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
    +5

    Comment number 94.

    Tory govts. refuse to give into blackmail demands, (e.g. hostages in Horn of Africa), but they roll over to a blackmail threat from the rich who say they will leave the UK at the drop of a hat if their tax burden is increased. Similarly, they are keen to encourage the unemployed to travel to get new jobs, but old people living in now expensive houses must not be told to downsize (mansion tax).

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 93.

    The argument that the rich will leave the country is silly. Most make their money in this country so if they moved abroad they would still earn there money in the country. We need to make sure they are taxed on any money they make in this country, then if they do move abroad they will still be taxed

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 92.

    62 Wideboy.
    Wrong. Look at the Treasury figures for 2008 before the GLOBAL (I can shout too) hit. Why do you think Cameron was pledging to match Labour's public spending at that time? The deficit was caused by the massive amoounts required to bail out our banks. And as a result of this lot's disasterous austerity plan borrowing has actually gone up! That truly is economic mismanagement

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 91.

    The real focus should be on closing tax loopholes so that people pay what they actually owe. The tax system is already 'fair' as people put it, the rich pay a greater percent than the poor.

    The mansion tax is just a nice fluffy sounding policy to attack the 'evil' rich as people like to paint them.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 90.

    I pay my tax. I know my place. I won't complain, because it is pointless. The rich get richer and the poor poorer. It won't change until the majority of polititions are not from the privately educated elite, regardless of party. Thatcher, Blair, Brown, and now the coalition. They have all assaulted the working class and will continue too.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 89.

    Doesn't look good does it. The rich are getting richer and the rest of us our getting poorer. As an ordinary person looking on I really cannot see how George Osbourne can say we are all in it together. I should imagine that the Plebs will consider this when making their choice at the ballot box.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 88.

    Re 60. Ben 
’A "fair" tax system would see everyone paying the same as a proportion of their earnings with no exceptions.’
    **********
    It all depends on your definition of ‘fair’. I would much rather see a progressive tax system where those who get - or frequently take - the most, often due more to luck than to inspiration or hard work, put the greatest amount back into society.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 87.

    Its official the "Nasty Party" just HATE" the rest of the 95% "TAX" paying people of this country!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 86.

    Why would the thought even cross his mind ? After all that would upset his friends in high places who are the ones 'bankrolling' the party.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 85.

    54. Emily
    The attitude of many posts are the cause of our problems: the " I'm entitled to x and I think everyone else should pay for it as it's only fair" and governments buying those votes with borrowed money.
    The country will never repair itself whilst people and governments behave in this dishonest way. Simply shovelling debt on to our children is shameful.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 84.

    I see, so Osbourne thinks that us "plebs" who "need to work much harder" should shoulder the financial burden of the rich so that his millionaire banker chums can retain as much of their enormous (and usually offshore) wealth as they can. So much for "we're all in it together". Same old tories!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 83.

    @80

    Spoken like a true blue Conservative.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 82.

    Fox outlaws fox-fur tax. All chicken taxes to remain...No surprise there, then.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 81.

    Many very typical class war comments. There are some people who seem to believe there is a never ending pot of money to tax but that it is wrong to touch those who freeload on benefits.
    I find it amazing that people on benefits can afford to smoke, drink, run cars, have nice flat screen TV etc etc etc.
    Our taxes are too high. End of story.
    Stop overseas aid to India, cut benefits etc etc

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 80.

    54 Emily . Absolute garbage. Labour massively overspent even with the artificial boom caused by cheap credit and the housing boom. Strip the economy back to exclude this, and the overspend was on an epic scale. Labour just don't get it. They ALWAYS leave the economy in a shambles.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 79.

    council tax is the most unfair of all taxes, it bears no relation to ability to pay, we pay more per month for our uk house than we do per year for our spanish villa, we have all the services, good roads, very good hospitals, regular police patrols etc, why the difference?

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 78.

    The Tories will never introduce a mansion tax as this would hurt both them and their super rich paymasters. If the Condems are looking for 16 billion, they could try collecting all taxes actually owed by the richest one thousand people in the UK who are worth over 400 billion. Instead they target benefits which are a lifeline for millions of poor and unemployed people.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 77.

    Let us face the fact that this government will NEVER do anything to hurt either themselves or their buddies. They simply don't care about the 'plebs', that's the way it always has been & always will be! Don't forget that, even if this bunch get things so badly wrong that they never actually get another job, they will NEVER be personally poor, so it does not matter!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 76.

    The answer to our problems lies in reducing unemployment and boosting industrial output.
    We are in a Global Recession - but that is no excuse to waste money like we do !
    Until we stop living beyond our means - Stop borrowing to survive then we cannot make headway at all.
    We waste finance in Afghanistan - Pakistan - Iraq and yes Europe etc.
    This has to stop and a new business plan written!

  • rate this
    +142

    Comment number 75.

    I think I've just had as much of this as I can take. Revolution, anyone?

 

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