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Govt to step up ‘ruthless pursuit’ of tax avoiders

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The Conservative government will not introduce a 'wealth' or 'mansion' tax on the rich, but will step up its pursuit of those who are not paying the taxes they should, Chancellor George Osborne said today.
Govt to step up ‘ruthless pursuit’ of tax avoiders

Delivering his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham this afternoon, Osborne said he would make it “more and more uncomfortable” for wealthy people to evade paying their taxes.

“This is not idle rhetoric,” Osborne said, adding the Treasury was already collecting some £4bn extra a year in unpaid taxes. He said he expected that figure to increase.

“We are the party for low taxes for the many, not of no taxes for the few,” he said.

Osborne confirmed he would not be introducing a ‘wealth’ tax, or an annual ‘mansion’ tax on some property owners, two ideas mooted by the Liberal Democrats.

But he dismissed suggestions the coalition government had been soft on the rich.

“Each budget has increased overall taxes on the richest,” he said. “We’ve got rid of a cripplingly-ineffective 50p [income tax] rate that raised no money and cost jobs. It is a phoney conception of fairness to stick with that tax rate…just to say you’ve kicked the rich.”

He added it was “economic delusion to think you can balance the economy on the wallets of the rich”.

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