UK

Danny Alexander: Liberal Democrats Will Be 'Unflinching' In Cutting The Deficit

16/03/2013 14:38 GMT | Updated 16/03/2013 14:42 GMT

The Liberal Democrats in coalition will continue to be "unflinching" in the pursuit of deficit reduction, Danny Alexander has said.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury pledged to stick to austerity measures as protests against the so-called 'bedroom tax' took place across the country.

Addressing delegates at the Lib Dem Scottish conference in Dundee ahead of next week's Budget announcement, Alexander said his party would ensure the wealthiest contribute most to reducing the debt.

The minister said measures were already being taken to tackle "tax dodging" both on and off British shores, with new powers to clamp down on companies who avoid tax by putting their payrolls in tax havens to be taken forward in the Budget.

"Our message is clear," he said.

"British firms employing workers in Britain must pay British taxes.

"This is just one part of a much bigger package that we will announce at the Budget next week.

"There is no hiding place. Everyone must pay their fair share. Liberal Democrats in government are making sure they do."

In a speech which attacked the record of his political rivals in Labour and the SNP, Mr Alexander said: "Our commitment to getting the economy growing is unwavering.

"Fiscal discipline - sorting out the financial mess left by Labour - is an essential to that goal.

"That is why we will continue to be unflinching in our pursuit of deficit reduction. But we will not be unthinking."

He continued: "Since the Liberal Democrats entered Government, we have ensured that the wealthiest contribute the

most to dealing with the deficit.

"We have taken action every year to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share.

"Aggressive tax avoidance and evasion are wrong in the best of times, but in times like this they are totally unacceptable.

"And the British people will not tolerate it. Tackling this problem has been a big priority for me since I joined the Treasury."

Alexander said the Lib Dems were also working hard for low and middle earners.

He said ministers were close achieving its goal of ensuring that the first £10,000 people earn is income tax free.

"In less than three weeks, two million Scots will benefit from the biggest income tax cut for a generation.

"From April, those people will have seen their tax bill fall by £600 a year thanks to decisions that Liberal Democrats have made."