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Labour to cease pushing for 50p rate

LABOUR IS TO ABANDON its policy of a 50p tax rate, the shadow chancellor Chris Leslie has admitted.

During the previous government, former leader Ed Miliband and ex-shadow chancellor Ed Balls proposed raising the top rate of tax to 50p for people earning more than £150,000 per year.

Yet in a speech at Canary Wharf yesterday, Leslie (pictured) said it was time for the party to move on and instead focus on preventing the current Conservative government from reducing the current 45p rate, City AM reports.

“When it comes to the 50p rate, that issue is gone,” Leslie said. “The question now is whether the 45p rate is going to be reduced. I think the 45p rate is an important part of making sure we have fairness in our tax system. And if you’re going to see the chancellor taking away some of the support for people on middle and lower incomes, to give a tax cut down to 42p or 40p, I just don’t think that would be fair.”

Conservative backbenchers are thought to be pushing for a cut to the rate in next week’s Emergency Budget, while Leslie’s comments go against the views of the party’s leadership candidates Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, who both said they would seek to raise the top rate to 50p.

A key point of the party’s election strategy was challenging the taxation regime for non-domiciles, and while the issue may be broached in the the Emergency Budget, it is likely to fall short of its pre-election ambitions.

Ed Miliband described the regime as “arcane” at the time as the status is currently inherited down the male line, but not female.

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