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Breakfast Friday, 20 June, 2003, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Soak the rich
Leader of the Commons Peter Hain
Hain is the first of Blair's ministers to back tax rises
Breakfast's main story this morning was the call to raise taxes for Britain's highest earners.

It came from Peter Hain, who's the leader of the House of Commons - and it's the first time that any of Tony Blair's cabinet has backed a rise in income tax.

His comments have already been brushed aside by the treasury, which says it's up to the chancellor to decide tax levels. But they do represent a return to some of the values of old Labour.

  • This morning, Breakfast tried to get to the bottom of the gathering row over his remarks

  • We caught up with Peter Hain, on the phone from his constituency in South Wales.

  • And, we asked what you think

    Further details from BBC News Online

    In a speech on today, Peter Hain is expected to say that too many people on average incomes - including teachers and police officers - now fall into the 40% tax band.

    He will become the first minister to propose the redistribution of money through the introduction of a higher top rate of tax, the Mirror reports.

    The money raised could also be used to increase the threshold at which those on low incomes start to pay tax, the paper says.

    Mr Hain is expected to say: "How can we ensure that hard-working middle-income families and the low paid get a better deal, except by those at the very top of the pay scale contributing more?"

    Peter Hain is the first minister to call for such a tax shake-up Until now ministers had avoided suggestions of increased taxes, following Tony Blair's 1997 election pledge of "no rise in income tax rates".

    But rising incomes have gradually pushed more and more people into the 40% tax band.

    At present, the basic rate of tax is 22% on earnings up to 35,115.

    Above this level the 40% rate of tax comes in.

    One option could be to introduce a 50% rate on earnings over 50,000, and 60% for income over 100,000.

    The 22% basic rate ceiling could then be lifted to 50,000, the Daily Mirror said.

    For somebody on 50,000 a year the change would mean an extra 2,860 a year, or 51 a week.

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    Peter Hain
    The leader of the House tells Breakfast why he's suggesting raising taxes
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    20 Jun 03 | Politics

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