Deputy prime minister dismisses PM’s pledge to raise 40% income tax threshold and blasts cuts for working-age poor.
Nick Clegg has widened his attack on the Tories by accusing David Cameron of seeking to please middle and higher income earners by “spraying around unfunded moon-on-a-stick-type promises” of tax cuts.
He dismissed the prime minister’s pledge to raise the 40% income tax threshold from £41,900 to £50,000. Cameron failed to spell out how he would fund the cut in his conference speech last week, though Tory sources said it would be achieved through spending cuts.
Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Clegg said on Monday: “You will search in vain for any costed plans from the Conservatives. They are just spraying around unfunded moon-on-a-stick-type promises.”
The deputy prime minister, who has instructed his ministers to “brutalise” the Conservatives on their tax and spending plans, accused George Osborne of delivering a “bombshell moment” last week when he unveiled plans to freeze the benefits for the working-age poor.
The Lib Dems believe the chancellor created an “open goal” for them by exempting the rich from further tax increases and heaping more cuts on the working poor to help eliminate the budget deficit.
As he attacked Osborne’s plan to freeze benefits Clegg sought to portray the Lib Dems as the centre-ground party. He said: “You’ve got on the one hand a Labour party that of course famously just refused to talk about the economy, a leader that just failed to even address the deficit.
“Then you had this bombshell moment last week where George Osborne said very overtly, there is no secret about this now: if the Conservative party were in power on their own they would only ask the working-age poor to pick up the tab for the mistakes made by the bankers in the past. They would be the ones to make the additional sacrifices as we continue to do the difficult things necessary to fill the black hole in our public finances.”