The news that the Government are planning to cut the top 50% income tax rate in the budget is, simply, outrageous. We can expect dubious statistics to be wheeled out to justify the move. But the Tories are being disingenuous. They claim that it’s a barrier to growth, while also arguing that it isn’t actually going to raise much revenue anyway. They can’t have it both ways! Surely, the answer rests in moves to end the tax evasion that is probably undermining the 50% rate and recognising that a genuinely progressive income tax is only fair given the basis for the wealth of the highest earners – surplus value appropriated from workers – and the real pain currently being experienced by the poorest in society.
Interestingly, the Tories appear to recognise that the cut could be politically damaging to the Government as it reveals starkly to all its class basis. Taken with the likelihood that the health and social care bill will be voted through in the near future (replacing the National Health Service with No Health Service), and their blindness to poverty as real wages fall and pensions and benefits are cut, the Government are starting to look increasingly vulnerable. The challenge for the Left is how we translate this into action which will topple this wretched bunch of plutocrats.