Liberal Democrats have set out their strategy for delivering a balanced budget in the next Parliament.
Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander will outline the Liberal Democrats' plans to finish the job of balancing the books by 2017/18 through a mix of tax rises and spending cuts, ensuring that the job is finished fairly.
This balanced approach means the Liberal Democrats can protect vital public services like schools and hospitals while also looking after the most vulnerable in our society.
Liberal Democrats will finish the job of balancing the books while protecting vital public services. This will require increasing taxes on the very wealthiest and ensuring big businesses pay their fair share.
The plans outlined today do not require any increase in the headline rates of taxation, income tax, national insurance, VAT or corporation tax.
As well as finishing the job of balancing the books, Liberal Democrats will continue to protect NHS funding and the international aid budget.
Liberal Democrats will also protect the education spending from cradle to college and will also maintain the triple lock on the State Pension.
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said:
“The Liberal Democrats are the only party capable of building both a stronger economy and a fairer society.
“We will finish the job of balancing the books but we will finish the job fairly.
“It is incomprehensible to most people that you would try and balance the books without asking for a contribution from the wealthiest people in our country.
“Liberal Democrat plans are for a bigger tax contribution from those who can afford to pay – the wealthiest individuals and big businesses which are not always paying their fair share.
“We do not wish to raise the tax burden on those on low and middle incomes, which is why our plans do not involve any increase in the rates of income tax, NICs and VAT.
“In fact, we want to cut the taxes of those on low and middle incomes, as we have done in the Coalition Government, by further raising the tax free allowance to £12,500 over the course of the next parliament.
“If public services and the most vulnerable in society are to be protected, then the wealthiest and big business will have to pay their fair share.
“By taking this measured approach, the Liberal Democrats are able to protect our NHS and education spending from cradle to college.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman, Danny Alexander added:
“The Liberal Democrats have always been clear that when it comes to deficit reduction, we will finish the job but we will finish it fairly.
“As Chief Secretary to the Treasury, I have ensured that the wealthiest have made the biggest contribution to deficit reduction so far.
“It would be totally wrong to exempt those who have the most from playing a part in getting the job finished.
“We cannot finish the job of deficit reduction and finish it fairly so that we protect vital public services without asking the best off to pay a little more in tax.
“The job can only be finished fairly if those with the broadest shoulders continue to make the largest contribution.
“Ours is a balanced, sensible approach which follows the path we have pursued in the Coalition Government.
“It is an approach that will keep our economic recovery on track, and delivers the balanced budget our country needs without resorting to destructive and unnecessary cuts to spending and welfare.
“When balancing the books, we will stay the course - it is for other parties to lurch left and right.”