Peter Hoskin

How will Labour try to soak the rich?

How will Labour try to soak the rich?
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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.