Latest Public Sector News

29.08.12

Tax the wealthy – Clegg

The wealthiest people in England should pay more tax for a limited amount of time, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has proposed.

This would deliver greater fairness as part of a “longer economic war”, he suggested. Full details of the scheme will be announced at the upcoming Liberal Democrats annual conference.

In an interview with the Guardian, Clegg questioned: “In addition to our standing policy on things like the mansion tax, is there a time-limited contribution you can ask in some way or another from people of considerable wealth so they feel they are making a contribution to the national effort?”

He added: “While I am proud of some of the things we have done as a government I actually think we need to really hard-wire fairness into what we do in the next phases of fiscal restraint.

“If we don’t do that I don’t think the process will be either socially or politically sustainable or acceptable.”

But critics have dismissed his idea. Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie said: “Nick Clegg is once again taking the British people for fools. He talks about a tax on the wealthiest, but he voted for the tax cut for millionaires in George Osborne’s Budget.

“And he has supported a failing economic plan which has pushed Britain into a double-dip recession and is leading to borrowing going up by a quarter so far this year.”

And Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkin MP dismissed the plans as a pre-party conference “easy clap line”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I know this isn’t a very fashionable view but if you go on raising taxes on rich people – and that's why we had to cut and why Nick Clegg agreed to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p – you drive wealth abroad.

“We’ve seen a lot of hedge funds moving abroad because of the tax system in this country. We've got to be very careful we don't strangle the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image c. Liberal Democrats

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