Top-rate tax cuts will happen “over my dead body”, says Danny Alexander

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander appears to be dicing with death after his remarks that a reduction in the top rate of income tax, from 45p to 40p would happen “over my dead body”.

The most senior Lib Dem in the Treasury made the comments despite pressure from London Mayor Boris Johnson to reduce the tax, and a refusal from David Cameron to rule out a reduction.

Alexander said that the current level of tax, which was reduced from 50p to 45p in the 2012 budget, was the “right place to be”.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Johnson piled pressure on Alexander to cut the tax rate, which applies to those who earn more than £150,000 a year.

Johnson said: “The last thing I want to see is pointless sacrifice from the Liberal Democrats, let alone the dead body of Danny Alexander.”

“Sooner or later there will have to be a new Conservative manifesto and I can’t believe we are going to go into an election on a manifesto to keep our tax rates higher than our competitor countries.”

“Who can say what will happen to Danny Alexander?” Johnson added. “Stranger things have happened at sea.”

Meanwhile Labour has promised a return to the 50p rate of tax for the highest earners.

Chris Leslie, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said to the Guardian: “Danny Alexander seems to have forgotten that just 10 months ago he cut the top rate of tax for the top 1% of earners. And that was after saying anybody who wanted to do this was living in cloud cuckoo land.

“After cutting taxes for the richest while breaking their election promise by raising VAT on everybody else, nobody will believe a word the Lib Dems say on tax.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • we seem to have forgotten that the nil band was also withdrawn, a fairly significant tax increase for those of us just the wrong side of the 150k band. Also who said that 150k is 'rich'. It's clearly well paid but in London (given the cost of living) its hardly plutocratic for a family. Why the spite towards those of us who worked hard at school and at our jobs? This is the politics of envy and its sad that so many feel sufficiently excluded from our society to regard this as acceptable.

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