Labour MP calls for supertax on £40,000-a-week David Beckham

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The Independent Football

He lost his first game in charge as England captain, his autobiography has been slated by reviewers and his wife's new album failed to reach number one.

He lost his first game in charge as England captain, his autobiography has been slated by reviewers and his wife's new album failed to reach number one.

Now David Beckham has become the focal point of a campaign led by a Labour MP who wants him and other footballing superstars to be forced to pay a "super-rich" tax.

Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South, attacked the "obscene" wealth of the Manchester United midfielder and called for a new tax rate for all those earning more than £40,000 a week.

Mr Simpson, who himself plays for the Labour MPs' football team ("for free", he points out), said it was time Mr Beckham put more back into the public coffers.

In an interview for website ePolitix.com, published today, Mr Simpson said the public felt it was "grossly unfair" that those on middle incomes paid the same 40 per cent higher tax rate as multi-millionaires.

He said: "When you start to talk to people about the superstar lifestyles, whether it's in the music industry or the salaries being paid weekly to the nation's footballers - the Beckhams of the world - the amount of money going to the super-rich is quite rightly viewed as obscene in itself. But it is grossly unfair when people who are on, say, £40,000 a year, are actually only in the same tax bracket with other people who are earning that amount per week.

"There is a broad consensus in society which says that the super-rich are getting off super-light in the tax regime. There is a realisation that those who are on lower and middle incomes predominantly pick up the tax contributions."

Mr Simpson said there was increasing support on the Labour backbenches for "progressive" taxation and felt the issue was no longer an "unmentionable" in the forthcoming general election campaign.

Calls for higher tax rates have been triggered in recent days by the revelation that Sir Elton John blew £40m on a spending spree in less than two years.Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, said on BBC's Question Time that Sir Elton had a right to spend his money how he saw fit, but he should be careful to take account of public reaction. Mr Hoon said the pop star would do well to see at first hand the plight of some of Britain's underprivileged and "think again" about his spending habits.

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