Boris Johnson has claimed that cutting the 45p tax rate would spur Andy Murray on to win Wimbledon - but admitted a living wage would need to be brought in too.
Writing in his column for the Daily Telegraph, the Mayor of London said: “Thanks to Gordon Brown’s decision to hike the top rate of income tax to 50 per cent, Andy was the man with the least to gain from victory. Everyone else would have taken a bigger share of the swag, because virtually every other nation, with the arguable exception of Belgium, was then imposing a lower top rate of tax.”
He said that he went on to question whether a tax adjustment could in fact leave Murray even more hungry for victory.
He continued: “Perhaps if we made a small fiscal adjustment, we could persuade him to lunge that extra half a yard and fling that racket with that extra ration of sublime frenzy. Perhaps, I suggested, we could cut the top rate to 45p and turn him from also-ran to champion.”
The cut came and so did the victory, he said.
But the new Conservative government should go further, Johnson argued, and cut the top rate even further to 40p in the pound.
Johnson’s voice is added to others including former Tory Chancellors Lord Lawson and Lord Lamont calling for a 40p rate.
While it might encourage Murray to stride to victory again, it would also be for the “millions who might be encouraged and incentivised to work harder, produce more and therefore fill higher the tithe barn of the Exchequer”, Johnson said.
But though he acknowledged that another British victory would certainly make many happy, the mayor added that such a tax cut could not take place without the introduction of a living wage.
He argues that the country’s top business leaders - particularly in the retail sector, where £11billion in top-up in-work benefits are being paid - must “treat their workers properly and pay them a living wage”.
Some businesses have already adopted the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour (£9.15 in London), rather than the adult national minimum wage of £6.50.
Last week shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said it would be "an act of gross irresponsibility and unfairness" for the Government to press ahead with a rumoured cut in the 45p rate for those who earned more than £150,000.
George Osborne yesterday indicated he is not planning to cut the top rate in the Budget, saying his priority is reducing taxes for lower and middle income earners.
Conservative former Cabinet minister John Redwood said cutting the rate to 40p would encourage the wealthiest to pay more tax.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The way to get more money off the rich is to have tax rates they are prepared to pay.
"We have just seen a big surge of revenues when we cut the 50p rate to 45p and that's very encouraging. Of course, Gordon Brown knew the right answer, the right answer was a 40% rate."