In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Clegg said “people of very considerable personal wealth have got to make a bit of an extra contribution”, and will outline plans for a new wealth tax at the Liberal Democrats’ party conference next month.
But when Chancellor George Osborne was questioned about the proposals, he made it clear he was less than impressed. He warned that the measures could end up driving valuable business away from Britain.
“I am clear that the wealthy should pay more which is why in the recent budget I increased the tax on very expensive property transactions. But we also have to be careful as a country we don’t drive away the wealth creators and the businesses that are going to lead our economic recovery,” he said.
The current austerity programme of public spending cuts is expected to last for at least another two years. Clegg says these measures are unfair unless accompanied by higher taxes on the wealthy.
Coming just months before the budget, Clegg’s comments are likely to provoke plenty of infighting within the Coalition. Conservative MP Bernard dismissed Clegg’s view, telling The Telegraph it was little more than a pre conference ‘clap line.’ Meanwhile Baroness Kramer, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman in the Lords supported the plans, saying no one should be given a “free ride” from paying their fair share of tax.
Earlier this year, Clegg agreed to cut the top rate of income tax by 5 percent in return for a crackdown on tax loopholes on the wealthy, which appears to sit at odds with his push for new taxes on the wealthy.