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Monday, September 19, 2011

The 50p tax rate

Nick Clegg has come to Conference determined to make the 50p tax rate a totemic Liberal Democrat issue. As the Independent reports the Liberal Democrat Leader has vowed that it will only be scrapped if it is replaced by another levy and the burden on the poorest is reduced further. In fact Ministers are now saying that a £10,000 tax threshold is not enough, people should not start paying tax until they are earning £12,500. That is quite right.

The paper says that in an interview on the Andrew Marr show Clegg made it clear that he would drive a hard bargain:

"I have got two preoccupations," he said. "Firstly I don't think it is morally or even economically right to unilaterally lower the tax burden on the very, very wealthiest when we haven't made much progress, as we wanted to, on lowering taxes for low incomes.

"If the 50p does not raise money as we hoped from the very, very wealthiest... then of course we could look, as the Chancellor has said, at other ways in which they can pay their share."

He added: "It stays unless we can make more progress on lowering the tax burden on people on low incomes and secondly making sure, as the Chancellor himself has said, we can find other ways that the wealthiest can pay their fair share."

These are all the right noises for the Conference, but more importantly it is good politics and a sign that the Liberal Democrats will continue to use their influence to promote fairness and social justice.
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