UK & World News
Labour Would Restore 50p Top Rate Tax
Labour would restore the 50p top rate of tax if it gets into power at the next general election, the shadow chancellor has confirmed.
Ed Balls made the announcement in a pitch to run Britain's economy, during which he promised to balance the nation's books and cut national debt.
In his speech to the Fabian Society's annual conference in central London, he described Labour as the "party of radical economic change" and said it was "speaking up ... for working people" facing a "cost of living crisis".
He said the country is "crying out for real and lasting change" and claimed the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are "out of touch" with voters.
Mr Balls said: "When the deficit is still high, when tough times are now set to last well into the next parliament, when for ordinary families their real incomes are falling and taxes have risen, it cannot be right for David Cameron and George Osborne to have chosen to give the richest people in the country a huge tax cut.
"That's why, for the next parliament, the next Labour government will reverse this government's top rate tax cut so we can finish the job of getting the deficit down and do it fairly.
"For the next parliament, we will restore the 50p top rate ...†reversing this unfair tax cut for the richest 1% of people in the country."
In his speech, Mr Balls said Labour would introduce a 10p starting rate of tax, which he claims would "help make work pay and cut taxes for 24 million people on middle and lower incomes".
He also announced Labour would create the British Investment Bank to support small businesses, commit to building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 and expand free childcare for working parents to 25 hours a week.
"By supporting the long-term growth that will earn our way to higher living standards and help reduce the deficit, by rooting out waste in public spending, by making fairer choices on tax and benefit reform ... Labour can change Britain," he said.
The 50p - or 50% - "additional rate" tax, which is payable on income above £150,000, was cut to 45% on April 6 last year.
Mr Osborne abolished the higher rate, introduced by Labour in 2010, in his 2012 Budget, amid claims it raised just a third of the £3bn initially predicted.
"No Chancellor can justify a tax rate that damages our economy and raises next to nothing," the Chancellor said at the time.
Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: "It seems Labour have learned nothing from the last few years and would undermine the foundations of Britain's economic recovery.
"The coalition's economic strategy is dealing with the catastrophic mess we inherited from Labour. The action taken by Liberal Democrats in government is the foundation for the economic recovery that is now underway and helping more British people find work than ever before.
"Labour's answer is to borrow more over a longer period, which will leave a higher burden of debt to be dealt with by future generations.
"That is not fair or responsible. We need to stick to the plan to secure the recovery, not weaken our resolve now."
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