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The 50p tax rate: What do voters think? What are the arguments? What is the revenue evidence?

is Britain's ranking in the World Economic Forum's tax competitiveness league table. We were 4th in the world at the end of the Major years.

former Tory Chancellors have said that the 50p tax rate should be abolished; Lord Lawson has called it "very dangerous, very unwise, very foolish" to keep 50p tax band. Lord Lamont has described it as "uncompetitive".

is the highest tax rate in Germany. It's 43% in Italy. 41% in Ireland. 40% in France. 35% in America and just 27% in Spain. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has concluded that 40% may be the ideal top tax rate if you want to maximise revenue.

Despite all this, only 27%
of all voters think the 50p tax rate should be abolished.

and 60%
think it should be kept.

But 45%
think the 50p tax rate should be abolished if it doesn't bring in any extra revenue.

while, regardless of its revenue-raising effect, 42%
think the 50p tax rate should be kept in all circumstances.

The latest evidence is the 50p tax might have reduced revenue by

But 2012
is the year in which George Osborne will look at all of the evidence on what the 50p tax has done and decide whether or not it should be cut.

is the position abolition of the 50p tax rate gets on the 'tax cut wish list' voted on by Tory members. Lower petrol prices is the tax cut most desired by the Conservative grassroots. A higher threshold for 40p taxpayers is more desirable.

top income taxpayers will pay £14.2bn in income tax this year. That's nearly as much as the £14.9bn contributed by the 13.93m people earning up to £20,000 a year. Allister Heath has also noted that "the top one per cent of taxpayers (roughly speaking, those on £150k and above) will pay a record 27.7% of the total income tax take in 2011-12, according to HMRC (they earned 12.6% of total income, down from 13.4% five years ago). This has increased from 26.6% the previous year, 21.3% in 1999-2000, 14% in 1986-87 and 11% in 1981-2."

think taxes on the wealthiest people in the country should be increased but a larger proportion - 42% - think taxes on the wealthiest should be left unchanged.

If you are going to tax the wealthy, 56%
of all Conservative voters support a mansion tax with just 38% opposing.

Most of the opinion polling in this blog came from YouGov's latest poll for The Sunday Times.


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