Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Clegg renews push for mansion tax despite coalition rift

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has renewed calls for a tax on valuable properties, despite acknowledging a "difference of opinion" on the subject between the two governing parties in the coalition.

At his monthly Commons question session on 20 November 2012, Mr Clegg said people would find it "very difficult to understand" if wealthy people did not face higher taxes to alleviate public spending cuts.

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to set out official government policy in the autumn statement on 5 December, but the Conservatives have consistently rejected the Lib Dems' proposals for a "mansion tax".

Mr Clegg told MPs: "I don't think most people in this country, most ordinary people, think it's fair that a family can live in a family home where they are working hard to provide for themselves and they have to pay the same council tax as an oligarch living in a £5m mansion."

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron recently said there were "no plans" to introduce higher council tax bands for the most expensive properties in England.

But Mr Clegg insisted: "My view is that if you are a police officer who is seeing up to 20% cuts in the policing budget, if you are a teacher whose pay is being frozen, if you are someone whose benefits are being reduced, I think it would be very difficult to understand or explain why we are not asking people in very, very large, multimillion-pound homes to make an additional contribution as we have to tighten our belts further."

Questions to Mr Clegg were followed by questions to Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who told MPs that he had made "good progress" on preparing an application to the High Court for new inquests into the Hillsborough disaster.

The government expected to submit the application in December, he told MPs.

The families of the 96 fans who died as a result of the disaster have always challenged the original inquest verdict of accidental death, and Mr Grieve announced in October that he would apply to have the original verdicts quashed.


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