George Osborne rules out a “mansion tax” at the 2012 Conservative Party Conference
Chancellor George Osborne has ruled out a “mansion tax” called for by the Liberal Democrats.
A defiant Osborne dismissed calls to squeeze the rich calling it “the politics of resentment”. He calmly ruled out one by one every form of wealth tax, mansion tax or new council tax.
Mr Osborne said today at the Conservative conference: “We are not going to have a mansion tax or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties.” He then added: “We don’t think people who have worked hard, saved up to buy a home, should be clobbered with a mansion tax.”
As the Conservatives gathered for their party conference in Birmingham, Osborne announced that instead of introducing a “mansion tax” the government would extend the council tax freeze for a third year in a row and cap rail fare rises at 4 %.
His decision not to go ahead with a wealth tax will delight the Tory Party faithfuls but will disappoint the Liberal Democrats who have already warned they will not approve any other austerity measures without some form of taxation on the rich.
This refusal may come as a surprise to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. During last month’s Liberal Democrat conference he claimed that there was a “very considerable chance” the Tories would agree to new wealth taxes.
Mr Clegg said: “I will not accept a new wave of fiscal retrenchment, of belt tightening, without asking people at the top to make an additional contribution. We have already illustrated through capital gains tax, through stamp duty, through tax avoidance and many other measures. […] The top 10 % pay more and we can do more of that.”
George Osborne voiced the belief that forcing the rich to pay more taxes to fight the economic crisis would be a “complete economic delusion”.
“We are not going to have a mansion tax, or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties,” he said. He had a similar opinion when asked about the option of adding a new council tax band for big houses, dubbing it a “ tax snoopers charter”.
Osborne also hit back at Ed Miliband for branding the Conservatives “the millionaires’ party”. During last week’s Labour conference Miliband criticised the government for its current economic policies that many see as beneficial only to the wealthiest in society.
In an attempt to counteract the comments, Osborne insisted that under the Tories the rich are already paying more in taxes and that the less well off will only benefit from the changes announced.
However, judging by the most recent measures adopted by the government, it is not clear how they will actually obtain this result.