Page last updated at 23:36 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 00:36 UK

David Cameron aims for lower taxes 'if possible'

David Cameron
David Cameron says he is committed to having low taxes

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants to introduce lower taxes as soon as the nation's economic conditions make it possible.

Mr Cameron also told the Daily Telegraph the new 50p top income tax rate could be abandoned.

He also suggested tax breaks for married couples may arrive next year.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, David Laws, told the Financial Times he is ready to make "aggressive" cuts to the deficit.

Mr Cameron said inheritance tax was unfair and that the 50p income tax rate could be scrapped if it failed to bring in sufficient revenue.

The prime minister said: "I absolutely do believe in a lower tax country and I want to deliver lower marginal rates of tax.

"The problem is the appalling budget deficit. I am still a low-tax Conservative. Born one, lived one, will die one."

The prime minister said he wished he could scrap inheritance tax for everyone, apart from the very wealthy.

We are moving from an age of plenty to an age of austerity in the public finances
David Laws, Treasury secretary

"Only millionaires should pay inheritance tax," he said. "I'm absolutely clear on that. As the economy recovers and as house prices continue to rise you will find people getting caught by the inheritance net that should not be there."

'Difficult job'

Meanwhile Mr Laws is planning to outline how he plans to make savings of £6bn on Monday for this year.

He told the Financial Times more cuts would follow. "We are moving from an age of plenty to an age of austerity in the public finances," he said.

Mr Laws said he was "mentally prepared for getting a lot of representations from angry people" as cuts begin next year.

"I'm under no illusions that there won't be some really quite tough decisions to take but there are still ways of protecting the services that you believe in passionately and also protecting people on low incomes.

"And I think people understand that there are no easy choices and while people won't want to see big cuts in certain areas of public spending, they don't want to see vast increases in taxation either so they understand that George [Osborne] and I and the government have got a really difficult job to do, to reconcile these things."

Mr Laws said that his job would be making choices and "actually going out and selling those choices to the country and making them confront the fact that we have a range of choices, none of which are easy or popular over the short term".

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said these latest comments are a re-statement of Mr Laws' position on the need to tackle the deficit.

The spokesman said Mr Laws had spoken of "aggressively" cutting the deficit before, previously stating that "there is clearly a very big job to be done to tackle the public sector deficit.

"And nobody should doubt the determination of both coalition partners to take action which is early, which is decisive, which is credible and which is aggressive," the spokesman added.



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