City hoping for tax cuts and loophole crackdown in Osborne’s March budget

THE CITY overwhelmingly supports a package of budget measures to cut taxes while cracking down on tax loopholes.

Over 80 per cent of those asked in City A.M./’s Voice of the City poll said they support cutting corporation tax and scrapping the 50p rate for the top income tax bracket.

But even more of those polled – 86 per cent – were in favour of closing a loophole that allows property owners to put houses in an offshore trust to avoid stamp duty.

Far fewer think the chancellor will actually incorporate their preferences: although over half – 53 per cent – think corporation tax will be slashed again, only 41 per cent think we will see the back of the 50p tax rate.

And the City is braced for an unpopular abolition of tax relief on pension contributions for top earners. Sixty-three per cent are against the measure (43 per cent said they view it as “very unfavourable”) but 60 per cent think George Osborne will announce it on Wednesday.

Half of City workers asked also favoured adding a new council tax band for mansions, which was as many as were in favour of “Downton Abbey tax breaks” to encourage home-grown TV productions.

Support for a mansion council tax band is much higher than for an additional two per cent “mansion tax” for properties worth over £2m, which is an idea supported by only 26 per cent of those asked.

Asked what one measure they would like to announce in Wednesday’s budget, most respondents prioritised a tax cut in one form or another, with many suggesting increasing the basic income tax threshold to £10,000, cutting corporation tax, a VAT cut, a NI cut, a fuel duty cut, abolishing the 50p rate and simplifying taxes.