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Page last updated at 08:12 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 09:12 UK

Clegg: Budget 'as fair as possible'

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Nick Clegg has said it is "not right" that the lowest income earners will pay more than the rich following this week's budget.

Interviewed by Today presenter John Humphrys, the deputy prime minister said "top earners make a much bigger contribution than anyone else.

"We're going to take very exceptional measures to ensure that fairness is instilled."

When challenged on his party's U-turn on raising VAT, which they had previously called a regressive tax, Mr Clegg said all parties did not rule out a rise in VAT.

"Things have changed over the past couple of weeks," he commented. "We didn't know that £44bn of cuts that had been announced before the election by the Labour government were completely and utterly unfunded.

"If we don't do anything the first thing that will happen is that interest rates will go up and that is the surest guarantee that we will get a double dip recession," he added.

"The money will have to come from other taxes or from taking money away from schools and hospital. Do I like it, of course not."

My Clegg said that he understood the "controversy" around the budget but that it was "unavoidable" and "as fair as possible".

He rejected the claim that the Liberal Democrat's centre-left position was being sacrificed in the coalition government: "I am a liberal politician. it is morally wrong to not take action now", to tackle the debt.


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