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.


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

    Comment number 254.

    I think it'd be great for the rich if they paid their fair share of tax. They'd get a reduction from 45% to 20% or less. They already pay FAR MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE, so STOP trying to take more from them. Ever wonder how generous the benefits system could be if there were no rich people paying nearly half their income into it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.


    Bankrupt the country with millions of immigrants stretching out public services to breakling point.

    Endebt our youth. Endebt our public services. Make housing unafforable. Tax everyone to death. Allow huge corporations to pay ZERO tax.

    No more boom and bust,,, how pathetic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    Why would we expect anything else from the Tories, an undemocratic political party who only stand for about 15% of the UK's people.

    If the rich want to leave the country because they do not like a tax system - go! If they have businesses, or work, in this country, they should not avoid the income tax on their earnings though.

    Mansions can be always converted to flats for the less privileged.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Tax loopholes have been around for generations why blame the current govenrment - they are all as bad as each other. For all those preaching the politics of envy only - wealth generators create jobs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Oh people, STOP WHINING will you? We have a DEMOCRACY, YOU voted for a conservative government. They DID get the most votes in the last general election. Now stop moaning, Enfield for instance are moaning that the Tories are closing their hospital. They have a Tory MP, they voted to have their hospital closed, and now they are moaning about it. Wise up will you. You got what you asked for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    I am not sure whether the mansion tax is a good idea (ie if it would be fair and bring in money). But the Tories are clueless at explaining every decision they take. Who does their PR? If they had said 'look, it sounds good, but would not work for these reasons' they would not get quite such a torrid press. Plain dumb!

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    "Osborne 'to rule out mansion tax' "

    Well he would say that wouldn't he?

    People in £2m houses may have no cash it is said.

    I say let them use equity release as do the less well off in normal houses.

    "Red Ping or Blue Pong" politics - give me a break please - they are all useless .

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    238 laughingman

    That's not a chip on your shoulder, its a whole field of potatoes! You dont do your cause any good with that sort of whinging.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    >200. Grumpy_Haggis
    >Problem with mansion tax is it pays no regard to ability to pay and many
    >pensioners on limited incomes will be affected.

    Presumably pensioners with mansions considered them as pension investments to be cashed in by downsizing when they need the money?

    Unless they wanted to keep the mansions and be subsidised by others?

    It's pensioners without mansions who need help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    If you have an overseas bank account then your a dodger. Either bank in the UK or go. The top 1% have most their assets offshore. This includes Osborne. Most of the Tory leadership are millionaires, In this day & age its impossible to be a millionaire unless you are a banker, crook,exploiter, drug dealer or tax evader. Lets scrtutinise all these politicians & see where the money has come from.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    I think the Lib dems suggested Mansion Tax because hiding large properties was beyond the gift of the offshore bookcookers - makes perfect sense when one takes into account the fact the tory party harbours so many tax averse hypocrites.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    Ouch, did Mr Clegg feel that slap! You naughty boy, stop speaking out ot turn. Seen and not heard! What a way to run the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    I agree. I think Gordon Brown has been unfairly demonized - considering the other parties were onside throughout the New Labour years. I have a lot of time for Alastair Darling, who always speaks sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    29 years ago my partner worked as a live in nanny to a very wealthy family, heck the father had a picture shaking hand with MRS THATCHER. In a conversation that was overheard by my partner, quite clearly he said if labour get in I'll transfer all our wealth out of the country! And that's what they did.They all did.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    We need a shift away from reactionary government and work on long term solutions. Successive governments only say and do what seems right at the time, with no agenda for maintaining long term stability. We, the voters, must also take responsibility for only crying out for instant fixes (sticking plaster policies). Either we demand change or change will be forced upon us by way of collapse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    In all fairness, the mansion tax is just a bad idea. In certain areas house prices are high, London, Bath, etc. This reeks like discrimination. More over some people are happy to pay more for their housing than other people. Why should those people be penalized?

    I rather would see an extension of the council tax bands! Big mansions should be in band R, Queen's palace in band Z.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    "We don't think people who have worked hard, saved up to buy a home, should be clobbered with a mansion tax."

    Well doesn't that sum up how dramatically out of touch posh-boy Osborne is more than anything?

    Cameron & most of his posh-boys were born into the rich elite, so they have literally no idea of 'Hard Work & Saving' really means, just as Osborne has no idea of how to manage the economy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Of course he has ruled it out - aftet all, the Tories only ever want power to help feather their mates' already opulent nests...... much for Cameron's "not the nasty party anymore" rhetoric before the election..... was just so much spin - as basd as Tony Blair's.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Osbourne is an incompetent fool. He is the WORST Chancellor in my lifetime. His idiotic, greedy, short term grabbing of more and more cash from the working people is bringing our country to it's knees.

    We need to cut the pay of MP's, MEP's, Judges and Barristers. They are the people who are bleeding our country dry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    I see that George Hunt and Jeremy Osbourne have begun to butter up the "blue rinse" set of the Conservative status quo, ahead of the Tory clap fest . . .

    1: Abortion (appealing to all those self-righteous, God fearing Tory zealots)
    2: Property Tax (appealing to the 'nth of a percent of those who own whapping great big properties and a lot more we dont see . . .)
    3: TBA . . .


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