Labour is letting go of the 50p tax rate, the shadow chancellor has indicated.
In the last government, former Labour leader Ed Miliband proposed raising the top rate of tax to 50p for people earning more than £150,000 per year. But in a speech in Canary Wharf yesterday, shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said that the party had moved on, and would instead focus its efforts on stopping chancellor George Osborne from cutting the current 45p rate.
“When it comes to the 50p rate, that issue is gone,” Leslie said, adding, “The question is now whether the 45p rate is going to be reduced. I think the 45p rate is an important part of making sure we have fairness in our tax system. And if you’re going to see the chancellor taking away some of the support for people on middle and lower incomes, to give a tax cut down maybe down to 42p or 40p, I just don’t think that would be fair.”
Tory backbenchers are reportedly urging the chancellor to cut the higher rate of tax in next week’s summer budget.
Leslie’s comments yesterday were in sharp contrast to Labour leadership candidates Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, who have both recently said that they would work to raise the top rate of tax to 50p.