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
    +3

    Comment number 54.

    @40

    Actually the problem was due to global recession, that's why other countries are also affected. It's a big mistake and very narrow minded to say the state of our economy is just down to the previous Labour government. The Tories have only made matters considerably worse.

  • rate this
    -19

    Comment number 53.

    newsteacher
    6 Minutes ago
    So as a hard working teacher I have to pay more for my pension, yet those wealthy bankers don't have to pay more for their mansion(s).
    ________________________________

    They pay for their mansions. Your pension contributions are negligible.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 52.

    49. Nick, of course not. But Brown ran a budget deficit every single year he was either in No 10 or No 11. That, and some of his other policies (light tough regulation) have contributed to the mess we are in now.

  • rate this
    -75

    Comment number 51.

    He's right not to bring in a mansion tax. If the goverment is looking for another tax I suggest that he puts a tax of 10p on every text sent by mobile phones and a 1p tax on every email sent in the UK. The revenue raised to go to building affordable houses for UK citizens.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 50.

    'Osborne 'to rule out mansion tax'
    +++
    Well he would, wouldn't he.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 49.

    40 Norman.
    So Labour caused the economic problems across Europe and the rest of the world, did they? And how do you explain the fact that the economy was growing when this shower took control in 2010?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 48.

    You always know when any Government is in trouble-the PM will come on and claim that although the policies are perfect, but there is a failure to communicate. Also whenever a Tory Government is in trouble, it will move to its natural "centre of gravity"-the right. Finally, the spirit of Thatcher will be invoked by speaker after speaker-a golden age for cherished by this by this lot of Tories.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 47.

    Sooner or later we'll be seeing a peasent tax. That'll raise government funds...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    Why on earth do people think all rich people are bankers? Remember that many wealthy people create jobs. If they all take their businesses abroad because they don't want the tax burden of operating in the UK then frankly this country will be stuffed.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 45.

    What a massive surprise. These people have already paid in to the system more than most. As normal the few wants to drag down the educated and hardworking folk to the level of the lowest, rather than pushing for others to better themselves and improve society.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 44.

    Why are economists so emotionally unintelligent? For an economy to be optimised, social justice is essential. What motivates people to be creative and prodcutive is their belief that their country is a good place. Economics, the acculumlative behaviour of moral beings, is an anthropology. So a mechanical, emotionally unintelligent, approach to tax issues such as Osbornes will fail.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 43.

    To those that already have, even more will be given; from those who have insufficient, even more will be taken. All as a means to encourage them to work harder, of course. Does that mean the middle will require no bribe (for the rich) or penalty (for the poor) to work harder anyway.

    It all stinks.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 42.

    yep the usal labour "i want a benefits and I want some else to pay for them"

    This is the culture that has ruined this country as it takes no hard work no effort to recieve money from the government,

    Anyone who votes this down, labour voters only want taxes spent from someone elses money to their own, and when they get money they are even worse just look a tony blair

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 41.

    Talk about between a rock and a hard place, I got the choice of this Tory eegit or his more than equal over on the other side, Ballsy.

    I wish Cable was chancellor, at least I respect him.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 40.

    Sandstorm..are you forgetting that thirteen years of Labour profligacy caused this mess not two and a half years of Conservative management of it?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 39.

    So as a hard working teacher I have to pay more for my pension, yet those wealthy bankers don't have to pay more for their mansion(s).

    Remind me again - who caused this financial mess?

    Cheers George......(not)

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 38.

    I've always been a Tory supporter at heart, but I'm sick and tired of the Conservative Party finding any and every spurious reason not to use tax-raising measures which might involve those most able to pay. They continue to disappoint - as have all administrations in living memory. I can't believe the extent of the mess our finances appear to be in and politicians still expect us to vote for them?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 37.

    The Lib Dems now have a fighting chance of ending this bullying coalition by vetoing further welfare cuts. Who knows they may even gain some lost credibility.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 36.

    Too much time governing and not explaining? No political party "governs" it just imposes it's own doctrines. Tory's looking after the money men, Unions vying for Union friendly MP's so they can impose their "minority" views. If we were governed well, the likes of our transport, NHS and defence would have been near perfect decades ago. No Utopia with politicians "in charge".

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 35.

    No one bites the hand that feeds them, not even the stupid Tories

 

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