Lib Dem conference: Millionaires facing tax crackdown in fresh coalition measure

 

Anybody worth more than £1 million faces coming under scrutiny from inspectors in a fresh crackdown on tax avoidance announced by Liberal Democrat Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.

The move will mean 200,000 more people will be targeted by HM Revenue and Customs' affluence unit, set up originally to study the affairs of the 300,000 with assets and property of more than £2.5 million.

Mr Alexander, speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the start of the Lib Dems' annual conference in Brighton, said officials would "sniff out" anybody who was not paying their fair share of tax.

"The measure will apply to people with homes and assets of more than £1 million," he said.

"The wealthiest did best in the boom years and it is right they should pay more now."

Mr Alexander said the affluence unit, boosted from 200 to 300 staff, would cross-reference files and records to spot signs of avoidance.

"They will look at anomalies and sniff out any problems," he said.

A new coalition drive to hit the rich will also include separate moves to stop high-earning BBC personalities from using tax avoidance schemes and fines for tax-dodging footballers.

The initiatives are likely to play well with Lib Dem activists and come as Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg vowed to play hardball with David Cameron over the future of the coalition.

It comes as Vince Cable indicated he wants a fresh assault on tax havens and non-domiciled millionaires.

The Business Secretary told The Sunday Times he wants tough action against "shady" wealthy people who make "systematic and cynical" use of offshore havens such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Ed Davey will today intensify the battle with Chancellor George Osborne over green measures by backing calls for a target on cutting energy sector emissions by 2030.

He will step up pressure on "blind" Tory sceptics to accept the move by insisting there is "a strong case" for including the measure in the forthcoming Energy Bill.

Mr Clegg admitted at an opening night conference rally that the Lib Dems had made mistakes during their first two years in coalition.

But he stressed it was only "half-time" in the coalition's term of office and rubbished suggestions he would step down before 2015 by promising to fight for the party's values right up to the general election.

"One of the most important ways we can do that is by making taxes fairer," he said.

"Lower taxes on work and more on unearned wealth. I want to reward people who put in a proper shift, not those who sit on a fortune. People for whom a bonus means a few extra quid at Christmas, not a million pound windfall."

Aides said Mr Clegg would insist on fresh taxes for the wealthy - such as the party's favoured levy on mansions - as the price for accepting billions of pounds of extra spending cuts when the coalition sets budgets for 2015-16.

The tactic could force the Tories to decide between agreeing to the policy or abandoning Mr Osborne's key deficit reduction targets.

Acknowledging activists' frustration over student tuition fee hikes, the AV referendum defeat and the collapse of Lords reform plans, Mr Clegg said: "There were times in the first half (of the parliament) when we as a party made errors. And we've learned some hard lessons. When the second half is over we will emerge with a few scars.

"But we will be able to tell people the things we have achieved. Whether it is in school, in work or in retirement, we are showing people we are a party that shares their values: Fairness; openness; compassion; equality; community; diversity."

He delivered a stark warning that failure to maintain discipline and make a success of the coalition would spell disaster for the Lib Dems.

"We are proving that coalition works. But we need discipline. Yes, we must show people that we are different from our coalition partners. But if all people see is squabbling then they will think coalition is a messy, incoherent thing. We must not put the progress we have made in jeopardy by retreating to our comfort zone."

Mr Clegg also lashed out at Tory backbenchers who were seeking to push the Government towards a "turbo charged right-wing agenda", telling them: "You didn't win the last election. You do not have a majority. The British people have not given you the right to act like you do."

In a sign of unease within the party at the possibility of being tied to spending cuts beyond the 2015 election, party president Tim Farron said the Lib Dems must "stand alone" by the time the nation goes to the polls.

Mr Farron, a standard bearer for the party's left, said: "As we go to 2015 we have to continuously campaign as an independent, separate body.

"There is absolutely no question whatsoever in my mind any shared policy, any shared programme or strategy with the Tory party, not a flipping chance.

"No question of an enduring cuts or deficit reduction programme beyond 2015 with the Tories, we stand alone going into that election."

But he defended entering the coalition, even though it was "uncomfortable" for the Lib Dems.

He told a fringe event at the party's conference: "Being part of a government that is doing some of the things this Government is doing is flipping hard. But it would have been flipping spineless to walk away."

PA

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
News
peopleCampaign 'to help protect young people across the world'
Life and Style
tech

News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths NQT required for a fant...

Additional Learning Support Tutor: Employability

£17662 - £21100 per annum: Randstad Education Sheffield: Additional Learning S...

Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.Net, ASP.Net - Kingston, Sur

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.N...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job:SECONDARY teachers need...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker