Lib Dem Conference: Alexander Tough On Tax
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has vowed to get tough on tax-dodgers as he insists there can be no Plan B on the economy.
Mr Alexander, speaking at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton, declared: "Fair taxes in tough times means everyone playing by the same rule book, and everyone paying 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."
The Lib Dem revealed he had asked HMRC and the Cabinet Office to come up with plans to stop corporate tax dodgers from competing for government contracts.
He said: "I have discovered that there is nothing that prevents the very small minority of firms that don't play by the rules from winning government contracts. That is not right."
The Lib Dem pressed the argument for a mansion tax because property, unlike money, cannot be moved offshore.
"An extra levy on high value property would get more money from those who can afford it," he said.
"It would ensure that the burden of the next round of deficit reduction is shared more fairly. We will continue to argue for it within government," he told delegates.
Mr Alexander claims a clampdown on tax dodgers will bring in "billion of pounds more" for the Treasury, including £3bn from Liechtenstein alone.
Looking ahead to the next spending round, he added: "We simply will not allow the books to be balanced in a way that hits the poorest hardest."
But he did warn that that benefits bill could not be spared further scrutiny: "At £220bn, welfare is one third of all public spending - and despite our painful reforms it is still rising.
"We will have to look at it. But that cannot, must not, and will not be the only place we look. We insist that the difficult choices must be fairly shared: that those who can afford more must contribute more."
On the wider economy, Chancellor George Osborne's deputy delivered a staunch defence of his boss' refusal to change course.
"There could not be a worse time to argue that we should abandon our plan. We won't do it. It is the foundation for everything else. It is the foundation for jobs and prosperity in the future," he will say.
However, he did say the Lib Dems would go into the 2015 election with a policy of a further £2,500 rise in the income tax threshold, taking it to £12,500.
The speech comes after Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable warned a vicious circle of little growth and ongoing cuts could develop.
He stressed that the economy must not "get stuck on a downward escalator where slow or no growth means bigger deficits leading to more cuts and even slower growth".