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Clegg's plan to balance the books

Published 12/04/2015

Lib Dems leader Nick Clegg says he will cut less than the Tories and borrow less than Labour
Lib Dems leader Nick Clegg says he will cut less than the Tories and borrow less than Labour

Nick Clegg will promise "light at the end of the tunnel" as he sets out Liberal Democrat tax and spending plans designed to eliminate Britain's deficit by 2017/18.

The Deputy Prime Minister will say the plan has "a heart as well as a brain", as he attempts to drive home his claim that Lib Dems will cut less than Conservatives and borrow less than Labour.

Spelling out plans for a consolidation totalling £27 billion by 2017/18, made up of £12 billion in additional tax, £12 billion in public spending reductions and £3 billion in welfare cuts, Mr Clegg will challenge the other parties to spell out in similar detail how they would balance the nation's books.

He will acknowledge that the two years following the May 7 General Election will not be easy. But he will claim that Lib Dems are the only party offering a "balanced" programme to pay down the remaining deficit and deliver a £7.7 billion surplus, while still finding money to raise income tax thresholds to £11,000 and invest in the NHS.

Among the Lib Dem deficit-reduction plans to be confirmed by the party's leader are:

:: Removing winter fuel payments and free TV licences from wealthy pensioners, saving £125 million;

:: Keeping the 1% cap on working-age benefit rises for the next two years, raising £160 million;

:: Abolishing tax breaks for workers who give up employment rights, to raise £200 million;

:: Placing new restrictions on capital gains tax worth £700 million; and

:: Aligning dividend tax rates with income tax for higher and top rate taxpayers, bringing in £1.2 billion.

Mr Clegg will say: "We have a plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, which means we will cut less than the Conservatives and borrow less than Labour.

"It's a plan to protect our economy and invest in our schools, hospitals and public services ... a plan with a heart as well as a brain."

He will add: "I can't promise you the next two years will be easy. Your hard work and sacrifice has turned our economy around, but there is still a job to finish.

"But, with the Liberal Democrats, there is light at the end of the tunnel and the only way to continue the balanced approach that the coalition has taken is to put Liberal Democrats in Government again."

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