Kennedy drops plan to squeeze high-earners
In a speech setting out his strategy, the Liberal Democrat leader said: "We do not need and we should not seek a punitive taxation system. High taxes are not a moral good in themselves." Although his party was not afraid to use the word "redistribution," he added: "We should feel no awkwardness about the use of the word profit either."
His Westminster speech, which comes as a Liberal Democrat commission starts to review tax policy, is a signal that he does not want to position his party to the left of Labour and allow its opponents to brand it a "high- tax" party.
Some Liberal Democrats believe their pledge to raise the top rate of tax may have cost it votes at the general election in May, when Labour pledged not to raise income tax rates and the Tories offered £4bn of tax cuts.
Mr Kennedy said: "We were correct to point out at the general election that only 1 per cent of all taxpayers would be affected by our proposals on top-rate taxation. But we must not lose sight of those who aspire to achieve income levels which will bring them into the top-rate taxation band in time to come. So we should not fall into the trap of believing that through taxation and spending we can cure all ills."
He tried to silence a whispering campaign against his leadership by saying that "positive unity" was "critical" for the party. He gave a nod to critics who have urged him to be more bold by agreeing the party needed to take risks.
"There is no way forward if we opt for the easy life, heads kept securely safe below the parapet," he said. "If we're not prepared to live a little dangerously at times, then the far greater danger is that we just don't live at all."
The party needed to "avoid complacency" and be "a dynamic, forward-looking and progressive force in politics". He added: "Twenty-first century Liberalism has to be about more than the politics of protests or the need for principled positions within politics. It has to be about presenting ourselves as credible contenders for power, not just for its own sake, but because of what we want to do with it as we gain more."
Mr Kennedy said that his party needed "a better-developed account of ourselves and a prescriptive analysis of our country". He added: "We need a more holistic picture, which brings together better in people's minds how our various individual policies both relate to each other and add up overall." After criticism that the party did not have distinctive policies on public services, Mr Kennedy acknowledged there was a need to "develop credible, alternative proposals to the changes that Labour is making in the structure and delivery of our public services, particularly in health and education." It would face more tough choices on spending, he said.
He asked the tax commission to make proposals to strip away complicated allowances and create a simpler, fairer structure of taxation with measures to tackle avoidance and evasion. Mr Kennedy has asked Mark Oaten, the home affairs spokesman, and Ed Davey, the education spokesman, for "innovative ideas" on how to stop young people becoming disaffected and showing no "respect". They will look at "the interface between school and society and those important years when children move into adulthood".
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Papua New Guinea Mount Tavurvur volcano eruption sees international flights diverted
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...