Nick Clegg: Tax fairness will provide Lib Dem's 'signature tune' at next election

The Deputy Prime Minister outlines policy to exempt minimum wage workers from paying income tax

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Indy Politics

The Liberal Democrats will push for a higher tax-free personal allowance if they are represented in the next government, according to Nick Clegg.

The party leader also said he believed the era of "slam-dunk" political victories was over and coalitions were here to stay - although he has offered no indication of any future preference between the Conservative and Labour parties.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 today, he refused to be drawn on what he saw as "die in the trench" issues for the Lib Dems, but stressed the centrality of the policy of raising the tax allowance to £12,500 to his party's campaign to remain in government.

The move could be seen as an approach to the left, with the higher threshold exempting minimum wage workers from paying any income tax. Clegg went on to describe tax fairness as key to the party's campaign in the next election.

Speaking from the Lib Dem annual conference in Glasgow, he said: "I am proud of the fact that I run a democratic party, where I don't just decree that this or that policy will be a die-in-the-trench-type policy. But I can give you a clue. I strongly suspect, given that we have put so much effort and indeed so much money into making the tax system fairer, tax fairness will of course be one of the signature tunes for the Liberal Democrats.

"We are committed as a party, and I am very committed to this, to raising the allowance further such that you pay no income tax equivalent to the minimum wage. So everybody on the minimum wage pays no income tax."

However, in a blow to those within his own party and Labour hopeful for a partnership between the two parties emerging from the 2015 election, Clegg dismissed Labour's proposals for economy recovery.

"Labour would wreck the recovery. Under the Conservatives, who don't have the same commitment to fairness as we do, you would get the wrong kind of recovery."