Nick Clegg calls for emergency tax on wealthiest – and picks some dreadful words

From The Guardian comes this thinking on tax from Nick Clegg:

Britain’s wealthiest people should face an emergency tax to avoid a breakdown in social cohesion as the country fights an “economic war” caused by a longer than expected recession, Nick Clegg has said.

In the first interview by a senior member of the cabinet to mark the new political season, the deputy prime minister told the Guardian he is embarking on a battle to persuade his Tory coalition partners of the need to ensure the rich shoulder a greater burden of the economic pain…

“While I am proud of some of the things we have done as a government I actually think we need to really hard-wire fairness into what we do in the next phases of fiscal restraint. If we don’t do that I don’t think the process will be either socially or politically sustainable or acceptable.”

The intervention by Clegg, who is calling for a “time limited contribution” from the richest in society beyond the party’s current policy for a mansion tax, came as the deputy prime minister marked his return to Britain after a two week family holiday in Spain…

Clegg indicates that the new tax would fall on wealth, rather than income, because there are no plans to change the new 45p top rate of income tax. “The action is making sure that very high asset wealth is reflected in the tax system in the way that it isn’t now, making sure that we continue to crack down very hard on tax avoidance, making sure that tax breaks don’t go disproportionately to people at the very top.”

Clegg will outline specific proposals for a wealth tax at the party’s conference in September.

As a policy, hard-wiring fairness during a phase of fiscal restraint is a good one. As a political message, it’s a dreadful collection of policy wonk vocabulary.

You’re more likely to find me giving away bars of chocolate than find an ordinary voter using language anything remotely like that. (‘Son, I’m hard wiring fairness into your pocket money allocation as this household goes through our next phase of fiscal restraint’ perhaps?)

Nice policy, shame about the words.

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