Conservative conference: Cameron rules out 'mansion tax'

 

David Cameron: "We've capped welfare but we need to go further"

Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out a new tax on expensive properties but vowed "further action to ensure rich people pay their fair share".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show new measures would be unveiled before the next election.

His statement comes as Conservative activists gather in Birmingham for the party's conference.

Mr Cameron's decision could put him on a collision course with the Lib Dems, who back such a "mansion tax".

The prime minister also said the UK is considering curbing migration from some European countries and would be prepared to veto a new EU budget to prevent "massive" increases.

Asked about an annual tax on property, he told Andrew Marr: "That is not going to happen."

He said that if people worked hard and saved, invested in a property and paid down their mortgage, he didn't want the UK to "be a country that comes after you every year with a massive great tax, and so that is not going to happen."

Chancellor George Osborne also rejected Lib Dem calls for a mansion tax - and an annual levy on wealth - saying those ideas were not the right way to make sure the rich made a greater contribution.

'Not sensible'

He told Sky News: "I don't think the mansion tax is the right idea because I tell you before the election it'll be sold to you as a mansion tax then after the election a lot of the people in Britain are going to wake up and find their more modest homes have been reclassified as a mansion.

Analysis

The conference began with a blizzard of mini announcements.

Eye-catching, popular and relatively cheap ideas, on everything from council tax to rail fares to the European Union's budget.

The idea is to focus on the cost of living for ordinary people and ram home that the Conservatives get many families are struggling.

Both the prime minister and the chancellor said there will be new plans to make sure richer people "pay their fair share".

But both also said the idea of a tax on big houses - what Westminster types call a "mansion tax" - isn't a goer.

Which begs an obvious question. What is their plan for getting the better off to pay more?

The chancellor also said he wasn't keen on a "wealth tax," adding, "in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually".

So that leaves some wriggle room.

Many will now ask in which direction they intend to wriggle.

"Nor do I think it's sensible to have a wealth tax in the sense of a tax on your wealth levied annually.

"But I'm very clear that the rich will have to make a contribution to closing the budget deficit."

In addition to his stance on the mansion tax, Mr Osborne is also understood to have ruled out introducing new council tax bands on high-value homes.

In his Marr interview, Mr Cameron insisted it was "too early to say" whether the government would miss its key target for public sector debt to be falling by 2015, as some experts are predicting.

Council tax freeze

But he said the Conservatives would "level" with the public about the need for another £16bn of spending cuts in 2015-16.

"We have to find these spending reductions and if we want to avoid cuts in things like hospitals and schools - services that we all rely on - we have to look at things like the welfare budget," he said.

But he promised to stand by his promise not to cut universal benefits for pensioners - such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments.

He is also announced a council tax freeze in England for the third year in a row.

And there is to be a cap on how much regulated train fares can go up by - so ticket prices will not rise by more than 1% above the rate of retail-price inflation (RPI).

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg made it clear at his party's conference that he would only sign up to further cuts in the welfare budget if a wealth tax was imposed by the chancellor at the same time.

'We get it'

Questioned about Europe, Mr Cameron confirmed comments by the home secretary in the Sunday Times that a government review was looking at introducing possible controls to limit a new wave of economic migration.

He also suggested the EU should consider having two budgets - one for countries in the eurozone and one for those outside the single currency. Last year he vetoed a treaty to co-ordinate budget policies.

Opening the four-day conference, party chairman Grant Shapps suggested the Conservatives had been too "shy" about trumpeting what they had done to support low and middle-income earners in tough times.

The public were worried about the cost of "paying their bills and filling up their car" and the party had to make clear they were on "the side of every working family".

"People need to know 'they do get it'. But they are not mind readers. We need to go out there and tell them."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1994.

    1990 - You know these figures for sure then? I mean, you've seen the papers, the know the facts? You're not just relying on half-understood sensationalist news stories?

    As you say, there are only a few rich. There are many millions of benefits claimants

    I take stories about both benefits cheats and tax cheats with a pinch of salt. Do you tend to believe one sort of story? Any reason why?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1993.

    At least Laurel and Hardy,where funny...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1992.

    1987.thelostdot
    Agreed. There is tax avoidance the government want you to have (e.g. ISA's) and tax avoidance they don't want you to have. The problem with the 2nd category is that tax law is just too damn complex and needs simplifying. Filling in tax returns should not be a battle for tax consultant vs HMRC.

  • Comment number 1991.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1990.

    @1985.AndyC555

    But because we're talking about tens and hundreds of thousands that the 'few' rich avoid paying as opposed to mere hundreds and thousands that benefit cheats receive its the tax avoiding rich we should concentrate on.

    Don't you agree?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1989.

    Perton66- unemployment is decreasing, And high about of people on benefits have hardly anything to do with high immigrations as for most benefits you need to be working or have worked to claim them. Most immigrates work and work harder than we do. Create jobs how when we have no money to do it? Jobs are slowly being created in the private sector. Would the people you know sign up to an agency?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1988.

    1968.Tc1234
    ...You are only slightly worse off than 5 years ago...
    ---

    Oh if only that were true.

    5yrs ago I was working for a private IT company which supported various police forces up and down the UK. Then the Tory led cuts were announced and all of a sudden in 2010 the police couldn't afford our services.

    I was made redundant as a result and I'm yet to find work again.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1987.

    It is quite stunning how little our government has done to stop the tax corruption. Beaten Jimi Carr, but that's it. We have this wonderful legislation that makes it illegal to something taxes.....um?...well illegal to do something, but for some reason I suspect that I will not see massive numbers of people taken to court next April, so what has been done about tax avoidance. Wonder who'll be scap

  • Comment number 1986.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1985.

    "1980.vin
    How much revenue is lost to tax avoidance by the rich?"

    Yes, how much IS lost? Anyone know? For sure?

    Funny when the media run a few 'shock' stories about benefits cheats the left screech about not jumping to conclusions yet when the media run 'shock' stories about tax cheats the left start screeching about how it 'proves' that the rich aren't paying their share.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1984.

    Mr Right, I can see from a mile off that you are't even worth responding to, tbh, us scroungers have jobs to find, however, I will say this, you sir, are a blatant, blindly bellowing, bigot. Is it cold up there on your pedestal, mate? Well, you will always have your wads of cash to keep you warm, wont you?

    No, wait, you won't, not under Tory.

    Adam "cuts, cuts, cuts", the Tory mantra from day one

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1983.

    1967.McGill
    Don't tell me you belong the the 'we will borrow our way out of debt', club. I think you will find even the two Eds move away from that nonsense as we start to move towards electioneering time.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1982.

    AdamB..Stop feigning piety with your patronising rhetoric about cuts.
    Companies owe this country billions in unpaid taxes, and by your own Capitalist Virtues that is simply not playing cricket.You can't have it both ways.And to be frank any person or government that choses to attack the poor over this issue whilst turning a blind eye to the rich is a weak bully.

  • Comment number 1981.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1980.

    How much revenue is lost to tax avoidance by the rich?,
    this is the income stream the government should be tapping into instead of hammering the poorest.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1979.

    @1970.Mr Right
    “Blah, blah, blah, "up the workers", yadder, yadder, yadder, "come the revolution", flannel, flannel, flannel, "kick out the Tories", etc, etc, etc - change the record”


    Much better for all of us to change the government.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1978.

    A few years ago it was wealthy folks who cajoled - and swore at - us Plebs into giving what little spare cash we had towards famine relief in Africa.

    Now we Plebs are asking that a few wealthy folks should dig into their pockets and simply pay their proper tax dues.
    Where is the spirit to give some relief to OUR nation in its time of need? Why aren't the Gov. cajoling and swearing at them?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1977.

    1969. I agree.

    Yes. We are a corporatocracy. Big business runs everything.
    Some big business runs the Right. Some big business (and the unions are their own big business as well) runs the Left.

    The real issue is that the type of people who get into power anywhere are those who WANT power.

    By their nature, they are uniquely unsuited to having any but we don't have a system that stops that.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1976.

    We are none of us about "up the workers". It is about spineless Libdems, bankers losing vast amount of money, and getting it from the people, and then a government that allows that to keep happening rahter than fixing the system, encouraging industry, and putting us on the road to recovery. Industry will atrophy and die if we don't fix our corrupt finance sector, and slave labour economy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1975.

    Underclass Underdog- We need more cuts simple as the get this country out of the dept we have, for living out of our means. The help it not gone, take it from me who knows people on the so called front line. If the country goes down then there will be no help at all. and yes the government does give it out to anyone. Trouble is it is the people who need it most that get hurt.

 

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