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Tuesday 25th September 2012 | 12:58
Danny Alexander used his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference to announce a new clampdown on tax havens and a Government guarantee for Crossrail trains.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury also said the Lib Dems would put in their 2015 manifesto a pledge to raise the income tax threshold to £12,500.
Mr Alexander told delegates he wanted to focus on tax avoidance both in the UK and by those using overseas tax havens:"Last year we set up a new affluent unit within HMRC. I can report that it is already a success: it has raised £44m in less than a year.
"And so I can announce that we will build on that success and expand its remit to the wealthiest 500,000 people in the country, those with net wealth over a million pounds.
"The vast majority of taxpayers in this wealth bracket pay their fair share. We have this message to the small minority of wealthy people who don’t play by the rules: we are coming to get you and you will pay your fair share.
"But conference, tax dodging is not limited to our own shores. So when I say we are coming to get you and you will pay your fair share, I mean those hiding their assets offshore too. Back in 2009, Labour made an agreement with Liechtenstein that set a time limited window that closes in 2016 for people to bring their UK tax affairs up to date.
"They thought it would raise a billion pounds. Under this Government many more people are fessing up. So, we are doubling the size of the team focussed on Liechtenstein. With that extra effort we can recover much more from those who thought they could hide their money offshore. Up to three times more - £3bn."
On Crossrail, he said: "Right now, difficulties raising the necessary private funding in the market could delay their delivery. So I can announce to you today that the train contract for Crossrail will be the first project to qualify for a new government guarantee.
"And it will be the first of many across Britain, I am sure. We have rebuilt the confidence in this nation’s ability to pay its way in the world, we can now put that credibility to work for the British people."
Spliing out a pledge that the Lib Dems would put in their 2015 manifesto a pledge to raise the income tax threshold to £12,500, he said: "Very soon no one will pay Income Tax until they are earning more than £10,000, thanks to the Liberal Democrats. We promised it in our manifesto, we campaigned for it, and we had the courage to go into coalition to deliver it. At the next election, we will promise to raise that figure yet further, to £12,500. So that you don’t pay any Income Tax until you are earning more than a full-time salary on the minimum wage.
"And in 2015 people will know that promise is credible, because we have delivered in Government. Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, truly a record of action – a promise of more."