George Osborne refuses to rule out cut in the top rate of income tax

The Chancellor repeatedly dodged the question on the Murnaghan programme

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The Chancellor has repeatedly refused to rule out a cut in the top rate of income tax for the country’s highest earners, should the Conservatives win the general election.

George Osborne said there were “no plans” to reduce the top rate of tax when asked on Sky News’ Murnaghan programme.

But Labour’s Chris Leslie claims that these were the same words the Chancellor used about a rise in VAT before the last election, which he subsequently raised from 17.5 to 20 per cent in 2011.

When pressed, Mr Osborne said: “You can judge us by what we say we want to do.

“What we want to do is increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 so people full-time on the minimum wage don't have to pay income tax, and millions of people are better off.

“And when it comes to higher rate tax payers, our priority is increasing the threshold at which you pay that higher rate - the 40p rate - to £50,000.”

The Prime Minister later echoed his Chancellor when he said: “It’s not our policy, it’s not our plan,” referring to a cut in the top rate of income tax.

Mr Leslie, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said the Conservatives priority was “always helping the very richest in society”.

The current top rate is set at 45p and kicks in for those earning more than £150,000, but was reduced by Mr Osborne from 50p in April 2013.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has vowed to reintroduce the 50p top rate, if Labour wins the election.

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