Making our tax system fairer

The Liberal Democrats have set out plans to introduce a trio of wealth taxes which will help to cut the deficit whilst ensuring fairness in our tax system.

Manifesto plans to increase taxes on the wealthiest will go alongside a pledge to further cut Income Tax and reduce National Insurance.

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Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

“Great progress has been made in tackling the largest deficit since the Second World War, but there is still more work to be done.

“The Conservatives have indicated they will focus on spending cuts in the next Parliament to achieve the aim of eliminating the deficit, particularly through cuts to welfare which will hit the working age poor. That is not a fair approach.

“We will achieve the elimination of the deficit fairly with some reductions in public spending balanced with some tax rises on the wealthiest in society. We have always been clear that we believe those with the broadest shoulders should bear their fair share of the burden.”

The trio of wealth taxes include:

- Introducing a banded High Value Property Levy on residential properties worth over £2m

- Limit tax relief on pensions to a pot of £1m

- Maximising revenue from Capital Gains Tax by aligning rates more closely to Income Tax

By April next year, the Liberal Democrats will have delivered a £800 tax cut for millions of workers and plan to go further in increasing the personal tax allowance to £12,500.

Danny added:

“We believe this package of tax measures is another step in making our tax system fairer. Liberal Democrats believe these measures are the best way to create a stronger economy in the fairest way possible, creating opportunity for everyone.”


Tripling the early years pupil premium

Liberal Democrats will more than triple the early years pupil premium to £1000 per child under manifesto plans announced today by Schools Minister David Laws.

The early years pupil premium was introduced in March 2014 and is currently worth £300 for every disadvantaged child. 

Liberal Democrats want to extend this to £1000, helping to ensure that every child has got a fair start in life and is ready to learn when they start school.

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This increase will benefit more than 170,000 disadvantaged children from 2015-16.

Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:

“Liberal Democrats have delivered huge amounts for the early years in our time in Government. We have given extra free hours of early years education to all three year olds, and introduced free early years education to two year olds from the most hard pressed homes.  We have introduced new Early Years Teachers, and we vetoed Tory plans that would have meant adults looking after up to six two year olds at the same time.

“By committing this extra money to help the youngest disadvantaged children in society, we will ensure that they get the best possible start in life and have an opportunity to get on.

“Investing in early years is one of the best ways to build the fairer society that Liberal Democrats want to see and we are ambitious about delivering for future generations. This extra investment will mean a huge amount of support for the people who need it most and demonstrates our strong commitment to education.”

Vince Cable: Large companies will have to publish top earner’s salary

Companies will be forced to publish their highest earners pay under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans.

In a bid to encourage fairer wages, businesses with more than 250 employees will be required to release pay details of their top earner. Under manifesto proposals companies will also publish their median pay and consult employees on future executive salaries.

These proposals follow Liberal Democrat plans to legally require companies that employ more than 250 people to publish the average pay of their male and female workers, creating pressure to close the gender pay gap.

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In Government Liberal Democrats have ensured low-paid workers receive the biggest cash increase in take home pay since 2008 in October.

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“In the last decade we have seen extreme increases in top executive pay which appear to be completely unrelated to the performance of companies.

“Policies that reward executives out of proportion to the value they create are a clear dereliction of the duty and act against the interests of shareholders and consumers.

“There is widespread consensus, not just among the public but in the business community as well, that this is unacceptable and is undermining the credibility of our markets-based system.

“By making companies be transparent on executive pay and involve employees on salary proposals the Liberal Democrats will make sure rewards are properly aligned with performance.”


Protecting the NHS budget

Liberal Democrats will protect the National Health Service budget in the next Parliament. 

Under plans announced in the party’s manifesto, NHS spending will rise by at least the rate of inflation over the next Parliament. 

As well as protecting the NHS budget, Liberal Democrats will also pool health and social care budgets. This would help make care more tailored towards individual patients and reduce inefficiencies.

This follows the announcement of a Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment to establish a mental health research fund worth £50m per year by 2020.

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Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

“The NHS was a Liberal idea and we are proud to be committed to protecting funding over the next Parliament.

“In this parliament the Government has had to make difficult decisions to cut the deficit and build a stronger economy. We have protected the NHS and Liberal Democrats will continue to protect the NHS budget from cuts in the next parliament.

“We are clear that a crucial part of building a fairer society, where there is opportunity for everyone, is ensuring that once the deficit is eliminated public services are protected.

“Labour have said that this is irresponsible, and in Wales they have cut the NHS budget by 8%. They are wrong and will be judged on this record.”


Safe standing for football fans

A Liberal Democrat government would allow football clubs in the top divisions to introduce safe standing areas into their grounds.

Under manifesto plans announced today, football clubs would be allowed to work with their supporters to introduce standing areas. 

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Safe standing already operates in domestic leagues across Europe, including Germany, Austria and Sweden. 

70% of UK football clubs support safe standing and fans say standing provides a better atmosphere.

Introducing safe standing would also cut the price of going to watch a football match.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Culture, Media & Sport John Leech MP said:

“The Liberal Democrats believe football clubs should be allowed to introduce safe standing areas where there is a desire to do so. Safe standing is allowed in many other sports and we do not believe that the top level of football should be an exception.

“We are not calling for a return of the terraces of the 1980s. Modern safe standing areas using ‘rail seating’ operate very successfully in top tier football across Europe.

“When clubs and fans are in favour of safe standing and it can be done safely, then the Government shouldn’t get in the way. That is why Liberal Democrats want to change the law to let clubs introduce safe standing.

“Safe standing offers supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets. It is an idea whose time has come and I am proud that it is the Liberal Democrats who are the first political party to commit to delivering this.”

Vince Cable launches new apprenticeship campaign

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable has today launched a new campaign to encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships. 

The “Get In, Go Far” campaign is being supported by a number of employers across the country and coincides with the introduction of 40 new employer-designed apprenticeships in sectors including engineering, hospitality and the legal profession. 

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To mark the launch of the campaign, Vince visited ITV studios in Leeds to meet TV production apprentices.

Vince said: 

“For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people. Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help to break down barriers and better meet the needs of business. 

“Since I became Secretary of State we have expanded apprenticeship numbers greatly, particularly higher apprenticeships. The reforms to apprenticeships enable employers to design and deliver apprenticeships that meet their needs, giving young people valuable qualifications and helping them to build successful careers from television production to advanced manufacturing.”


Driving down the deficit and repairing the economy

Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics show that inflation fell from 1.9% to 1.6% in July. The rate fell more than was forecast, with economists expecting it to fall to 1.8%. 

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Commenting on the latest inflation figures, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: 

“The fact that inflation has been below the Bank of England target for seven consecutive months shows that subdued inflation is now becoming the norm as the economy recovers. Eliminating the deficit fairly, and repairing the UK economy remains central to the role of Liberal Democrats in Government.

“These encouraging inflation numbers should give businesses the confidence they need to deliver the investment required to boost productivity. Rising productivity is the only route to sustainable increases in living standards.” 


Tackling child poverty

The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to introduce new child poverty measures it has been announced this weekend.

The manifesto will feature the three child poverty targets which were blocked by the Conservatives: reducing relative poverty, reducing gaps in life chances, and reducing entrenched poverty.

The announcement forms part of our ongoing commitment to creating a fairer society enabling everyone to get on in life.

Commenting, Chair of the Liberal Democrat manifesto group, and Education Minister, David Laws said:

“Liberal Democrats know you can build a stronger economy and fairer society at the same time, and will not let political dogma, or headline chasing, damage someone’s opportunity to get on in life.

“Labour’s ‘poverty plus a pound’ strategy made a statistical impact but it left people’s circumstances and future prospects largely unchanged.

“Our changes will change the focus in order to lift young people out of poverty for good by generating real opportunity.

“Rather than spending billions of borrowed pounds on welfare payments designed to move someone from just below, to just above, the official poverty line, we intend to invest in education and skills so people can be work their way out of poverty and towards a future of self-reliance and success.

“The Conservatives have been keen to point up the failings of Labour’s child poverty measures but less keen to replace them with decent, effective and supportive measures.

“Their desire to shrink the state by continuing to cut spending long after the deficit has been cleared trumped their rhetorical commitment to expanding opportunity for young people.

“Clearly a political dividing line on fiscal policy matters more to them than the effort to reduce poverty and expand life chances.”


Record numbers off to University

A record number of students have been accepted into university this year, with a greater number of opportunities and choices opening up.

There has been more flexibility introduced, so universities can recruit more students, making it possible for more young people to access the institution of their choice.

Liberal Democrats have worked to make sure the system is as fair as possible in order to protect lower earning graduates. No student pays up front and they only pay back once they’re earning over £21,000. 

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Applications rates for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds has risen to the highest number ever recorded. Thanks to the safeguards put in place, the gap between the most advantaged and the most disadvantaged university students is narrowing.

Liberal Democrats have also increased the number of apprenticeships available, so that there are more options open to students. There are now 1.8 million apprentices, the biggest expansion since 1950s.

Click here to find out more about tuition fees.


Liberal Democrats plan to cut your tax bill further

A Liberal Democrat government will make further cuts in Income Tax and reduce National Insurance for millions of workers under manifesto plans announced today.

The party plans to raise the personal allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of next Parliament. 

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This move would cut income tax for 30m workers and be worth £400 per year to a typical basic rate taxpayer. 

Pensioners have not benefitted from the previous increases in the personal allowance, but the increase to £12,500 will benefit more than 6m pensioners.

And in a new proposal announced today, Liberal Democrats will seek to raise the amount people can earn before paying National Insurance once the personal income tax allowance has reached £12,500.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

“Our tax system must be fair and help to make being in work pay.  That’s why cutting income tax for working people, particularly those on low and middle incomes, is a top Liberal Democrat priority. 

“It was on the front page of the 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto and we have fought to keep it on the agenda at every Budget.  By April next year we will have delivered a tax cut to over 26 million people worth £800 a year to a typical basic rate taxpayer and taken over 3 million out of tax altogether. 

“Now we want to go even further and lift the amount of money people can earn before paying income tax to £12,500.  This will take hundreds of thousands more low earners out of tax altogether and give millions of working people a further tax cut of £400. 

“This move will also give a tax cut to over 6 million pensioners.  When we’ve reached £12,500 we will seek to raise the level that people start paying employee National Insurance.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party in British politics with a long-term commitment to cutting taxes for the working people of Britain. We’ve delivered the largest programme of tax cuts for a generation over the last four years, despite all of the other financial pressures.

“These manifesto commitments will mean nothing less than a generational shift to a fairer tax system that rewards work and helps working people. That’s the way to build a stronger economy and a fairer society and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get on in life.”


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