Cameron refuses to rule out new millionaire tax cut
The prime minister today refused to rule out handing another tax cut to Britain's highest earners, following a campaign by senior Conservatives to slash the top rate of tax to 40p.
David Cameron refused to be drawn on the subject today at prime minister's question. Asked three times By Ed Miliband to rule out cutting the top rate of tax, the prime minister repeatedly refused.
"It is a very simple question. That is the point of these occasions," Miliband commented.
"He's had three opportunities to answer and he couldn’t give a straight answer to the question."
Pushed on the question at the Federation of Small Business conference, he would only say that it was "a matter for the chancellor in the Budget".
He added: "I'm a tax cutting Tory. Frankly I don't really like any taxes."
Conservative chairman Grant Shapps told the BBC today that the prime minister wanted to see "all taxes coming down including all rates of tax".
Cameron reportedly wanted to cut the top rate of tax to 40p back in 2012 but was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.
The prime minister's comments come after shadow chancellor Ed Balls yesterday urged the chancellor to rule out a further cut.
"Why will he not stand at the dispatch box and rule out another top-rate tax cut from the Conservatives in the next parliament?" Balls asked at yesterday's Treasury questions.
"Come on, George: stand up and rule it out."
The chancellor refused to take the opportunity, saying only that Labour's policy of raising the top rate to 50p was "anti-business" and "the biggest risk to the economic recovery".
London mayor Boris Johnson is now leading attempts for the government to "open up some more blue water, and cut the top rate back to 40p".
Writing in the Telegraph, Johnson claimed that higher taxes on the wealthy would actually bring in less revenue than lower ones.
He also accused Balls of wanting to make a personal attack on Britain's wealthy.
"Given the choice, [Balls] would rather have a higher rate of tax than higher tax revenues," he said.
"He would rather have the exquisite pleasure of seeming to stick it to rich people than stimulate the growth and the investment that actually produces more taxation. He would rather cut off his nose to spite his face."
The shadow chancellor yesterday came under a wave of attacks from Tory MPs following the release of GDP figures showing that the economy grew in every quarter of last year.
Balls looked increasingly uncomfortable at Treasury questions as he was mocked, with his surname the repeated subject of puns.
Even the Speaker John Bercow got in on the act.
Interrupting Tory MPs barracking the shadow chancellor, Bercow joked that: "In tennis, new balls come after the first seven games of a match and subsequently after every nine, so patience is required."
Osborne joined in telling the House that "What the opposition need are new crystal balls."
The shadow chancellor was not amused.
"Very good, chancellor—a joke about my name being Balls. Fabulous," he replied.