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 314.

    254 lizmcp
    “They already pay FAR MORE THAN THEIR FAIR SHARE,”
    They only pay far more than their fair share because they are paid far far more than their fair share in the first place. If they were paid a wage more in keeping with reality, their overall tax contribution would be less and the need to tax this group would be less.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    I employ people on my estate!
    Why should I also pay into the coffers for the lazy ingrates who can't be bothered to get off their backsides and find a job?

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    Standard mid term move to the right - totally expected. If anybody is reading this who voted for them and didn't want this - wake up and smell the coffee!
    Still, would you vote for Ed? Looking like Lib Lab but without Clegg in 2015, it will be interesting to see who is further right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    Are you listening Mr Clegg? There will be no mansion tax or any other tax on the wealthy, and there will be more welfare cuts. When will the Liberals stop propping up this Tory Government?

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    Here we go again -

    " If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

    Let us remember how we got into this economic mess

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    287 r00t
    Have you thought that by putting 100% CTG on second houses you are also charging families who are split by the fact that one works somewhere completely different? ie Dad works in Reading and Mun and kids are in Manchester (where she works)?

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    So, we tax everyone to high heaven, those with money are left with none, then who's going to spend to get our economy going?
    Maybe, for all you moaning about tax avoidance, YOU'D like to give 50% of your earnings to welfare scroungers, pointless civil servants and equality and diversity quangos? A fair tax rate will mean most will pay up (yes, a flat rate).

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    And there's me thinking it would at least of got him enough to pay off the railway mess, but of course I forgot it would affect him. Get rid of this selfish twit

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    If Mr Osborne & his cohorts have to spend so much time explaining their decisions to us then there's something wrong. We can plainly see how badly his cuts are affecting the elderly, the disabled & the ordinary working person but we're yet to see how the cuts are biting the rich. It's not about us not understanding we just don't all share the Tory ideology.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    Sleepwalking into a revolution. No matter how horrible and terrible one will be. That is what we are seeing here.

    The rich are not being penalized so that those with any sense can remove their money and transfer it into a more secure form, awat from the country when the inevitable global crisis that provokes the revolution happens. The rest of us can just lump it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    282. irk
    After 2+ years I've run out of things to say about these fools. Will gladly take my chances on a UKIP government over any of the established parties.


    UKIP do tick a lot of peoples boxes. They have my vote and I hope they break through. I think the Euro election will be the start.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    I see no mention of reducing house prices, reducing student debt, increasing jobs and reducing immigration.

    No one cares about a mansion tax other than the Liberal/Labour cronies.

    Council tax rebanding ? You'd have to be an idiot to even suggest this - council tax house prices bare NO relation to reality it would mean everyone paying double if not triple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    The Conservatives only care about the RICH. They will cut services, hike taxes on the poor while turning a blind eye to tax havens and dodgy bankers who got us into this mess.
    Osbourne has ruled out increasing taxes on the rich, the mansion tax, doing anything meaningful about bankers bonuses.
    Where are the efficiency savings in the NHS. Watch the panorama programme on I player. Silly Eton toff!

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    Andy 125
    not everyone on benefits is a scrounger my husband is nearly 64 just been made redundant what are we supposed to live on ? Before you say you should have made provision he did but his personal pension was raided year on year by Gordon Brown leaving us a pitiful amount don't tar everyone with the same brush my husband has worked since he was 16 he is devastated to be in this position

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    The whole emotive thing about taxing the rich does not take into account the fact that properties are already TAXED according to their value-RATES-and there are many people trapped in expensive properties (higher value because of the area)and cannot get out of those properties because NOTHING is selling-These supposed 'rich' people already pay taxes on their income and their spending-& pensioners?

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    What a nasty ,cruel man ,well all of the tories really rather go after sick and vunrable.
    I think the tories think UKIP will weaken labour votes and tories will weasel thier way in again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    253. JackMaxDaniels

    And the current conservative government has done any more than this ? In fact it has made the situation worse with crippling tax hikes on low and middle income families, followed by massive tax cuts for the rich ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Jolly good. The last thing we want is more tax right left and centre. We're already in danger of ending up like France.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    Oh well I guess they will have to legislate another Pleb tax swell the coffers.... so that they can keep the rich in the way that they are accustomed.......I mean it's so unfair making the rich pay their way on an equal footing with the plebs, there seems to be a tipping point where the more money you get the less you pay, and the less you have the more you pay... makes perfect sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    Luxury property prices are still in a bubble .
    bursting this bubble now would knock even more out of the construction sector and probably weaken banks .

    Controlls should have been put in seven years ago when the economy had a chance to rebalance .

    applied Now this idealistic move will deliver exactly what the two ed's want . A longer more painfull recession that would primarily hurt the south


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