Osborne: 50p rate would hit poor

REINSTATING the 50p tax rate would hit the poorest in society instead of the richest, according to George Osborne.

Britain faces a “long, hard road”, the chancellor said, with more cuts on the way as he claimed retaining the 50p top rate of income tax would cost British jobs and investment. The top rate is due to drop to 45p next April.

He reaffirmed his commitment to “Plan A”, reducing Britain’s debt and deficit, admitting cuts would be the only option if the country is to avoid the same situation facing countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, where borrowing costs spiralled to such a level they required international bailouts.

“The 50p tax rate allows Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to say, ‘We charged the 50p rate’ – even though they know it raises no money, costs jobs and investment, and the people who suffer are not the richest but the poorest who cannot get jobs,” he said in the Telegraph.

“There will be lots of countries, neighbours of ours … who are going to duck difficult choices. In 20 or 30 years’ time, they will be much poorer and the world they leave to their children will be considerably worse than the one they inherited.

“I just don’t want that to be this country … It’s a longer and harder road that we have to travel down. There will have to be further cuts.”

Leader of the Labour Party Ed Milliband last week accused the government of “writing a cheque to each and every millionaire in Britain for £40,000”, vowing to keep the 50p and tax the bonuses received by bankers if he won the next election.

However, David Cameron claimed Labour’s economic policy did not “add up”, branding it “an empty vessel” with nothing on wealth creation, business stimulation or the deficit.

“It’s one nation – but it sounds more like East Germany than Great Britain,” the prime minister said.

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