Alexander goes to war with unions and tax evaders

By politics.co.uk staff

Danny Alexander started a war on two fronts today, when he attacked trade unions and tax evaders in his speech to the Liberal Democrat conference.

The chief secretary to the Treasury said some unions were “spoiling for a fight” and would misrepresent the coalition government’s arguments about the deficit.

“There are a minority in the trade unions who will deliberately misrepresent what this government stands for,” he told delegates.

But Mr Alexander also focused his fire on wealthy tax evaders, who will be the focus of government action when parliament returns.

“There are some people who seem to believe that not paying their fair share of tax is a lifestyle choice that is socially acceptable. It is not,” he said.

The comments suggest the Lib Dem may have secured promises of firmer action against tax evasion following the comprehensive spending review next month.

Liam Byrne, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, commented: “I welcome any and every crackdown on tax dodgers. But it’s clear the Lib Dems have become the Tories’ useful idiots; offering progressive poses for a Conservative Budget that hits the poorest hardest and an economic strategy that puts honest people’s jobs at risk.

“I’m afraid those decent people will see straight through them”

An additional £900 million has been dedicated to a clampdown on offshore tax evasion and tobacco and alcohol smuggling over the next four years.