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
    +15

    Comment number 34.

    That's a surprise. In other news, turkeys announce that they have no plans to introduce the Thanksgiving holiday to Britain

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 33.

    He hasn't got a clue has he,but then he's not qualified for the job, as an ex "towel folder" for M & S what could we possibly expect,an intimate knowledge of economics might be useful as chancellor but no,we get an unqualified rich boy with a 2nd class degree in History,bereft of ideas and apparently only doing the job part time alongside his Tory party strategist job.
    You couldn't make it up!

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 32.

    There's a surprise. After the next election Mr Osbourne will be branded the worst chancellor in living memory, he needs good friends in high places to ensure he rides his own personal gravy train, whatever the consequences of the mess he's created for the rest of us.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 30.

    @18

    This is why Britain is in the state its in. Here you are, self confessed middle class letting the rich off the hook for tax avoidance whilst castigating the poorest. You need to realise that no matter how you strive you are never going to be allowed in to the club of the rich and have much more in common with the people you seem to despise than you'd like to think.

  • rate this
    +85

    Comment number 29.

    Typical tory look after the rich. where is this "we are all in this together" the poor get all the cuts while the parasites get richer. its about time they hammerd the rich hard and if they say they will leave the country, let them go the air will smell fresher.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 28.

    The Tories are not even trying to hide the fact that they are only interested in helping the rich. To suggest that this is their core voter demographic may have an element of truth but what got them elected was the promises to the majority of the elctorate who are on low to middle incomes, they might want to remember that. Although the state Labour are in the Tories can pretty much do as they like

  • rate this
    +55

    Comment number 27.

    Well middle to lower get ready to be taxed even more.

  • rate this
    +161

    Comment number 26.

    Conservatives Manifesto

    1) Get into power by making promises
    2) Break promises
    3) Look after rich friends especially those who financially support the party
    4) Come election time go to 1 and repeat

    But..are the British public wising up?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 25.

    Even Ed Miliband would not mind paying few more quids to his council on his mansion! I would certainly not! I wish I had a mansion of 2million plus.

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 24.

    So you pay 40 tax on earnings,
    then pay a 7 % tax buying a house over 2million (100k in tax)

    then the libs dems want another tax every year

    Im no millionaire just an average person in an average salary/house aznd i think this would be unfair tax, they are already paying more tax buying a house than some people pay in lifetime

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 23.

    Coalition!

    A Pact or treaty between individuals or groups during which they cooperate in JOINT ACTION!

    Seems to be working ok!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 22.

    Well you wouldn't expect turkeys to vote for Christmas would you?

  • rate this
    -35

    Comment number 21.

    If there was any evidence that governments spend taxes wisely in the common interest, then the rich should pay more tax. But, the sad fact is that governments waste money, and usually choose to spend it on things that they think make them look more electable - like wars that are nothing to do with us, for example. I'd rather the rich kept their money. Some of them will use it to create jobs!

  • rate this
    +115

    Comment number 20.

    Whoever thought for one minute that Osborne would even consider imposing this tax is crazy. People in big houses are Tory voters, bankers and the like. They only got the country in the economic mess it is in, it is these terrible people with no jobs or are disabled on all these benefits that must be punished. Increase taxes. Reduce benefits. That's the Tory way.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 19.

    Couldn't care less what he ISN'T going to do. Am much more interested in what he IS going to do to stimulate the economy. More taxes for the poor or the rich just slow things down. Lets see something that creates jobs and gets businesses building and hiring.
    Taxes, more banking regulations and whatever other negative measures are pure politics and are more about the next election than growth.

  • rate this
    -25

    Comment number 18.

    The properly rich will always find a way to reduce tax bills. As a middle income family our income has reduced due to increased taxes as we now pay 40% tax. Yet those on benefits got a massive pay rise for sitting at home.
    Reform the tax system to stop avoidance and deal with evasion. Make it fair by removing more WORKERS at the bottom but make benefits subsistence only to cut the budget.

  • rate this
    +67

    Comment number 17.

    Tax was invented by the wealthy land owners so they could pay for their pleasures by screwing the poor ordinary folk - what has changed?

  • rate this
    +96

    Comment number 16.

    It doesnt suprise me as they are looking after their own pockets, they reduced income for high earners, made it easier for employers to sack their employees, destroyed the Health and Safety work act, made it hard for employees appeal againts employers, and the silly excuses why they are dropping it. When r we going to wake up and realize that these theives are here just to benefit themselves.

  • rate this
    +54

    Comment number 15.

    Stuff the mansion tax, Mr Clegg, you are getting nothing. We'll take some more money off the poor.

 

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