Labour pressure on Osborne over top rate of tax
Labour has been putting pressure on the Chancellor over the potential for another reduction, with Ed Balls writing in today’s Sunday Mirror that the Tories were planning to cut the rate from 45p to 40p.
“David Cameron and George Osborne must come clean this weekend,” the Shadow Chancellor wrote.
“If they carry on refusing to rule out another tax cut for millionaires people will conclude that’s exactly what they’re planning.”
Mr Osborne was quizzed on his intentions for the top band on Sky News’ Murnaghan programme and asked on four occasions explicitly to rule out a further cut.
“That's not our plan,” he said.
“You can judge us by what we say we want to do... And what we want to do is increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 so people full-time on the minimum wage don't have to pay income tax, and millions of people are better off.
“And when it comes to higher rate tax payers, our priority is increasing the threshold at which you pay that higher rate - the 40p rate - to 50,000. Now, those are our big tax commitments for the coming parliament.”
Chris Leslie, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, immediately seized on the comments.
He told Murnaghan: “When you asked him a moment ago, he repeated that same formula: ‘I have no plans.’ Well, of course that’s the same formula he had before the last general election when he said: ‘Oh, we have no plans on VAT’ and of course they did it.
“I think what you managed to do here is flush out the Chancellor. Their priority is always about helping the very richest in society.”
Labour has said it will restore the top rate of tax to 50p.