Broughton hits out at 50p rate

OUTGOING CBI president Martin Broughton slated Alistair Darling&rsquo;s Budget last night, and said the 50p top tax rate was &ldquo;a piece of economic vandalism.&rdquo;<br /><br />Speaking at the CBI&rsquo;s annual dinner, he said the Budget had not helped out the ailing economy, and that its measures had been based on &ldquo;heroic growth assumptions&rdquo;.<br /><br />And he said the tax rate equated to a &ldquo;tearing up of the manifesto commitment to the country&rsquo;s entrepreneurial class.&rdquo;<br /><br />He also hit out at the government for trying to divert media attention away from its failure to tackle the growing deficit.<br /><br />Broughton said focusing on core services and cutting back on non-essential ones was preferable to putting up income tax.<br /><br />But Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended the tax, and said it was in fact necessary to address the growing deficit.<br /><br />Brown added that it was a duty of the government to boost the economy, and the UK&rsquo;s deficit wouldn&rsquo;t start to drop until its economy started to grow.<br /><br />He claimed the 10-year plan from the government would eventually bring the country&rsquo;s tax regime back to a reasonable level, and that the 50p tax rate for those earning over &pound;150,000 was part of that plan.<br /><br />&ldquo;I regret the fact that in our plan for sustainable public finances, which includes very substantial efficiency savings in the public services, we have also had to take decisions on taxation,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />And he insisted that the economy was better placed to fight against the downturn than it had been in previous recessions.