The Liberal Democrats scaled back their ambitions over the “mansion tax” as they detailed plans to clear the national deficit within three years.
The party would raise £27bn through higher taxes, a crackdown on tax dodgers, cuts in Whitehall and trimming welfare spending.
Road tax would rise by an average of £25 per vehicle, wealthy pensioners would lose winter fuel payments and free television licences and the married couples tax allowance would be scrapped.
However, the party now says it would raise £1bn from a new “high-value property tax” on homes worth more than £2m. The expected revenue is £700m less than originally forecast, following claims that its flagship policy could cost the party votes in key seats in suburban London.
Under revised proposals, the annual charge would be up to £2,000 for properties worth between £2m and £2.5m; up to £3,500 for properties worth between £2.5m and £3m; up to £5,000 for properties worth between £3m and £4m and up to £9,000 for properties worth more than £4m.
The Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, said: “It’s not fair a family home in Lewisham pays the same property tax as an oligarch in a vast mansion.”
The party backs a revision of vehicle excise duty to raise £850m by 2017-18, resulting in a £25 rise for the average car and more for vehicles with high fuel consumption.
Lib Dems: policy focus
Lib Dems: policy focus
1/6 GEOFF PAYNE English Party representative, Federal Policy Committee
“The Tories have been seen over the last week for the nasty party that they are. I would go on the offensive to justify our record and ruthlessly exploit those differences over things like the benefit cap and scrapping the Human Rights Act.”
2/6 GARETH EPPS Co-chair, Social Liberal Forum
“We need to make it clear that we’re not in it for our mates, like the Tories. Some of the successes, like shared parental leave, would never have been there with only the Tories.”
3/6 DAISY COOPER Candidate, party president
“A lot of people do know that raising the tax threshold is a Liberal Democrat policy. We just need to keep telling the public that.”
4/6 JOHN PUGH Southport MP, rebelled against leadership on tuition fees
“We need to say that issues of social inequality and justice are equal priorities to economics. We must return to a traditional funding of the NHS.”
5/6 LORELY BURT Solihull MP, former deputy leadership candidate
“It does seem that we’ve been the repository of all the best ideas and that nice Mr Cameron has pinched our income tax policy and Labour the mansion tax policy.”
6/6 BARONESS PARMINTER Former chief executive, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England
“We have got to be very clear where we have stopped the Tories implementing changes that would have been detrimental to the environment.”
Overall, the Lib Dems said they would eliminate the deficit by raising taxes by £5bn, clawing back £7bn more from tackling tax evasion and avoidance, cutting public spending by £12bn and reducing welfare by £3bn.
The party would make only three new spending commitments: raising the income tax personal allowance to £12,500, protecting the NHS budget in real terms and reforming the “bedroom tax”. Mr Clegg said his party had provided far more detail about its economic plans than its rivals.
The Independent has got together with May2015.com to produce a poll of polls that produces the most up-to-date data in as close to real time as is possible.
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