by Stephen Tall on January 28, 2014
“Lib Dems declare war on rich” is the hyperbolic front page of today’s Independent.
It’s tagged ‘exclusive’ though the article seems to be reporting Lib Dem policy as approved by the party’s September 2013 conference – namely: (1) Introduce a Mansion Tax, applicable at 1% on the value of a residential property in excess of £2 million; and (2) Cap the lifetime limit for which tax relief is available on pension contributions at £1 million. (Flick to page 3 of the party’s ‘Fairer Taxes’ policy paper.)
Still, there are quotes from a “senior Lib Dem figure”, which highlight the dividing lines between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives of which we’ll be hearing much more in the next 15 months:
A senior Liberal Democrat figure told The Independent that the party did not think it was “fair or sensible” to go into the next election promising to cut the budget deficit solely with spending cuts.
“This is about showing that we have fully costed plans to reduce the deficit by a more equitable distribution between spending cuts and tax rises,” the source said.
“The Treasury has already looked in great detail at how you would make a mansion tax work in practice. Danny is going to be able to use the Treasury papers to make that case. We’re looking at pension tax relief. The lifetime allowance is now £1.25m. We’d like to see that coming down to £1m.”
Another Liberal Democrat source added: “We have always been clear that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden.”
Anyway, enough cavilling about whether any of this is news – after the past fortnight, it’s good to see the Lib Dems back on the front pages for putting forward policies.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.