Hit the rich with more tax or I’ll block benefit cuts, Clegg tells Tories

| September 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

By
Daily Mail Reporter

19:37 EST, 21 September 2012


|

06:39 EST, 22 September 2012

Nick Clegg will block George Osborne’s plans to freeze welfare payments and make further spending cuts unless the Tories back plans for higher taxes on the wealthy.

In a bid to shore up his position ahead of this week’s party conference, the Lib Dem leader said he would veto calls for £10billion of extra benefit cuts.

And senior Lib Dems last night insisted they will not back Conservative austerity plans to keep slashing public spending until 2017 and beyond.

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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has threatened to block benefit cuts and thwart George Osborne's home

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has threatened to block benefit cuts and thwart George Osborne's home

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has threatened to block benefit cuts and thwart George Osborne’s home

Instead they will agree cuts only up to 2015/16 – leaving scope for a major falling-out at the next election over public spending.

Chancellor Mr Osborne wants to introduce a two-year freeze on benefits from next April.

But Mr Clegg used an Independent newspaper interview last night to say the Lib Dems would insist the welfare budget should not bear the full brunt of extra cuts.

He said he will approve ‘no cuts’ for the post-election period unless Mr Osborne brings in a tax on homes worth more than £2million: ‘You can’t have more cuts without more wealth taxes.’

He added: ‘You cannot fill the remainder of the black hole from the wealthy alone.

‘But that is where you start, and you work down. You don’t start with the bottom and then work up.’

Prime Minister David Cameron's party could face stern opposition from coalition partners led by Nick Clegg

Prime Minister David Cameron’s party could face stern opposition from coalition partners led by Nick Clegg

Mr Clegg also insisted he will lead the Lib Dems ‘through and beyond the next election’, accusing internal critics calling for a different leader of ‘losing their nerve’.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has insisted he has no regrets over saying sorry for his party’s tuition fee pledge despite the video apology being widely lampooned.

The Liberal Democrat leader said it was inevitable that people would ‘sneer’ and ‘mock’ but defended the move as the ‘right thing to do’.

Reactions in Westminster to the apology were mixed and one website turned the two-and-a-half minute film into a song that is now being released as a single.

‘Of course people are going to sneer, mock and say it is not good enough,’

Mr Clegg told The Independent ahead of the start of the Lib Dem autumn conference tomorrow. ‘I just genuinely thought what we did was wrong and I should apologise for it.’

He added: ‘I just hope that reasonable people – whether they have heard it to music or not – will think OK, fair enough, he’s come clean.’

Asked whether he has any regrets about the move he said: ‘What, you want me to apologise for the apology? Of course not.’

A defiant Mr Clegg also dismissed suggestions his days as leader were numbered, vowing to lead the Lib Dems ‘through and beyond the next election’ and accusing critics within the party of ‘losing their nerve’.

He added: ‘When I stand up in the (TV) leadership debates at the next election, I will be a different person to last time, when many voters had no idea who I was.

‘We will be a battle-hardened party and I will bear the scars to show it. If we hold our nerve, I believe many fair-minded people in Britain will think ‘we didn’t like this decision or that decision, but on the big judgments they got it right’.’

Mr Clegg insisted he would block any moves by the Conservatives to introduce a freeze on benefits without extra taxes being imposed on the rich.

‘You cannot fill the remainder of the black hole from the wealthy alone,’ he said. ‘But that is where you start, and you work down. You don’t start with the bottom and then work up. That is just wrong.’

He added: ‘It is not realistic to assume you cannot have any further cuts and savings. Where they fall is an entirely different matter.

‘The Conservatives appear to be saying they want it all to fall on welfare. That’s totally unacceptable to me.

‘They are not going to take all of that £10 billion out of welfare. I am not saying you can leave welfare untouched because it is a third of total public spending.

‘But the idea that you ask welfare to take all of the strain is something I will not allow to happen.’

Mr Clegg gave permission for the spoof apology created by satirical website www.thepoke.co.uk to be released as a single, Nick Clegg Says I’m Sorry (The Autotune Remix), which went on sale at iTunes tonight.

All profits will be given to Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, of which his wife Miriam is a patron.

VIDEO: Nick Clegg arrives at the Lib Dem conference… 

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Your commentsJumped up little prat.Expert at throwing toys out of the pram and not much else

Phil
,

Almeria,
22/9/2012 08:19

This man is an arrogant idiot who makes his own rules as he goes along regardless of the Coalition contract!
Come on Dave, have the guts to kick him into the long grass.
If you don’t, you have no chance of leading the Tories into the next election,let alone winning the election!

Mike
,

Canvey Island,
22/9/2012 08:18

There he goes again singing from a different hymn sheet!

Bill
,

Winchester,
22/9/2012 08:17

Good on you Clegg. Only a small start but about time to started standing up to the PM and his Tory bully boys. Coalition mean coalition not Tory Tory. Let’s get some proper policies in place.

Oswald Smith
,

London, United Kingdom,
22/9/2012 08:17

Without all the taxes those working already pay there would be no benefits at all, how about stop paying out for unfit people to breed that would be a step in the right direction.

Ruth
,

Wolves,
22/9/2012 08:16

Sorry, Nick. You should be opposing cuts to benefits regardless! Sorry.

PierrePierpont
,

HW, United Kingdom,
22/9/2012 08:12

Clegg at his squirming best. He sold his soul and now regrets it. Unfortunately for him, the Devil doesn’t do refunds.

Mark R
,

COVENTRY, United Kingdom,
22/9/2012 08:09

What you really need to do Mr Clegg is to ensure 1. the rich who AVOID taxes are made to pay their fair due, 2. stop giving out millions of pounds to scroungers, benefit cheats, foreign aid, baby machines and fraudulent Government expense claims and 3. stop the inflow of foreigners coming to the UK to milk the ‘honey pot’. The rich who do pay taxes are already paying more than others. Just because some people have worked hard and made their way up the financial ladder should not be penalised for those layabouts etc. who are happy to scrounge off of the state.

jayjayef
,

Hampshire,
22/9/2012 08:05

Is that so we can continue to pay foreign aid to Countries with space programmes, and continue to pay around £50,000,000 to be in the EU, and waste tax payer money on God knows what else too? It wouldn’t effect me, but we all pay far too much tax which of which cast amounts is wasted.

Tony
,

Surbiton,
22/9/2012 07:57

Please explain why the rich should be taxed twice for being successful by a party who get no votes promise policies they cannot possibly deliver.

davidvest
,

nottingham,
22/9/2012 07:55

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