Thursday 8 April 2010

Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign launch : Tories' tax bombshell

The Scottish Liberal Democrats launched our general election campaign today in Glasgow with Nick Clegg revealing the £13.4bn VAT bombshell at the heart of the Tories’ tax plans.

Nick pointed out that an analysis of the Conservatives’ proposed tax cuts or reversals shows that they will cost over £13.5bn a year in 2011-12 prices – yet just £100m has been specifically identified to fund them.

This leaves a £13.4bn black hole, equivalent to a 3% rise in the standard rate of VAT. This would mean an extra tax of £389 on the average household.

The Liberal Democrats have fully-costed plans to raise the starting threshold for income tax to £10,000. This would put £700 back in the pockets of the vast majority of people, and lift around 4m of Britain’s – including half a million of Scotland’s – lowest earners out of paying tax altogether.

It would be funded by ensuring the very well-off pay their fair share, through measures including:

• taxing capital gains as income
• a mansion tax on properties worth over £2m
• giving tax relief on pensions only at the basic rate
• tackling tax avoidance

Commenting, Nick said, “Every Scottish person knows from the Poll Tax that you cannot trust the Conservatives on tax. It was the Poll Tax that drove the Conservatives out of Scottish politics. It is tax that will make sure they never return.

“Liberal Democrats have costed, in full, our proposals for tax cuts. We can tell you, penny for penny, pound for pound, who pays for them.

“We will not have to raise VAT to deliver our promises. The Conservatives will. Their tax promises on marriage and jobs may sound appealing. But they come with a secret VAT bombshell close behind.

“So if you’re on an ordinary income, you have a choice. If you want your taxes to rise: vote Labour or Conservative. If you want your taxes to fall: choose the Liberal Democrats.”

Here in Dundee, Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee West John Barnett added, "On the doorsteps, the Liberal Democrat message of fairer taxes is being well-received. People can see through Tory empty and unfunded promises."