Peter Hoskin

How will Labour try to soak the rich?

How will Labour try to soak the rich?
Text settings

Brace yourselves.  According to today's Daily Express, Alistair Darling is under pressure to introduce a new 70 percent tax rate for high-earners in next week's Pre-Budget Report.  I repeat: s-e-v-e-n-t-y percent.

To be honest, I can't see the Chancellor doing it.  Leaping from 50p to 70p would be regarded as far too incendiary, not to mention fiscally insane, even for this government.  But I can still see them introducing a fair handful of soak-the-rich measures, if only to strengthen their reinvigorated attack line against the Tories.

In which case, I refer you to Polly Toynbee's column from a few months ago, in which she recommended that the 50p rate start at £100,000 instead of £150,000.  Now that would also be unwise, fiscally speaking, but it wouldn't be quite so incendiary as a 70p rate.  And, as I said at the time, I wouldn't be suprised to see Labour put their name to the measure – or something like it.  Watch this space.