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Six out of ten Brits back Labour's plan to reintroduce the 50p income tax rate for the highest earners, according to a new poll.
- 60% agree with the policy
- 17% disagree
- 23% said they don't know or neither
While 40% of the 1,064 respondents disagree that the tax plan will make the rich leave Britain, 57% said they do not believe shadow chancellor Ed Balls will meet his pledge to balance the books in the next Parliament.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said restoring the 50p top rate of income tax does not mean Labour has an anti-business agenda.
Mr Balls told The Andrew Marr Show the plan would "raise a substantial amount of revenue" and that it was "a fair way to get the deficit down".
"This is not an anti-business agenda - it is an anti-business as usual agenda", he said. I'm pro-business, pro-investment but also pro-fairness".
The shadow chancellor also denied Labour would consider raising the income tax to 60p in the future.
Former Labour City minister Lord Myners has denounced Ed Balls' plan to restore the 50p top rate of income tax, calling it a return to "the politics of envy".
Lord Myners told the Sunday Telegraph: “The economic logic behind his Ed Balls’ thinking would not get him a pass at GCSE economics.”
“By contrast to Ed Miliband’s recent interventions on energy and banking, which tried to reconcile competitive markets with Labour principles, Ed Balls takes us back to old Labour and the politics of envy.”
Labour will "have to do more" to control welfare spending to meet its pledge to balance the books, Ed Miliband has said.
The Labour leader warned that major changes will be needed to "cut the costs of failure in the system" as the party creates its plan to wipe out the deficit by 2020.
Writing in The Sun on Sunday, he also dismissed criticism of Labour's plans to reintroduce the 50p top rate of tax, which shadow chancellor Ed Balls announced yesterday, insisting the move would not stop the wealthiest "working hard".
Mr Miliband wrote: "If we are to tackle the deficit, we also have to do more to control social security spending. That means making tough choices this Government has ducked, such as scrapping the winter fuel allowance for the richest five per cent of pensioners."
Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said "Labour's hypocrisy on taxation is breathtaking" after Ed Balls set out the party's economic policy ahead of the 2015 General Election.
Mr Alexander said the shadow chancellor's speech shows the party "have learned nothing from the last few years and would undermine the foundations of Britain's economic recovery" and reintroducing the 50 pence tax rate "wouldn't help".
He said: "In Government they left a system full of loopholes for the wealthy to exploit.
"Thanks to our action in Government to raise capital gains tax, reduce pensions tax relief for the wealthiest, and tackle avoidance, Lib Dems in Government are raising more from those who have the most and making Britain more competitive."
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said it is "not business as usual" for Labour after setting out Labour's economic policy ahead of the next General Election.
He told ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener: "We need to have, and work with business to create, jobs and get the long-term investment we need.
"We set out the radical reforms we need to do that - it's not business as usual, it's change.
"Labour will get the deficit down in a fair way by not going ahead with that top rate tax cut, and we'll deliver the investment and jobs that we need for the future."
The Institute of Directors (IoD) said Labour must "drop its practice of knee-jerk reversion to the old socialist nostrums" if the party wants to be taken seriously by business.
Director general Simon Walker said: "The 50p tax rate - actually 52p, because the last Labour government manipulated national insurance contributions - greatly damaged Britain's claim to being seen as a low-tax economy and actually drove down total tax receipts.
"It was, and remains, an envy-driven political gesture designed solely to drive a wedge between voters."
He added, "It will significantly damage Labour's credibility with the business community."
The Conservatives claim Labour has "no economic plan" following the shadow chancellor's speech on the economy.
A Conservative spokesman said: "All Ed Miliband and Ed Balls offer is more spending, more borrowing and more taxes.
"It’s the same old Labour - and hardworking people and their families would pay the price with a less financially secure future."
Latest ITV News reports
Ed Miliband answered questions for the first time this afternoon about his plans to re-introduce the 50p rate of income tax.
Politicians at both ends of the political spectrum need to be more honest about the true motivations behind their tax policies.