Poll shows huge public support for Ball’s 50p tax gambit

Public support for Ed Ball's plan to reintroduce the 50p tax rate for top earners stands at 61%, despite several days of attacks from the media and business leaders.

The YouGov poll for the Times found just 26% of people opposed the policy.

Forty per cent of respondents said they would support the policy on moral grounds even if it did not raise revenue.

Labour voters are particularly supportive, but the policy polls comparatively well even with Tory voters.

The poll seems to confirm David Cameron's admission that reintroducing the 50p tax rate was "politically convenient" and substantiates a snap Daily Mail poll by Survation which put support for the new tax rate at 60% with just 17% opposed.

The positive polling comes amid a slew of negative reports for Labour.

Amid attacks from Tories, the press and business leaders, the Labour policy was also criticised by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which said it would raise "little revenue".

Labour donor Richard Caring expressed his dissatisfaction with the policy, branding it "extreme socialist nonsense".

A ComRes poll for the Independent saw Labour's lead cut to just one point, with the party polling 33% (down four) to the Tories' 32% (unchanged).

A YouGov poll for the Sun made for similarly grim reading, with the party on 37% and the Tories on 35%.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats unveiled new measures intended to target the rich in a bid to differentiate themselves from the Conservatives.

The junior coalition partners unveiled a two-pronged approach: the introduction of their pre-existing mansion tax policy and a reduction in the tax-free pensions lump sum.

Under plans drawn up by Danny Alexander in the Treasury, new banded charges on properties over £2 million and £5 million would be introduced.

The work on the policy has already been done in preparation for the 2012 Budget, but it was vetoed by David Cameron.

The party will also propose reducing the total amount people can save tax-free on their pensions by 20% to £1 million.

The limit currently stands at £1.5 million but is due to fall to £1.25 million in April.

Both schemes are intended to raise £2 billion a year.