Statement from Social Liberal Forum on the 2012 budget: making tax fairer

“With Chancellor George Osborne finalising next week’s budget, the Social Liberal Forum reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to fair taxation and urges the government to consider the political implications of cutting taxes on income for the highest earners.

Of course we welcome moves to further raise the income tax threshold, to tax property more fairly and to prevent the wealthiest from exploiting tax loopholes; these are all progressive policies that wouldn’t be in place without Liberal Democrat influence in government. However, as last week’s Spring Conference made clear, so is the retention of the 50p tax rate on the highest incomes at a time of austerity and economic uncertainty:

Conference resolves that the wealthy and those with the very highest incomes should make the greatest proportionate contribution to the tax measures necessary for the reduction of the structural budget deficit and that the Additional Income Tax Rate of 50% on the top 1% of earners is needed to achieve this.

It is not Lib Dem policy to trade the 50p tax rate away in return for other measures on fair taxation; the 50p rate is an integral part of a fair tax system at a time when being seen to cut taxes for the wealthiest would be politically impossible, the amount raised by the rate is unclear and the so-called replacements are not yet in place.

We therefore urge Lib Dems throughout the party to commit to fair taxation at both ends of the spectrum such that those with the greatest means pay the most and are seen to do so.”



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