Cameron rules out 'mansion tax'

Banbury Cake: David Cameron has dismissed Liberal Democrat demands for a 'mansion tax' and benefit cuts for wealthy pensioners David Cameron has dismissed Liberal Democrat demands for a 'mansion tax' and benefit cuts for wealthy pensioners

David Cameron has dismissed Liberal Democrat demands for a "mansion tax" and benefit cuts for wealthy pensioners as part of efforts to tackle the deficit.

But the Prime Minister signalled that the coalition would be targeting the rich with new measures to help balance the books.

Interviewed on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show as the Conservatives kicked off a potentially tricky conference in Birmingham, Mr Cameron dodged questions about whether the economy was finally recovering from its double dip recession.

He also insisted it was "too early to say" whether the Government would miss its key target for public sector debt to be falling by 2015.

"I'm not an economic forecaster so I cannot tell you exactly what is happening in terms of the day-to-day growth, but I can tell you that our economy is rebalancing," he said.

Asked whether the debt target was set to be missed, he replied: "The figures for this year, it is too early to say where they are going to end up."

Mr Cameron said his party would "level" with the public about the need for another £16 billion of spending cuts in 2015-16.

"We have to find these spending reductions and if we want to avoid cuts in things like hospitals and schools, services that we all rely on, we have to look at things like the welfare budget," he said.

The PM insisted he was looking at "working age welfare", and would stand by his pre-election promise to protect universal benefits for pensioners - such as free bus passes and winter fuel payments.

But he said the overall deficit reduction effort would be "fair".

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