George Osborne has launched an outspoken attack on his Liberal Democrat colleagues, claiming they could wreak “economic chaos” in a future government.
Nick Clegg wants to mete out “hefty” income tax and national insurance increases to avoid further significant cuts to public spending, according to the Chancellor.
He insisted the junior coalition party’s plans for a mansion tax would do little to balance the books and they would have to use other hikes to make up the shortfall.
The Deputy Prime Minister was accused of trying to distance himself from the autumn statement earlier this week after failing to show up for the set-piece Commons event, but insisted he fully supported the measures that had been announced.
“It’s hard to work out exactly what they (the Lib Dems) think,” Mr Osborne told The Sunday Times.
“While they sign up to deficit reduction, they want more tax rises rather than spending cuts.
“But they shouldn’t pretend to people that the sums required can be achieved by their homes tax alone. If you want higher taxes to do the heavy lifting, you’d also need to increase taxes like income tax or national insurance.
“The battle lines for the general election have been drawn this week. There’s a clear choice: a competent plan to stay on course to prosperity with us or a return to economic chaos with all the alternatives.”