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
    +7

    Comment number 134.

    @125

    May I continue with your generalisations Andy?

    How eastern Europeans get work here is because they live in squalid conditions, many are bullied and beaten and threatened by work gang members and are paid a pittance by unscrupulous British Employers.

    Yes. "British Employers" I am sure you would be the first who would veer away from accepting such working conditions

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 133.

    I wish I could say I was surprised. I honestly do.

    Nothing about this toff's coalition surprises me any more.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 132.

    107. Ellie
    I agree - government suppliers must pay a penalty when they do not deliver as promised, pay the cost of failure (and when the government needs to spend more to fix the problem etc) and be placed on the new black list in the Cabinet Office if they are a repeat offender. These contracts need to be more transparent and suppliers more accountable.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 131.

    Surely to cut the deficit and make it more manageable we need to increase revenue as well as saving. The very rich pay no tax as they use loopholes, accountants et all to avoid it. So close the loopholes or tax something they can't avoid.
    Everybody else is being squeezed to pay for the deficit, are they immune to paying for it?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 130.

    Everything on here beggars belief.
    Taxing the rich to the tune of twice the average isn't fair.
    Avoiding paying what you owe isn't fair.
    Getting others to pay for you when you can't be bothered to work, isn't fair.

    ALL Politicians are self serving, and won't do anything to upset the status quo.
    It's much easier to blame the other, than do any real 'hard work' to sort this mess out.

    Real Change!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 129.

    Of COURSE a Tory doesn't want a tax on the huge, expensive houses he and his rich friends buy all the time. Does he think we are all IDIOTS ?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 128.

    So what was that party conference about a couple of weeks or so - who were they?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 127.

    Osborne rejects mansion tax.

    No surprise there.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 126.

    George Osborne wouldn't be out of place in a Flashman novel!

    “There's a point, you know, where treachery is so complete and unashamed that it becomes statesmanship.”

    God help us all!

  • rate this
    -61

    Comment number 125.

    The biggest drain on everything is still the benefits bill. Getting lazy brits to work is the answer. How do so many Eastern Europeans get jobs here? Cos they work hard, and don't think the govt owes them an easy life. There are 1 million jobs there straight away. That would add far more to the coffers than going after the rich. The rich are an easy target for the work shy and lefties.

  • rate this
    +165

    Comment number 124.

    I am amazed that some people believe the tory mantra that the rich are the "wealth creators" who will leave the country if we tax them. Firstly, the REAL wealth creators are those who work for a living (i.e. 90% of us), Secondly, the wealthy always keep their money offshore to avoid paying taxes anyway, so if they left the country we would be free of these greedy parasites who bleed us dry.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 123.

    What a joke the Lib Dems are. Creamed at every point by the Conservatives. Indeed what is the point of the Lib Dems? They are totally ineffectual; have no policies of any note, are party to an economic policy that has reduced us to the longest recession in history. Are destroying our NHS. Lets hope they are wiped out at the next election. They are political pygmies. Clegg is a a Tory.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 122.

    Instead of mansion tax, he should force all mansion owners to let asylum seekers take refuge in their spare rooms and roast pigs on their lawns. How about taxing the banks that made fortunes putting us in this recession?

  • rate this
    -8

    Comment number 121.

    Jackruss
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Absolute joke, the lovely Labour Party squandered £billions on an illegal war, ring fenced overseas, paid UK citizens to sit at home while immigrants do the work. Gordon Brown tied the UK to A carbon reduction treaty that will close power stations early. Labour the party of idiots.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 120.

    why does discqua count the rating incorrectly.. I just voted that I agreed yet it showed as a disagree?

    anyway, what I wanted to say is, that as I listen to the BBC News
    I hear that Cameron still has not "got it"

    we want the referendum he promised and on this promise he was elected... (o.k. along with the libs)

  • Comment number 119.

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

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 118.

    Well, as it generates almost nothing in tax revenue, costs a fortune to implement and alienates core Conservative - and New Labour voters - that seems to make sense. Who comes up with these idiotic ideas? Oh yes, the Liberals.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 117.

    Now its up to the Lib Dems to put their foot down and do something about this selfish act. We voted in a coalition - not a conservative government.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 116.

    @95......... correction, the top few % pay the majority of INCOME tax, not tax in general. Fuel duty paid by the bottome 97% outweighs the income tax paid by the top few %.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 115.

    Define a "Modest home" at the lower end of Osbournes modest home scale one and a half million,we must live in a dump along with a large percentage of this country

 

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