Labour look at 50p tax for rich

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The Independent Online
Labour's Shadow Cabinet yesterday considered plans to raise income tax to a new rate of 50p for those earning more than pounds 100,000 a year, it was reported last night.

Gordon Brown, the shadow chancellor, is said to have presented the proposal which could raise more than pounds 1bn a year.

Tony Blair, the Labour leader, and Mr Brown have been moving towards a policy of a largely symbolic tax rise for those on the highest incomes for some time, but a spokesman for Mr Brown described a report in today's edition of the Times, similar to a report in the Independent earlier this week, as "pure speculation."

The Labour leadership is thought to have ruled out naming the pounds 100,000 figure last week as the level above which people would lose child benefit for teenage children. Mr Brown, announcing his plans to replace child benefit for 16- to 18-year-olds with an income-related education allowance, said he would announce detailed figures for tax, benefits and spending plans after the Budget in November.

But the leadership will come under intense pressure at the Labour conference next week to make a concrete statement that those on the highest incomes would pay more under a Labour government.

If this is the intention, Mr Blair and Mr Brown are certain to avoid proposing a simple increase in the present top rate of income tax, 40p in the pound, which comes in at around pounds 30,000 a year.