Lib Dems urge chancellor to lift tax threshold

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County council leader repeats authority bid

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has signed a letter to the chancellor calling for him to lift the lowest earners out of paying income tax.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson is one of more than 100 Lib Dem council leaders and council group leaders to put their names to a letter to George Osborne insisting his focus should be on raising tax thresholds.

The letter states: ‘We lead Liberal Democrat council groups across the country and are calling on you to listen to the Lib Dem call to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000 faster than originally planned.

‘Giving working people on lower incomes more support has to be a top priority. This will mean over two and a half million low wage earners across the country will not have to pay any income tax at all – and other lower earners will still get a substantial tax cut.’

Their call comes as speculation builds that the chancellor is planning to announce he will axe the 50p tax rate in Wednesday’s budget.

In the letter the Lib Dem councillor added: ‘One choice the government should make is to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share and speed up the plan for the burden to be lifted on the poorest.

‘This also means that if there is ever any reduction in the 50p top rate of income tax then new taxes that target the rich must be introduced so the wealthy pay their share.’

In the past year there has been a concerted campaign by some economists and business people in favour of scrapping the 50p rate.

They have claimed that it deters entrepreneurship and investment and that keeping it would raise little extra tax anyway.