POLITICS
27/03/2012 12:57 BST

Osborne Defends Scrapping 50p Tax Rate

George Osborne has robustly defended his decision to scrap the 50p tax rate, as "it raised no money at all".

Speaking to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, he dismissed the measure as "introduced [just] to put a good headline on a press release. I have changed that in this budget".

Osborne attacked Labour MPs for failing to demonstrate their opposition to scrapping the 50p tax rate in last night's vote. "The SNP and some others voted against it, but the Labour Party went home" he quipped.

In this month's budget, Osborne announced he would scrap the 50p tax rate for higher earners, moving it down to 45p.

At the time of its introduction, then Chancellor Alistair Darling said the 50p tax rate would be "temporary".

Osborne suggested that the 45p tax rate may be here to stay. "I don't assign any special status to the 45p rate [like the "temporary" 50p tax}" said Osborne.

"There will be ongoing assessment of how much revenue we raise from 45p tax rate" he added.

Osborne based his decision on 45p being the optimum tax level for raising revenue on the Laffer Curve. According to this model, a 45p tax rate would give the highest rate of return from higher earners.