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Jennie Johnson
Brian Hay
Charlie Mullins
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Richard O'Sullivan

UK’s richest people should pay more tax, says Nick Clegg

The richest people in the UK should pay more tax, according to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

In an interview with the Guardian, he said the emergency tax would help to prevent a breakdown in social cohesion as the UK fights an “economic war”.

Clegg (pictured), who has just returned from a family holiday in Spain, suggested any additional payments would be “time limited”.

He also said that fairness is vital when it comes to tackling the recession.

"If we are going to ask people for more sacrifices over a longer period of time, a longer period of belt tightening as a country, then we just have to make sure that people see it is being done as fairly and as progressively as possible.

"While I am proud of some of the things we have done as a Government I actually think we need to really hard-wire fairness into what we do in the next phases of fiscal restraint.”

However, there has been a mixed reaction to Clegg's comments.

Richard Heyes, managing director of digital marketing agency Tecmark, said in principle the idea that the "incredibly rich" pay more tax "seems fair".

"Although, based on what I have read regarding the introduction of the 50p tax rate, I would question its effectiveness. All of the evidence seems to point towards no additional revenue being brought in due to migration and avoidance schemes."

He explained that it is a question of how such a scheme is deployed and said that the long-term effects need to be weighed up.

"So, for example, if you target the very top earners, which include most premier league footballers, this could lead to an exodus of the top players to other European clubs.

"In athletics, Usain Bolt has already been quoted as saying he cannot run in Britain as his tax liability in the UK would exceed his appearance fees. The same could apply to entrepreneurs, bankers or anyone else targeted by these types of rich tax schemes.

"If entrepreneurs set up businesses abroad this will of course have a negative impact. There are lots of examples of companies moving to Ireland and elsewhere in Europe to pay lower rates of tax, not simply for personal greed, but in some cases to maximise the growth in fast-emerging international markets without the burden of the extra UK tax," Heyes added.

Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, said, "I'd rehash all the reasons why such ideas are complete idiocy, but I can't be bothered, since Clegg has no interest, intention, power or mandate to increase the tax burden.

"In fact, all he is interested in is the rapturous applause from his party delegates.

"If this is the idiocy we are forced to endure from those who are charged with running the place then I'm going to use my vote on an X Factor contestant next time . . . and I don't mean to sing a song, since I'm sure they have at least as good a grasp of financial policy as Clegg's sandal-wearing minions."

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Steve White said the scheme is "pure desperation".

"We need the banks to free up lending and cut the red tape for small businesses too," he added.

Simon Lewis described Clegg's comments as "total nonsense". He also asked, "Why did he [Clegg] cut the top rate of tax?"

John Ellis ‏stated, "There's no definition of fair that means treating one group differently to another. Everybody should pay."

However, Aisha Roth thinks the deputy prime minister's idea is “fair”.

By Kirsty Hewitt

UK’s richest people should pay more tax, says Nick Clegg
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