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PMQs: Follow Obama lead on tax cuts, Clegg urges Brown

November 5, 2008 11:25 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg congratulates Barack Obama on his US election victory and says Britain should follow his lead with tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes.

At Prime Minister's question time on the day after the American presidential election, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg joined other party leaders in congratulating Barack Obama on his victory. Nick then pointed out that the central policy that Obama fought on was to cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes, paid for by the very wealthy. He asked Gordon Brown why he would not do the same in Britain.

Read their exchanges below. Click here to read Prime Minister's Questions in full.

Nick Clegg's questions

Mr. Nick Clegg: I would like to add my own expressions of sympathy and condolence to the family and friends of the soldier from the Royal Gurkha Rifles who tragically lost his life in Afghanistan this week. Of course, I would also like, on behalf of all Liberal Democrats, to join in congratulating Barack Obama on his extraordinary victory as the new President of the United States, and to wish him luck, because the hopes and expectations that people have of him to change America and change the world are immense.

The Prime Minister just said that he shares lots of policies with the new President-elect, so he will be aware that the central policy that Barack Obama fought on in his election was to cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes, paid for by the very wealthy. Why will the Prime Minister not do the same here?

The Prime Minister: What Barack Obama did not fight on was a policy for £20 billion of public spending cuts, and that is the effect of the policy of the Liberal party.

Mr. Clegg: The fact is that this Prime Minister has fixed things so that a millionaire pays less in tax on their capital gains than their cleaner does on their wages. He is not learning from Barack Obama; he is copying the Conservatives, who want to cut more taxes for millionaires.

and not give an extra penny to anyone else. So will he cancel his special tax breaks for the very wealthy to put more money into the pockets of hard-pressed families right now?

The Prime Minister: I think that the right hon. Gentleman is a bit behind the times. We raised capital gains tax from 10 per cent., and at the same time we took action on non-domiciles in the United Kingdom, but I have to remind him that a tax and spending policy must add up. If he is going to propose £20 billion of public spending cuts, he is out of touch with the British people.