Clegg will block lower tax rates for high earners

NICK Clegg said yesterday that “there can be no question” of reducing the top rate of income tax below 45p.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the Lib Dem party conference that he had only “conceded” reducing the burden on higher rate taxpayers from 50p in return for an increase to the tax-free personal allowance for all workers.

“All future cuts in personal taxation must pass one clear test: do they help people on low and middle incomes get by and get on? It’s as simple as that,” he said.

“Our position is clear. If we have to ask people to take less out or pay more in, we'll start with the richest and work our way down, not the other way around.”

Clegg went on to add that the Lib Dem’s future is “not as the third party, but as one of three parties of government”. As a result it must “confront the inconvenient truths oppositions choose to ignore”, such as the need to reduce welfare payments by removing universal benefits from wealthy patients.

Yesterday it was announced that the party’s 2015 general election campaign will be chaired by former leader Paddy Ashdown. The party has already accepted that further spending cuts will need to be made in the 2015/16 financial year.