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George Osborne wants business to make the case for scrapping top tax rate

Make the argument for how detrimental the 50% tax rate is for jobs and investment, chancellor tells British executives in Davos

George Osborne urged business to make the case for the scrapping of the 50% income tax rate as he gave his clearest signal yet of his desire to reduce taxes on the wealthy.

The Conservative chancellor told a lunch of British executives in Davos: “I have always said this is a temporary tax. The long-term damage of this tax is potentially quite considerable, and that’s why it is temporary.”

Osborne said that his predecessor, Alistair Darling, had made it clear that the tax was not intended to be permanent when it was announced as a emergency measure to repair some of the damage to the public finances caused by the recession of 2008-09.

He added: “Frankly, if the business community wants to make the argument about how detrimental the 50% tax is for investment and job creation, it should go away and do it.”

But Treasury sources played down the prospect of any change to tax rates in this year’s budget, saying that officials were still waiting for a full year’s data on how much revenue the 50% rate had reaped.

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