The Labour Party in Blackpool: Kinnock defines rich as pounds 60,000

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NEIL KINNOCK embarrassed Labour's leadership by doing what they have scrupulously avoided - defining the rich as those who earn more than pounds 60,000.

Tony Blair, John Prescott and Gordon Brown, the Shadow Chancellor, have avoided defining where top rates of tax would bite under a Labour Government, but yesterday Mr Kinnock had no such inhibitions. The former Labour leader told a fringe meeting: 'As far as the rich are concerned, I think you can use figures. You can talk about individual income in excess of pounds 60,000 a year.'

Ensuring that the rich paid more was, Mr Kinnock said, 'a matter of rebalancing tax contributions . . . in such a way as not seriously to discourage enterprise' while ensuring that 'each citizen does pay much more closely according to their means'.

Mr Kinnock declined an invitation to name the tax rate that those over pounds 60,000 should pay. His definition of rich would embrace a cross-section of leaders of society. According to Incomes Data Services, a company which monitors pay levels, it would have been the going rate last year for a salaried partner in a firm of City solicitors, for the chief executive of a company with a turnover of less than pounds 25m a year or for a senior foreign exchange dealer.

The highest paid cleric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was not rich in Mr Kinnock's terms, earning only pounds 45,000 without taking his car, palace and expenses into account.

Most chief constables are rich, some not, with salaries ranging from nearly pounds 50,000 to more than pounds 70,000. Cabinet ministers are rich, with a salary after their last increase of pounds 68,749.

Mr Kinnock's salary - pounds 103,000 - as a European Commissioner makes him rich, although by a strange chance his salary as leader of the opposition left him not quite rich - exactly pounds 64 short of pounds 60,000.

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