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 1954.

    1949 AdamB

    Would you agree that after all these cuts on the welfare state, and the new Gestapo regime implemented in the name of disability denial, that this precious money of yours is no longer handed out willy nilly?
    The help's gone. What little of it there was. Take it form me, as somebody on the "front line" as the DWP like to call it.

    This is nothing more than a war on the poor

  • rate this

    Comment number 1953.

    Expecting the Libs to suddenly get a backbone and block welfare cuts is a pipe-dream, they will allow Dave to do as he wishes, unfortunately . I think I will vote green in 2015, they can't be any worse than the three clown parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1952.

    1949 - AdamB. The problem is that there are too many people on benefits, but that is down to high immigration and rising unemployment. I know people who want to work and contribute, but there are no jobs outside the M25 so punishing them further so that they really struggle to get by. What's the good in that? We need to create jobs, not destroy them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1951.

    ..Japan. Their economy is still a debt-laden mess.

    Yes & has been for a long time with near junk credit rating but (partly due to internal borrowing) their 10year yields are lower than ours
    According to Cameron it is a fundamental economic law that high debt & borrowing with a less than AAA credit rating makes bond yields unacceptably high without exception

  • rate this

    Comment number 1950.

    Cameron loves the attention he gets from punishing those that have nothing and he loves the attention he gets from his mates and their wives by giving tax's breaks to the wealthiest in our society.

    Cameron doesn't care about the poor or the working classes until election time. Cameron will be on the backbences come 2015, the sooner the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1949.

    Perton66- I never said, people should not be helped, but the poor and people on benefits cost the country too much, many of them have an income higher than many who earn the money by going out to work, and the said same people pay less tax. There is a difference between help and just handing out money. No it marks us out as an easy place to get a living without doing anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1948.

    Taking lessons on how to manage the economy from Milliband and Balls is like taking lessons in seamanship from the captain of the Costa Concordia ....with the same disasterous results

  • rate this

    Comment number 1947.

    I read this with some dispair and part of me wished that dear old Gordon Brown had won the last election - his mediciene wouldn't have worked either and neither will what Milliband and Balls were preaching last week.

    We're in a mess, theres no easy way out.

    Taxing poor people because they have a large house isn't going to help much anyway - there aren't enough of them!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1946.

    Here we go same old

    Run by millionaires
    Asking for you to vote for them based on who their father was and what school they went to...

    (oops, that was lefty Ed Millibands speech)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1945.

    A bad decision. Much more taxable revenue is required in order to reduce the public sector financial deficit. Only the wealthy have the money to achieve this. A tax on net positive assets including expensive houses is essential.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1944.

    1939 - I'm a high rate tax payer, but I don't mind as I trust that my contributions are used to help those less able to look after themselves. I know that some people abuse the system, but I also know that there are some people who genuinely need the assistance. Without this our society would be sad place in which to live. I don't like the 'dog eat dog' attitude we are seeing. We aren't animals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1943.

    Financial stability?

    You mean there was actually some money left after Thatcher had finished selling off everything that wasn't nailed down? Her son David is having a fire sale with the remainder.

    As bad as Labour have been, they are nowhere near as destructive as the Tory's, both current, and past. Although I'm willing to bet my HB they soon will be.

    The Tory's seem to relish unemployment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1942.

    So do we expect the LibDems to hold to their promise this time and vote against welfare cuts if there isn't corresponding measures taken to make the more priviliged amongst us play their part in paying off the deficit.

    Come to think of it did they really promise this or was it just some vague rumours deliberately circulated to the press to give the illusionary vision of a backbone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1941.

    @1935 Parranger- £3.4billion in one day(Black Wednesday), QE £225 billion, Tory economic policy is a joke, leaving it to the experts(bankers) has not worked out too well has it. Brown was a fool as well, but to wrongs do not make a right. Cameron and his cronies are making it worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1940.

    Re 1937. AuntieLeft
    “I see the leftist Trolls are on standby and primed.”

    I see normal working people trying to make ends meet, despite this governments attempts to make the rich richer by reducing the living standards of the working man to support Dave and his friends

  • rate this

    Comment number 1939.

    What moral justification is there for "the rich" to have to pay proportionately more tax than "the poor".

  • rate this

    Comment number 1938.


    some of the most easy to bend tax rules in Europe

    That bit sounds a bit like Britain don't you think?

    Britains borrowing has been no better than that of Greece, only we aren't being forced to take loans to give the money back to the banks thus requiring perpetually bigger loans to repay and then repay.

    The Greeks are scapegoats. There may be more yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1937.

    I see the leftist Trolls are on standby and primed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1936.

    Rodders Overall means yearly not monthly, we may have borrowed more that month, but that does not mean this happens every month or ever year. The fall of sells in oil does affect tax income, but the government has not said it has not fallen over all; as the buying of oil before in March might have cover the loss. Greece is where it is because it borrowed to much.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1935.

    @1930 johnny

    no .. that would be Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
    They inherited financial stability in this country and in 13 years virtually destroyed it ... despite spending half our gold reserve and raiding pension funds as soon as they grabbed power ..


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