Amendment sought over top tax rate

WalletLabour has insisted there is a "better way" to tackle Britain's economic woes as it reopened a row over the top rate of income tax.

The Opposition has launched a bid to tack an amendment on to the Finance Bill, which enacts this year's Budget, obligating the Chancellor to review revenues which could be raised by putting the 50p rate back for the 2014/15 year. The Labour plan would also force the Chancellor to report on the losses to the Treasury this year of cutting the rate to 45p at the 2012 Budget.
Despite repeated questioning of whether Labour would itself reinstate the 50p rate, shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said her party would not commit two years before a general election.

But she said her party's beliefs and principles were clear. "This Government has, as we said right at the outset, cut too far, too fast - we have had all the pain for none of the gain that the Government promised," she said. "Constituents we meet on a day-to-day basis, they know their living standards are dropping. They know the money in their purse does not go as far at the end of the week because prices are rising at a time when wages at best are stagnating and at worst are dropping.
"We believe there is a better way and there is an alternative. We have consistently said we would use a tax on those massive (bank) bonuses to fund a jobs guarantee for every young person who has been out of work for a year or more."

Ms Jamieson said the move was necessary because the trends in long-term unemployment remained "extremely concerning". She added: "The facts speak for themselves. They show the Government prioritises those at the top and leaves everyone else to struggle."

Shadow treasury minister Chris Leslie later called on the Treasury to publish calculations showing how much it would cost property owners if there was a "mansion tax" on properties valued at more than £2 million. Labour wants the money generated by such a levy - estimated to be around £2 billion by the Liberal Democrats - to be used to bring back a 10p income tax rate to help low-earners.

Mr Leslie moved an amendment in the Commons asking for proposals on a 10p rate and a mansion tax to be put before the Commons six months after the Finance Bill receives Royal Assent. The Labour MP said the Government has outlined in the Finance Bill a mansion tax on properties valued at more than £2 million which are owned by companies, known as the annual tax on enveloped dwellings.

Conservative minister David Guake, intervening, said to Mr Leslie: "You say the objective of Labour is to raise £2 billion. Our assessment is there are 55,000 properties worth more than £2 million in the country. We've got the finest minds on the treasury working on this and they've divided £2 billion by £55,000 - it does not require a huge amount of work - and you end up with an average of £36,000 a year as the annual levy. That's the average."

Labour tabled a further amendment to the Bill, which called on the Government to force multinational companies to publish a statement on how much corporation tax they paid in the UK. The amendment also called on the Government to work to set up a "global standard" for the public registration of companies, as well as working with developing nations to help them recover tax owed by multi-national companies.

The richest self-made Brits
See Gallery
Amendment sought over top tax rate

The Monaco-based billionaire is said to be worth more than £4.2bn, with Topshop and Topman among the country's most successful brands. His first job, aged 12, was working for a shoe importer. He set up his first business at 15 with a £20,000 loan, on-selling imported jeans from the Far East to London-based retailers.

Branson's first successful business venture came in 1976 when he set up Student magazine aged just 16. In 1970, he founded a mail-order record retailer and within a year had opened his first shop on London's Oxford Street – Virgin Records. His fortune is estimated at £3.085 billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

The inventor gave his name to the household vacuum cleaner that would make him a fortune of £1.45 billion. James Dyson first reinvented the vacuum cleaner with the launch of his dual cyclone bagless 'G-Force' cleaner in 1983, followed more recently by the hand dryer and the fan. In 1997, Dyson was awarded the Prince Phillip Designers Prize, and elected a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.

Founder of Specsavers, Bristol-born Dame Mary Perkins is Britain's first female self-made billionaire, reportedly worth £1.15 billion. The 67-year-old and her husband Douglas, 68, founded the eye-care company in 1984 and they can now boast more than 900 stores across Britain. Perkins was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 as recognition for her work.

Recently retired Beckham is the highest earner in British sport, according to the Sunday Times Sport Rich List. 'Brand Beckham' that has seen the 38-year-old amass a fortune of £165 million from endorsement deals and salary payments from his company, Footwork Productions, over the last decade. But Beckham is still some way off the richest sportsman in the world - golfer Tiger Woods, who is worth a staggering £570m.

Yorkshire Tory peer Lord Kirkham entered the billionaire league in 2010 when he sold his furniture company, DFS, for a reported £500m. In 41 years, Kirkham grew the brand, which started on the outskirts of Doncaster, to 79 stores, three factories and more than 2,600 staff. He received a Knighthood in 1995, a Peerage in 1999 and a CVO in 2005. He now owns a large share in Iceland supermarkets and is worth a reported £1.1billion.

The former Beatle takes the top spot in the Sunday Times Rich List of musical millionaires, sharing a £680 million fortune with his wife Nancy Shevell. McCartney has topped the list of wealthy musicians every year since it was formed 1989 when his fortune was estimated at £80 million.

The chairman of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk, Essex-born Dunstone, 46, started his retail empire selling mobile phones from his west London flat in 1989. His fortune rose by £396 million to £1 billion in a year, after the demerger of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk. Carphone Warehouse is Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer and Dunstone was awarded a Knighthood in 2012 for services to the mobile communications industry.

Author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, has a net worth of £560 million – making her the world's richest author. Rowling wrote the first Potter books on a manual typewriter while a single mother living on benefits. The manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 publishers and when finally accepted, Rowling received an advance of just £1,500. Harry Potter is the highest-grossing film series of all-time and the brand has been estimated to be worth as much as £10 billion.

East-ender Lord Sugar, best known for his no-nonsense judging on BBC1s The Apprentice, started his career at 16, selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with savings of £50. In 1968 at the age of 21, Sugar started home electronics company, Amstrad (short for Alan Michael Sugar Trading). By the age of 40 he was worth about £600m. Sir Alan sold Amstrad in 2007, and is now worth a reported £770m, with much of his wealth coming from his extensive property empire.


More stories

Read Full Story