July 26, 2009 / 2:49 PM / 11 years ago

Rich must pay "fair share" -UK opposition leader

* Wealthy will not escape tax hardships, Cameron says

* Spending cuts necessary to reduce deficit

* Health and overseas aid ringfenced in spending cuts

By Avril Ormsby

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - Britain’s wealthy will have to "pay their fair share" in helping the country reduce its national debt, David Cameron, leader of the Conservative opposition party, said on Sunday.

High earners will be stuck with the 50 percent tax on earnings, he said, and the party, which opinion polls indicate is on track to win the general election due before next June, would "have to look at" changing a system that allowed families earning more than 50,000 pounds to receive tax credits.

Traditionally seen as the party of the rich because of its low tax policies, Cameron said the new approach was necessary if the budget was to be brought back in balance.

"In saying to the country that we need to reduce public spending, we need to get the budget balance under control, we’ve got to be able to demonstrate to people that this is fair, and seen to be fair, and everyone is putting their shoulder to the wheel and sharing in the difficult decisions," he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

"And that means the wealthy have to pay their fair share."

Cameron said he did not want those earning more than 150,000 pounds to be saddled with the 50 percent tax rate because "it’s a bad tax rise", but it would have to "take its place in the queue behind other more painful tax rises".

He said he still believed changing the tax on non-domiciled tax residents could fund a cut in inheritance tax for the middle classes.

But he said: "We can’t promise tax reductions, we can’t rule out tax increases" for any taxpayer.

Public spending will be a key battleground of the next election, with the Conservatives accusing Labour of ignoring reality by pledging to continue to spend.

Cameron said his party would ringfence health and overseas aid, but savings could come from scrapping the national identity card scheme and opting for smaller government.

He said he was against extending National Health Service charges, but was "happy" at looking at further road tolls. (Editing by Will Waterman)

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