I'll hammer the rich who earn £70,000 or more, declares Ming (salary £60,227)
SIR Menzies Campbell yesterday pledged to "hammer" households earning more than £70,000 with higher taxes.
The Liberal Democrat leader said the rich have done "too well" under Labour and agreed the wealthiest 10 per cent should pay more taxes.
His remarks, made on the first full day of his party's autumn conference in Brighton, are underscored by a survey today which shows 84 per cent of people think the gap between rich and poor in Britain is too vast.
However, the Lib Dem tax proposals - which include scrapping the council tax in favour of a local income tax - would end up penalising relatively middle-class households with two moderate earners rather than just the super rich.
The Lib Dem leader's salary - the 60,227 paid to any backbench MP - would not make him liable for greater tax.
Sir Menzies also said that the poorest had suffered more under Labour, while earnings for the richest had soared.
He added: "The people at the top have done very well. In fact, they've done too well. The division between rich and poor has become too great and it's time for it to be redressed."
He criticised Gordon Brown's decision to abolish the lowest, 10p in the pound, rate of income tax in his last Budget as chancellor earlier this year.
This meant households earning 18,500 a year, and which did not benefit from tax credits, were left worse off, he said.
Sir Menzies added: "We are going for these people who have done the best of all out of the last ten years."
He stressed that 90 per cent of the population would be better off under the plans, but when asked on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show if that meant "hammering" the other 10 per cent he replied: "Yes."
The Lib Dems want to reduce the basic rate of income tax by 4p in the pound by environmental taxes and changes to capital gains tax relief on investments and pensions, which are currently skewed in favour of those in the higher tax bracket.
In calling for higher taxes on the wealthy, the Lib Dems are following growing concern about income inequality. There was public uproar when a private equity boss recently boasted in front of MPs that he paid less tax than his cleaner.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the party shows that even 77 per cent of Conservative voters believe the gap between rich and poor is "too large" while 92 per cent of both Labour and Lib Dem voters agree. And 64 per cent believe the earnings gap has grown wider over the past decade under Labour.
The same number believe that the richest people in Britain should pay more tax while 5 per cent are opposed. But even among Conservative voters, there is a clear majority (55 per cent against 39 per cent).
Vince Cable, the Lib Dems economic spokesman, said the survey showed supporters of all three main parties were angry.
"There is genuine disgust at some of the tax dodging ... and a large majority share our wish to see a crackdown," he said.
• Nicol Stephen has been re- selected as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats unopposed. The party has a vote every four years and the deadline for challengers was midnight on Friday.
LEADERSHIP UNDER FIRE
FRESH questions were raised over Sir Menzies Campbell's leadership of the Liberal Democrats after a former party leader in the Lords said activists had been "disappointed" by his performance.
Lord Rogers said there was a feeling that the party was "suffering a lack of energy and an absence of direction".
Sir Menzies insisted he was "here to stay" beyond the next General Election.
But a poll by ComRes today shows that Lib Dem support is still at just 15 per cent.
If that swing was reflected at a General Election, it is projected that the party could be left with a Parliamentary "rump" of just 13 MPs.
Frontbenchers, including Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne, and party president Simon Hughes, would lose their seats.
ED DAVEY, Sir Ming Campbell's chief of staff, has managed to offend every voter outside the M25.
Boasting that the Lib Dems were ready for an election at any time, he said the party planned 40 regional visits,
These would be "not just in London, but in the sticks as well".
Asked if "the sticks" included Scotland, Mr Davey said he thought the tour would visit Edinburgh as well.
SECURITY procedures were straightforward at the Brighton conference: those wanting to undergo what was practically an internal examination used the front door. Those using the back door walked straight in, no questions asked, no searches.
JUSTINE McGuinness, the McCanns' former press spokeswoman, has quit her high-profile role to rush to her party's aid. She is set to chair sessions with activists.
VINCE Cable, the party's economics spokesman, gives a speech on Lib Dem tax plans and current market turmoil.
The Lib Dems launch their climate change policy paper, Zero Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead.
Nicol Stephen, leader of the party in Scotland, hosts the Scottish Lib Dem fringe.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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