Miliband wavers on 50p tax rate

50p: Causing problems for Labour
50p: Causing problems for Labour

By staff

Ed Miliband appears to have wavered on his commitment to retaining the 50p tax rate following signs of internal disagreement over the weekend.

Alan Johnson admitted there was a difference of opinion on a graduate tax and the 50p top rate of tax between himself and Mr Miliband while talking to the BBC on Sunday.

Mr Miliband came out in support of the graduate tax and retaining the 50p tax rate "permanently" during the election campaign.

But Mr Johnson appeared to dismiss that over the weekend, saying the statements had come "in the cut and thrust" of the leadership contest.

Today Mr Miliband's spokesperson said of the 50p tax rate: "We remain committed to it for now and for the foreseeable future."

The downgrading of "permanently" to "for the foreseeable future" leaves the door open for Mr Miliband to back down from his support for the policy as he negotiates position statements with leading figures inside the party.

Deputy Tory chairman Michael Fallon was keen to comment on Labour's internal problems this afternoon.

"Nearly two months into the job Ed Miliband is losing the support of his own shadow chancellor on the key issues," he said.

"Ed Miliband cannot get his house in order. Is he for keeping the 50p tax rate permanent or is he against it? Is he for a graduate tax or is he against it? Is he for a cap on housing benefit or is he against it?"

The Tories supported the 50p rate, but are expected to scrap it before the 2010 general election once the deficit reduction plan is in its final stages.


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