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'Lib Dems would end age of austerity in three years'

Nick Clegg in The Shard, London, today, where where he said that wealthy individuals and banks would face an £8 bn tax hike under the Liberal Democrats Credit: PA

Nick Clegg said that the era of "austerity" would end in three years under the Liberal Democrats, in a keynote speech today.

He said that through his party's "sensible, balanced approach," public services and the most vulnerable in society would be protected.

Speaking alongside Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, the deputy prime minister outlined plans for wealthy individuals, big businesses and banks to face an £8 billion tax hike under the Liberal Democrats.

He also accused the Conservative Party of coming up with "kooky, made-up figures" in their plans to clear the deficit.

Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie said the Lib Dems could not be trusted having broken their promise not to raise VAT while backing Tory plans to cut the top rate of tax.

Clegg: Big firms, banks face £8bn tax hike under Lib Dems

Nick Clegg in The Shard, London, today, where where he said that wealthy individuals and banks would face an £8 bn tax hike under the Liberal Democrats Credit: PA

Nick Clegg has said that wealthy individuals, big businesses and banks would face an £8 billion tax hike under the Liberal Democrats.

In a speech today, he explained the plan as: "A balanced approach to tax and spend that asks the wealthiest in our society to contribute a little more.

"Our plans mean there is no need to increase income tax, VAT or National Insurance rates."

He conceded that the party would make cuts, but said they would be £38 billion less than the Conservatives and that the party will have borrowed £70 billion less than Labour.

"Yes, there will be more cuts - £16 billion worth, including £4 billion from the welfare budget," he said. "But that means that in the second half of the parliament we will be getting the national debt down and putting money back into our public services."

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The sound track to the General Election

The sound track to the General Election Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

In case you wondered, this is what the General Election will sound like....

  • Conservatives; only we can protect the Economy.
  • Labour; only we can protect the NHS.
  • Liberal Democrats; only we can protect you from those two.
  • UKIP; only we can protect you from Europe.
  • SNP; only we can protect Scotland.
  • Greens; only we can protect the Environment.

The exciting thing is that no one, but no one, quite knows what the British electorate most wants protected, and we won't find out until the 8th of May.

Clegg sets stage for election battle in New Year message

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has set the stage for a bitter General Election battle next year, warning that "a lot of mud will be thrown" in the run-up to polling day.

The Liberal Democrat leader urged voters in his New Year message to give his party the chance of a second term in Government, rejecting the politics of "grievance, fear and blame" offered by their rivals.

Clegg said 2015 should be a "year for optimism" but that the two main parties presented the electorate with a "pretty grim choice".

"This year, a lot of mud will be thrown. A lot of over the top claims will be made, a lot of accusations will be hurled around the place. Ignore them," he added.

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