Ukip party conference: Labour accused of 'sacrificing the innocence of children' in Rotherham

Party promises levies on luxury items - but lowering income tax

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Indy Politics

Ukip today accused Labour of "sacrificing the innocence of children" to the "altar of multiculturalism" as it attempted to politicise the Rotherham sex abuse scandal and win votes from disillusioned Northern Labour voters.

In an outspoken and stinging attack Ukip's Yorkshire MEP Jane Collins claimed political correctness had allowed young white girls to be "gang-raped, beaten and threatened at gunpoint" by Muslim men in the town.

Ms Collins, who will contest Rotherham at the general election, said Labour politicians who had run the town for years "were morally corrupt and discredited" and dubbed them "liberal lefties to afraid to act through their own political selfishness".

A number of other speakers at the party's annual conference in Doncaster also capitalised on the Rotherham scandal which Ukip hopes will lead allow the party to make breakthroughs in traditional Labour heartlands next May.

In another sign of just how far the party has moved to appeal beyond it core supporters of disillusioned Tories the party is also promising a new "luxury tax" on designer shoes and expensive cars and pledging to cut immigration by 80 per cent.

The new luxury tax would see VAT levied at 25 per cent for top-end goods, with varying price points depending on the goods concerned.

Economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said it made "no sense" that struggling families buying budget range items pay the same amount of tax when they reach the tills as those splashing out on expensive products.

Thresholds could be introduced to trigger the higher rate of tax, such as £200 for a pair of shoes or £50,000 for a car.

He told the conference: "I want it to investigate the feasibility of imposing a luxury goods rate of VAT. It seems to me that a luxury goods rate of 25 per cent could raise substantial extra funds from the wealthiest people. I would suggest such a rate be built around simple thresholds such as £200 for a pair of shoes, £1,000 for a bag or £50,000 for a new car. "That way, extra money could be raised for the public realm from the very richest people without dampening incentives for wealth-creation in the way that higher income tax rates risk doing."

Mr O'Flynn pledged to scrap the Barnett Formula, the system of allocating funds across the UK that the three main Westminster parties promised to keep during the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

"By reforming the Barnett Formula that treats English taxpayers so unfairly you can save several billion more," he said.

Party activists were also told details of Ukip's plans to cut the higher rate of tax from 40p to 35p for people who earn between £42,000 and £55,000.

He said: "At the last Budget, Ukip said that our policy would be to raise the 40 per cent tax threshold to at least £45,000. Well, today we are able to make a better offer.

"The policy we will take into the next parliament will be to cut the 40 per cent rate where it starts to 35 per cent.

"So, a 35 per cent rate would start at earnings just above £42,000 and apply all the way up to £55,000. Only at earnings of £55,000 would the 40 per cent rate become payable.

"In time, we would like to go further. An eventual tax structure of a personal allowance at the level of the full-time minimum wage, followed by a 20p standard rate, a 30p intermediate rate and a 40p top rate would be simpler, flatter and, in my view, compatible with both a dynamic economy and a fair society."

Ukip would also scrap inheritance tax and take minimum wage earners out of income tax altogether.

Later today Nigel Farage is expected to paint Ukip as the party of the working man and criticise Labour for abandoning its traditional heartlands.

In his speech he is likely to promise to cut taxes by £12bn, claiming this could be paid for by leaving the EU and slashing spending on foreign aid.

Steven Woolfe, Ukip’s migration spokesman, committed the party to bringing down immigration to 50,000 by introducing an Australian-style points system that encourages migrants to have skills. He would also make sure immigrants without ID papers are turned away at the border by withdrawing from the Dublin treaty.

Meanwhile, Amjad Bashir, the party’s communities spokesman, said jailed criminals would be forced to move out of their neighbourhood when they are released, and making nuisance noise would be made a criminal offence.

On the NHS the party said it would introduce a new registration system for hospital managers, scrap car parking fees and ban immigrants from access to the NHS.

"It is the National Health Service," the party's health spokeswoman Louise Bours said. "It is not the International Health Service."