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
    +12

    Comment number 114.

    I love the shadowy, shifty picture of Osborne. It sums up his character very well

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 113.

    What we really need is an inheritance tax, why should someone inherit half of Shropshire just because one of his ancestors stole it from our ancestors at the point of a sword?

  • rate this
    -29

    Comment number 112.

    Anyone advocating the rich to leave is clinically stupid no wonder you vote labour

    What do you think if the rich leave, we wont have their tax income, to pay for the public sector so there will be more cuts.not every one used the K2 scheme, maybe you want Alan Sugar to leave?

    We want everyone to be rich, labour want everyone to be poor

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 111.

    We are talking about fairness are we not? Osbourne states that anyone who has worked hard and saved to buy a house shouldn't be clobbered. He is right. Most people shouldn't. Our house is worth £400,000. We work up to 80 hours a week as teachers, but it is just a 4-bedroomed semi.
    Mansions are much bigger and are worth millions. To be FAIR such owners should play their part in helping the nation.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 110.

    No, no, no. We don't need another window tax! What we need is the Workhouse, I say. Yes, a Workhouse in every parish. And bring back enclosures! The rich need to take back what's theirs from every peasant family, that'll get the country moving again.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 109.

    I understand for many a mansion tax would be justifyable. However, I've worked 60hr weeks for 12 years running a small business (& employing people) and am finally able to get a decent house, despite paying up to 50% tax on top of all the other taxes. Here is the question - would I have bothered if there was yet another tax waiting for me? It's as if 'you've done so well we'll take some more'!

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 108.

    I am amazed that the 'highest rated' comments are all in favour of the so called mansion tax. This is the most stupid idea for a tax I have ever heard. It would be almost impossible to implement as everyone affected would appeal against their house valuation, and it would clobber many people who had lived in their house for many years but had very little income.

  • rate this
    +21

    Comment number 107.

    From the 1st Oct benefit claimants will be fined £50 for mistakes on their form which result in an over pyt of £65 or more. But no sanction for the DWP for their mistakes.

    And certainly no sanctions for Atos where tribunals are overturning 40% of their decisions. This has cost over £50 million so far.

    Mansion tax is unfair says GO - Join the club, we are all in this together!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 106.

    When Parliament returns I see a major backlash with the coalition with a backbenchers' revolt and LibDems failing to support/vote for initiatives, there will be an election in May. Many of these 'new' measures coming out are too late - they should have been in place in 2010 when they came into 'power' - now they have upset the voters too much to recover.I suspect we will see a haggard PM today.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 105.

    >Sandstorm
    >37 Minutes ago

    >There's a surprise. After the next election Mr Osbourne will be branded >the worst chancellor in living memory,

    Gordon Brown gets that title in spades.

    He sold our gold on the cheap, wrecked the UK pension system, collected more tax than any Chancellor in history and still managed the biggest structural deficit in history. Balls and Milliband were his aids.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 104.

    I'm outraged and dismayed by the attitudes on this blog and I'm going to get angry! I worked hard at school, true it was Private, but my dad worked hard for his money, true, the tax incentives were good but he knew his way around the tax system. After school I 'went up' and true StJohn's dad gave me a job in the city but I have had real experience before trying to run this portfolio. Gideon

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 103.

    It is an eye opener that the highest rated comments are from those who think the wealthy should be taxed more heavily and more money should go to the hard up poor on benefits.
    Those who state that Labour ruined the economy, tax should be fair with same % for all or reduce tax get a negative rate. Strange that.
    Who do people think create wealth. Those on benefits or those who work?????????????????

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 102.

    Tax dead people, lets have 100% inheritance tax, then people cannot say they cannot afford it as they are dead and we can stop this entitlement people feel, lets level the playing field and see people actually work for their money, this would also pay back to society the money robbed by many by stepping over the ordinary worker.

  • Comment number 101.

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

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 100.

    Of course Osbourne won't inroduce mansion tax. Would be mostly conservative voters who live in them.

    By the way, totally agree it is labour that got us in this mess but the way the tories are penalising the working and middle classes is the wrong way to get us out of it.

  • rate this
    +51

    Comment number 99.

    Once and for all get this straight. Labour was not responsible for the world recession. In fact conservatives two years before the bust were calling for higher spending and that is on record. Just quit playing the blame game it does not help
    With regards to not raising taxes for the wealthy I am looking more at the wealthy who evade/avoid paying taxes collect that first and then see what's left

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 98.

    @ 74 Schism
    Let them, there money will be deposited in an offshore bank with no tax being paid so where is the loss?

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 97.

    @74 so the rich will leave if asked to pay more. I remember in the '80s we were (quite rightly) told we can't let the unions hold the country to ransom and dictate economic policy.

    But for some reason we can let the self interested hold all the rest of us to ransom by threats to leave? And of course no one would have the talent to replace them?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 96.

    There is already a tax that penalises people who have save up to buy a home...stamp duty...having to save an extra £10k to buy our new house having already saved our deposit seems a pointless loop, we could use it as equity, reduce bank lendings, spend more in the shops/on fuel/holidays and get the economy going...stop penalising the hard working middle income family Mr Osborne...again!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 95.

    At last something sensible after months of dithering/pandering to their hard left coalition partners. Clearly most commenters here have strayed from the Guardian. They should remember that the top few percent pay the bulk of all tax, surely more than their 'fair' share. I paid stamp duty on my house in London and not having a public sector pension hope to live off its rental income in future.

 

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