By Ian Dipple 21/03 Updated: 23/03 09:01
A WORCESTERSHIRE woman has launched a national petition calling on the Government to reverse its decision to cut the 50p tax rate for higher earners.
Chancellor George Osborne announced on Wednesday (March 21) the top rate of tax for people earning £150,000 or more would be cut from 50p to 45p next year at the same time as the amount of money people can earn before paying tax is increased to £9,205.
But Lucy Seymour-Smith, who co-runs a Communications Company, is setting-up an online petition against the move, with details of how to sign-up to be released shortly.
If backed by over 100,000 people it would force the issue to be debated in Parliament.
"It is a huge slap in the face of the public. Hard-working families are barely able to scrape by, yet now they are faced with a tax relief for the rich," she said.
"In addition to being a huge dent in public morale, which is already at rock bottom, cutting tax for the rich is simply not a priority. Cut VAT, cut Fuel Tax – just do not cut this."
But Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, of which many Redditch companies are members, backed the cut.
Michael Ward, the BCCG’s president, said together with a cut in Corporation Tax the move was a recipe for growth and job creation.
"It’s a signal the UK is indeed ‘open for business’ putting us on an equal footing with Germany, France and other competitors for talent and foreign investment."
Other announcements included an extra 37 pence on a packet of 20 cigarettes from 6pm tonight (Wednesday). There was also no change to previous plans to raise alcohol duty by two per cent above inflation meaning beer will rise by as much as ten pence and the price of an average bottle of wine could hit £5.
Rod Chamberlain, landlord of the Woodland Cottage in Mount Pleasant, said he was disappointed but not surprised and would try to absorb some of the rise.
"I never expected it to decrease or be kept the same, I don't think it was ever in the Government's plans. It's already the third rise this year as in January the breweries put their prices up and in February the pubcos increased theirs. I've had to keep some of my prices the same and the margins I make are decreasing. It's not good."
The Chancellor also ignored pleas to cut fuel duty, despite unleaded already being over 140p at some garages in Redditch and diesel climbing towards 150p. It means the price of petrol will rise by more than three pence as planned in August. Road tax will also rise by inflation but be frozen for hauliers.
There was also a pledge to create a £60million aerodynamics centre in the UK to open in 2012/13 which will support innovation in aerospace technology which could be good news for companies such as Windsor Road based Mettis Aerospace.
The county's Local Enterprise Partnership is also set to get an extra £1.8million to invest in infrastructure projects through the Growing Places Fund.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley said the 50p tax rate was only raising a third of what it was predicted to bring in and a crackdown on tax avoidance measures would generate five times more money. She added she was delighted the Chancellor had ensured people earning £50,000 or less would keep their child benefit.
"I am disappointed there was no help with fuel prices but under Labour's escalator policy petrol would have cost six pence more than it does now," she said.
"The increase in tax allowances together with the freeze in council tax will put money in people's pockets. This is a budget for families, for growth and people who want to work hard."
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