Johnson contradicts Miliband on 50p tax

SHADOW chancellor Alan Johnson has denied clashing with Ed Miliband over the 50p tax rate, amid criticism that the Labour Party is divided.

Party leader Miliband has said he plans to keep the tax rate for higher earners after the next general election.

But Johnson yesterday said that the tax should be reviewed nearer the election.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he said: “What me and Ed agree on is that we need a 50p tax rate now, we’ll need it at the next general election, but we’ll look at it closer to the time.”

Earlier this month Johnson admitted there were “very big” differences between him and the Labour leader.

He accused Miliband of committing to maintain the 50p tax “in the cut and thrust” of a leadership election, and has suggested that Labour could scrap the policy.

But a spokesman for Mr Miliband has said the party was committed to the tax rate “for the forseeable future”.

Michael Fallon, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, said: “Until [Miliband] stops dithering... he won’t get people to take an interest in Labour.”

IN QUOTES | HOW ALAN JOHNSON CONTRADICTED HIS BOSS

● Ed Miliband, 10 June
"Let me say plainly: I would keep the top rate of income tax at 50p permanently."

● Alan Johnson, 15 November
"We might not see the need for a 50p tax rate in five years' time."

● Ed Miliband, 22 November
“One of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning and that I care about is that Britain is a fundamentally unequal society and that’s the reason I said what I said about the 50p rate.”

● Alan Johnson, yesterday
"What me and Ed agree on is that we need a 50p tax rate now, we will need it at the next general election, but we will look at it closer to the time."