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Liberal Democrat News 3rd February 2012

February 3, 2012 9:52 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Clegg calls time on unfair tax system

At the Institute for Government last Friday, the Deputy Prime Minister gave a major speech on tax and supporting working families.

"The tax system," said Nick Clegg, "should be designed to reward effort, enterprise and innovation... and bear down on those things which are bad for our society.
"Attitudes to tax are a good proxy for our deepest political instincts and the three major political traditions in the UK - conservatism, socialism and liberalism - have very distinct approaches."

"The liberal approach, put most simply, is based on a profound commitment to the value of paid work. Citizens are empowered when they can keep the fruits of their own labour. And fiscal liberalism supports taxes on unearned wealth... precisely to lighten taxes on the incomes of hardworking people.

"So the Coalition is calling time on our unfair and out-of-whack tax system.
We've put up Capital Gains Tax; we've reduced tax breaks on pension funds for the very rich; we've clamped down on avoidance - the steps taken already will raise an extra £7bn every year by the end of this parliament. And our priority in government - from the front cover of the Lib Dem manifesto to the pages of the Coalition Agreement - is freeing the lowest-paid from income tax altogether... and cutting income tax for millions of ordinary workers.

"Whether you call them the 'squeezed middle', 'hard-working families', or, as I have, 'alarm clock Britain'… it's the people who whose incomes are too high to qualify for welfare benefits but too low to provide any real financial security who need this extra help. Over the last few decades wage rises have outpaced the increase in the allowance... so that more people have been sucked into the income tax net.

"At the last election my party promised to raise the personal allowance for ordinary taxpayers to £10,000 and I am extremely proud that the Coalition has committed to doing so over the course of this Parliament. I want to make clear that I want the Coalition to go further and faster in delivering the full £10,000 allowance.
Because the pressure on family finances is reaching boiling point … these families cannot be made to wait.

"Delivering the £10,000 personal allowance more quickly will need to be fully funded. But to those who say: we cannot afford to do this. I say: we cannot afford not to do this.

"It is often said that to govern is to choose... and, in particular, to choose whose side you are on. That is especially true when there is no money around. My choice - the Liberal Democrat's choice - is clear: I want to help hard-pressed and hardworking families. If that means asking more from those at the top - so be it.

"We are committed to eliminating the deficit... and eliminate it we will. But I am determined that we do so in a way that is fair...that rebalances our economy...that gives the right people the right rewards.
"People look to the Liberal Democrats to keep this Coalition anchored in the centre ground. They want economic competence, but they want compassion too.
It is our job to make sure this government delivers both."