: £50,000 life time pension pot of the 66 year old school cleaner – Lib Dem tax demand 2012/2013 for immediate payment of £250.

    I hope Nick Clegg found time in what I hope is a blustery day to watch Andrew Strauss’ dignified resignation of the England captaincy.

  • Steve Griffiths 29th Aug '12 - 4:24pm

    Oh it’s panic, just panic. He has seen the LDV poll on how many of the membership would like him to go before the next general election and he is now making any announcement that he thinks might save his position. Who is advising him? I am one of the 20% that has already voted with my feet and left the Lib Dems (in my case afer 40+ years). If you add our votes to your polls, Clegg’s position moves from untenable to ridiculous. You will not progress or win again without us, but there is nothing in his recent announcements that would make me rejoin and campaign again. his departure may help though…

  • @ Steve Griffiths

    Yet here you are, writing on a Lib Dem site. Tell me:

    1) Who do you think should have been leading the party if not Nick Clegg?
    2) How would that person have avoided the constant character assassination that has followed Nick Clegg in the press ever since the first leaders’ debate in 2010 and has led to his reputation being trashed in the popular imagination?
    3) How could the party actually have negotiated a better Coalition agreement than it did, given that we have less than a fifth of the MPs of the Tories and couldn’t form an alternative government with Labour?

  • David Allen 29th Aug '12 - 6:33pm

    “How would (someone else) have avoided the constant character assassination that has followed Nick Clegg in the press … and has led to his reputation being trashed in the popular imagination?”

    All prominent politicians suffer what you call “character assassination”. The press are not blameless, but, what they largely do is simply to report the storm of indignation that erupts when a politician has made a mistake. Since all prominent politicians face lots of awkward decisions, and inevitably get some of them wrong, just about all of them finish up with their characters “assassinated”.

    A relatively competent politician – and objectively, the pick of the bunch recently have been Blair and Cameron – takes a while to reach that unhappy state. If one were to treat governance as a game, and rate Blair the way people will now rate Andrew Strauss, we might agree that Blair scores moderately well. If on the other hand we cannot forgive a mistake like Iraq which led to a huge number of deaths – and must therefore be treated rather differently from Strauss’s occasional bad day with the bat – then we have to score Blair as a failure. In truth, that’s what “character assassination” amounts to.

    So yes, it wouldn’t have all been plain sailing for any other leader. However, to bleat that the Press has it in for us is just not true. All complaining achieves is to encourage mockers to go on mocking. Meanwhile, when a leader has lost credibility, however that came about, that leader has to go.

  • Hoping one of the erudite commenters would know the answer to this; Can any party introduce a Finance Bill? If Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems really want a one-off tax on high-wealth individuals then Lib Dems could talk to Labour and other interested parties to set one up. Labour could then use some of it’s opposition days to ensure it’s not talked out by the Tories and the House of Lords can’t block Finance Bills.

    Is that possible?

  • RC. Life and politics are unfair. However you choose to label ex- or non-LibDems voters is up to you, it makes no difference either way – it might make you feel better. The electors who are determined not to vote LibDem will not vote LibDem, regardless of how you choose to describe their actions.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 29th Aug '12 - 10:57pm

    Still no answer as to how create a new tax base quickly in an emergency – unless the basic practicality of how this can be done is addressed I’m afraid this just pure gesture politics even before Clegg addresses the not small problem of getting the Tories to share his objectives. No wonder he has deputed Simon Hughes to face the press on this one.

  • I can see all kinds of problems in proposals to tax wealth. Is the total value of a business to be taxed even if it has little or negative cashflow? Are defined benefit pension benefits to be subject to the the tax (a senior civil servant might receive a high pension income but not have any “fund”? How do you go around assessing the value of yachts, planes, racehorses, Rolexes, jewellery and paintings? How do you tax cash or gold bars stashed under mattresses and in deposit boxes? This would be a bonanza for those who help the wealthy to reduce their tax bills.

  • Dont come here often since I left the party but was aghast with the hypocracy of Clegg enthusiastically cutting the top rate ofincome tax to 45P . Raising no objection to an experiment that Young people should work full time for their benafits (an effective tax on the poor of 100%) ., and then buncing up the next day with a sudden belief in ‘fair taxes’ . Quite glad however I popped my head up here as nearly all of the other posters feel the same. This is a clumsy political manouver and somthing that a orange book neo con like Clegg will only propose for reasons of political not reasons of conviction.

  • Tim Leunig – Jeremy Vince show? Was this the Jeremy Hunt and Vince Cable show?

  • Sorry to all those who left negative comments, but I had someone come forward to join the party today, directly thanks to Nick’s interview.

  • Richard Harris 30th Aug '12 - 8:25am

    Stuart, when you discussed Nick Clegg’s speech with your new recruit was he aware that there was zero chance of a wealth tax? And did you point out that Clegg could have scuppered the tax cuts for the wealthy that were handed out a few months ago, but decided against it. If your new recruit joined with the expectation that the LD are a party of redistribution of wealth (in practice or indeed principle) then I suspect his membership will be short lived (speaking as someone who voted LD at the last election because I had the impression the LD were a party of principle, redistribution and fairness – won’t be making that mistake again).

  • We can absolutely criticise it for being very vague and perhaps a touch cynical so close to conference. But lets wait and see what the proposal actually is (we’ll find out at conference, presumably) before we assume it a) won’t work, b) won’t get past the Tories. Of course, we need to know the details, but on a) wealth taxes can and do work across Europe (in fact they’re generally more efficient than income taxes). And on b) here’s Tim Montgomery (who runs ConHome, the top tory blog) saying he supports it:
    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2012/08/tories-should-support-more-property-taxes-if-proceeds-are-used-to-cut-other-more-harmful-taxes.html

  • @Richard Harris et al

    I’m a little baffled by all the negativity on this. The idea that Lib Dems can’t develop any policies unless the Tories give the go ahead seems rather ridiculous. After listening to a range of news items on this, BBC News at 10 rounded up the story as a push for the Mansion Tax (current policy), a Tycoon Tax (very woolly I admit, but has been talk up by Clegg for around a year at least) and Land Value Tax (been around Liberal thinking since 19th Century). So hardly shock horror news.
    The Clegg Guardian article also talked about continued work on closing tax loopholes and pushing for a new national investment bank if the banks don’t get their act together and start lending. Sounds good to me.
    Clegg and Co couldn’t save the 50% tax rate last budget but that doesn’t mean redistribution policies can’t be explored and pursued either in the short term (pushing Tories come next budget) or longer-term (2015 election and beyond).

  • Bill le Breton 30th Aug '12 - 9:28am

    David, here’s a reason why it deserves the reaction it has evoked. It is politics by proclamation not by campaigning.

    What annoys me most about Nick Clegg and his coterie is that fundamentally they are old style politicians. The more they protest otherwise, the more their actions betray them.

    Yesterday, through the pages of the Guardian, our leader issued an edict – without warning, without involving the Party, without even warning his Parliamentary colleagues and of course without involving the great British public. Oh and without details with which we could counter the inevitable attack.

    There was then a great scurrying round by the great and the good trying to justify the merit of the initiative.

    That simply is not a Liberal Democrat approach as practiced by our campaigners up and down the country for forty years.

    I’d like to suggest that Lib Dem politics is a process along these lines: First inform. Give facts, explain problems and ask for views on the problems. Second communicate the results of these consultations and suggest a range of possible solutions. Keep the information and involvement process going and above all LISTEN.

    Campaign at the grassroots and in the institutions where decisions can be made. Carry people with us. Collect a monster petition. Create a movement for change.

    We had all summer to do this – as I begged then. It really is the basics.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Aug '12 - 9:29am

    Bill le Breton

    Clegg unites Party! Rarely if ever can there have been such a show of unanimity here on Lib Dem Voice.

    Well then, I shall break it.

    I’ve been extremely critical of Nick Clegg, but he is spot on here, It clearly establishes that we are not just “me toos” to the Tories, we have a distinctive way of looking at things which doesn’t swallow the Tory propaganda line that have been used against what Nick said (see he’s made me so pleased I’m using his first name, not like me usually). “Politics of envy” (Bernard Jenkins). Oh what rot. It’s the politics of paying our way, and follows what would be the Tory line of they really believed what they say about reward – if wealth is taxed rather than income it rewards those who work hard. Calling on people to do what they can to help rebuild our nation is hardly “envy” – we’re not asking people to go out and risk their lives as we have in the past at wartime. We’re just asking for a contribution from those who can best make it.

    Sure, the reality is that this is stating an opinion rather than pushing something that has much chance of being implemented. Once it’s suggested the details of how it can be done can be argued about. But it’s been done elsewhere, so it’s not impossible. It’s in the long-term tradition of the Liberal Party in calling for taxes on land value rather than income, and in opposing the aristocratic view of society, which remains at the core of Conservatism. This idea that all wealth is a just reward for enterprise is obvious propaganda and they know it. Our political ancestors would know how to handle it, they were not afraid to attack the wealthy of their time – some of what Lloyd George routine lines on the aristocracy would be considered outrageous now even if they came from the far left of the Labour Party.

    Talking about the Labour Party, as David Allen puts it, how predictable was their reaction, and how very, very sad. If they truly cared for our country, when Clegg made an effort to push the government leftwards they’d be cheering him on. Instead, they join in with the political right-wing in rubbishing him. In doing this they show they don’t really care for the welfare of the people, they don’t really care for pushing our country away from the disastrous growth in division between rich and poor. They care only for one thing – power for themselves. They’re happy to see Clegg and the LibDems destroyed, and they’ll ally with the political right to do this, as they have here quashing discussion of the sort of policies that can pull this country back from the social division we have had since 1979 and the economic misery it has got us into. Well, let us push back – Labour by failing to give their backing to this have shown they don’t have any answers to the country’s economic problems, since all that is left is carrying on with the Tory policy of cuts, cuts, cuts. After Labour’s reaction here they should just shut up about cuts in services, tuition fees etc, because they have made quite clear when it comes to it they aren’t prepared to do what is required to raise money to pay for it.

    So sure, Labour’s pooh-poohing of this leaves Clegg looking isolated and he’ll be written off as a failure for putting this idea forward and it getting nowhere. However, it makes it all the harder for them to introduce anything like this. And obviously it means the Tories win with their extreme right-wing economic policies in this government and our country gets pushed ever further in that direction. If the LibDems go, most of the seats they’ve won will go back to the Tories, and we’ll have a Tory majority government if not in 2015 then after that, given that having painted themselves into a corner by allying with the economic right-wing, if 2015 gives us a majority Labour government, it’ll be a failure.

    Consider how very different it would be had Labour come out cheering for Clegg on this issue. The Conservatives would have been isolated, they would be the ones pushed into a corner. Clegg would have the backing needed to push for this sort of policy effectively in government. The propaganda merchants of the right-wing press would have found it much more difficult to rubbish Clegg on these policies, a decent national discussion on them might have been started, and it might have been the start to turning the corner economically and doing what is necessary to end the growth in wealth division in this country. Sure, the LibDem poll support might have picked up as we would start winning back some of those “you’ve abandoned your principles and become Tories” ex-supporters. So Labour might lose some votes, oh dear. They’d actually mainly be votes in Tory-LibDem constituencies. Oh dear? Well, there you go, if Labour don’t like that idea it proves my point – they are the real long-term backers of Conservative Pary hegemony in this country.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Aug '12 - 9:37am

    Bill le Breton

    David, here’s a reason why it deserves the reaction it has evoked. It is politics by proclamation not by campaigning.

    I think that’s unfair. Clegg here was just making a suggestion, not proposing policy details. It’s a suggestion on the lines I know I have been pushing, well actually ever since I’ve been involved in politics, but particularly as the alternative now to the “only way to get out of the mess is cuts” ideology we have now. Not just me, but many others on the left of the party. So it really does seem to me to be silly that when Clegg shows signs of listening and responding positively, instead of being thankful, we rubbish him for it.

    Sure, I don’t like the way Clegg leads the party, this isn’t the best way to do it. But I think he’s started the ball rolling, and it ISN’T out of line with long-term discussions within our party. So let’s give him the backing here which is needed. He really has been courageous in this case, and if he’s kicked down even by us, we’ll never get a chance of seeing this sort of thing proposed again.

  • Also, I agree on the terrible wording. One of my bugbears is him using the word “fairness” as if its a sort of independent stackable object that could be counted or weighed in kilograms. There’s nothing stopping him from saying “we need to make sure Government policy is as fair as possible , especially in this period of fiscal restraint” instead of “hard wiring fairness” which makes it sound as if fairness is a computer component or something.

  • Bill le Breton 30th Aug '12 - 9:43am

    Matthew, has the way he has gone about this increased or dimished the chances of gaining ground for wealth taxes – in particular for a Mansion Tax, that was close to adoption?

    Has he rallied the Party this summer to campaign on an attractive issue that might have increased our standing in our communities and begun to restore trust?

    If this was a local Focus editor going off on ‘his or her own’, that would be just about tolerable, but this is the leader of a Party and his team of advisers.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Aug '12 - 9:50am

    John Fraser

    Dont come here often since I left the party but was aghast with the hypocracy of Clegg enthusiastically cutting the top rate ofincome tax to 45P

    I don’t remember it being done “enthusiastically”. Rather I recall it being done very much on the lines “Not what we would do, but it’s the compromise we have managed to get” – the Tories wanted it down to 40p. Clegg also raised the idea that support for it was balanced by reforms elsewhere, and ought to be balanced by some more effective way of getting the wealthy to pay a fair share. It seems to me to be extremely unfair to criticise Clegg when he seems to be supporting the economic right, but to join in the economic right’s kicking of him when he goes against them.

    I was disgusted at the rubbishing of the egalitarian Budget measures that were slipped in on LibDem pressure to balance the 5p cut in top rate income tax. I mean in particular the cut in tax relief on charity donations. Even if these donations were all to very worthy charities, I don’t see why in particular money should be taken from the democratically agreed budget and given to whatever charities rich people favour. However, despite the propaganda sob stories the right-wing dreamt up, charity tax relief is a well-known way of avoiding paying tax – just get whatever whim you wold like to spend your money on labelled as a “charity” and there you go, these aren’t all donations to the sort of charities who have shops in the High Streets however much it serves propaganda to pretend they are.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Aug '12 - 9:55am

    Bill le Breton

    Matthew, has the way he has gone about this increased or dimished the chances of gaining ground for wealth taxes – in particular for a Mansion Tax, that was close to adoption?

    What has diminished it is the rubbishing he has had from the Labour Party, and I am very sorry to see, here. This country NEEDS a serious discussion on taxation of wealth, and I am DISGUSTED that when Clegg tries to start one, this is the reaction he gets.

    Sorry, I really do feel that strongly about it.

    Sure, if this was a policy direction that had no great backing in the party, or Clegg had come out with huge details that had not been discussed, I’d have agreed with you. In this case, however, it does seem to me he is just raising it as possibility, I was very glad to see him doing so, and I certainly do not think it was inappropriate.

  • Bill LeBreton always hits the mark. However it seems to me that he is addressing process. The process was inept but the substance stikes a chord. The protracted period of austerity, even if/when they shift to plan B will continue to impact on the poor and disadvantaged. Nick’s line is certainly preferable to his sermons to the 2.5 million unemployed that work is good for you.

  • Bill le Breton 30th Aug '12 - 10:33am

    By all accounts we were a hair’s breath from getting the MT at the BUdget. All that progress may now have been lost as political views become entrenched and brought into the man/mouse campaign of the right.

    This important issue of wealth taxes needed a careful communications and campaign plan with involvement and engagement at its core (and also the Party needed a good summer campaign to boot). It needed to cover LVT and wealth taxes generally in a controlled and considered way with the ‘call’ coming from the country because people were articulating to us and to the Establishment that ‘we were not all in it together’.

    The aim should have been a general awareness raising of the need for wealth taxes and specifically a commitment from the Quad for a Mansion Tax publically heralded in the Autumn Statement.and a bi-party agreement to examin wealth taxes.

    But there was no such calculated build up and only what *appeared* to be a selfish and convenient kite flying exercise for personal ends. That isn’t leadership.

  • Bill Le Breton

    Thanks for your reply. I understand your points but overall I agree with Matthew’s assessment.
    Just a quick response as a new thread on this issue has opened up.
    I’m just not convinced that Clegg’s statements will make Mansion tax any more or less likely. Yesterday Osbourne set his stall out against increasing wealth taxes, the day before every paper had Osborne as a massive liability to the coalition. In this context being rubbished by Osborne is hardly a disaster. If Clegg is seen as actively distant from the Tories on this issue that sets up the Lib Dems as the coalition partner clearly fighting for a shift from taxing income to wealth.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 30th Aug '12 - 1:55pm

    @Matthew Huntbach

    “This country NEEDS a serious discussion on taxation of wealth”

    I couldn’t agree more – but Clegg says he wants to introduce such a tax as an “emergency” measure – when as for reasons many have mentioned it just cannot be done. And I’m afraid that this is not the first time that Clegg pursuing his aspirations in a witless manner will put back what is otherwise a good cause for many years – electoral and Lords reform are just the two most prominent examples. One day LibDems will eventually realise that their current leadership are damaging rather than enhancing what are decent causes – and that if they really want to change politics and this country they really need to start operating in a different way and abandon the gesture politics.

  • @Bill le Breton:

    “I hope Nick Clegg found time in what I hope is a blustery day to watch Andrew Strauss’ dignified resignation of the England captaincy.”

    But isn’t Strauss just about to come out as a Tory? 😉

  • Bill le Breton 31st Aug '12 - 7:02am

    Tony, did Ronnie book us for the end of the (Southport) pier show?

  • Simon Hebditch 1st Sep '12 - 11:29am

    What worries me is Nick’s jerk reaction to the potential for wealth taxes and a re-ordering of the financial architecture of the country. Of course, we need to put forward a coherent, fully costed economic and fiscal programme which challenges the fundamental approach of Osborne and Cameron. However, the current economic strategy (wrong) is the centrepiece of the coalition government. So, we need to acknowledge that current policies are up the spout (and always have been), leave the coalition and develop a centre left economic and financial alternative. When will this happen two days before the election? The public has the right to know the party’s policies and programmes well in advance – so get out and get on with it.

  • Helen Dudden 1st Sep '12 - 11:22pm

    We have a situation of the country simply not doing enough to get out of the problems with the economy. Green Issues and insulation, should be going into as many homes as possible, House building, getting people back to work, and trying to reduce things like Housing Benefit, We need to see the end of a situation where work is not simply a choice , and making sure that the not working , are given the chance to give it a try. The future may need to change, with the high cost of energy, and it’s production. I do not think that a one off tax could help, it could drive those people away. We need investment, rather than a one off tax.

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