Lib Dem Simon Hughes says rich must pay more

Simon Hughes Credit: ITN

The Liberal Democrats are not committed to "hanging on" to the 50p tax, the party's deputy leader Simon Hughes has said.

Mr Hughes said individual tax rates were not a "central aspect" of Wednesday's Budget for Lib Dems as long as the wealthiest end up paying more overall.

This comes amid days of speculation that Chancellor George Osborne will cut the levy to 45p next year and abolish the top rate by the time of the next election.

Mr Hughes said the Lib Dem manifesto committed them to lifting people out of tax at the bottom by closing loopholes at the top.