Clegg vows: I won't let Osborne cut 50p tax
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Saturday 17 September 2011
Nick Clegg has declared that he will veto George Osborne's plan to abolish the 50p top rate of tax. He warned that cutting it could "destroy" public support for the entire tax system and provoke a taxpayer revolt. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the Deputy Prime Minister promised the Government would do more to kickstart the economy in a "Plan A-plus", including a boost for housebuilding.
Mr Clegg issued the clearest possible warning that he would not allow the Chancellor to bow to pressure from business leaders and Conservatives to axe the 50p rate on earnings over £150,000. Speaking on the eve of the Liberal Democrats' annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Clegg said: "What I, and any government including Lib Dems, are interested in is lowering the tax burden on the millions of people on lower and middle incomes – not rushing to make sure the very, very richest pay less tax. It would be utterly incomprehensible for millions of people who work hard, do their best for their families, and play by the rules, if suddenly the priority is to give 300,000 people at the very, very top a tax break.
"It is not going to happen – certainly not until there is significant progress on giving tax breaks to those on lower and middle incomes." Mr Clegg made clear that the Liberal Democrats would back abolition of the 50p rate in the long run only if it is not raising much revenue and if it is replaced by new taxes on "unearned income". These could include a 1 per cent annual "mansion tax" on homes worth more than £2m, a land tax, and restricting tax relief on pensions to the basic 20p rate.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...
£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...