Chart of the day: the highest income tax rates

How would a top rate of 75 per cent in France compare with other countries?

With François Hollande promising to introduce a top income tax rate of 75 per cent if elected as French president, now is an apt time to look at the world's top tax rates. As the chart below shows, Hollande's proposed rate for incomes over €1 million would dwarf even that of Sweden (56.6 per cent).


The UK's top rate of tax has been 50 per cent since 2010 (it was previously raised from 40 to 45 per cent in 2009), the joint fourth-highest in the world, prompting howls of anguish from the right. Yet 50 per cent is far from the top rate of 83 per cent (98 per cent on unearned income) seen under Jim Callaghan. Even Margaret Thatcher managed to live with a top rate of 60 per cent for nine years of her premiership (it was reduced to 40 per cent in Nigel Lawson's famous 1988 Budget).

Mercifully for the super-rich, however, Ed Miliband has already indicated that he won't be following Hollande's lead on tax.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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David Cameron: "Taking more and more refugees" is not the answer to the migration crisis

As the migrant crisis worsens, the Prime Minister refuses to allow desperate people into Britain, citing "peace" in the Middle East as his priority.

David Cameron says "taking more and more refugees" is not the answer to the global migration crisis.

Amid calls for the UK to allow more people in, to help ease the record numbers of migrants entering Europe and to provide asylum for desperate people attempting to cross the border, the Prime Minister insists upon keeping the UK's doors closed.

Preferring to focus on the situation in the Middle East, Cameron commented:

We are taking action across the board... the most important thing is to try to bring peace and stability to that part of the world . . . I don't think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees.

His words come on the day that harrowing photos of a young Syrian boy, washed up dead on a beach near the Turkish resort of Bodrum, have been published. The child was from a group of 12 Syrian refugees who drowned attempting to reach Greece.

The Labour leadership candidates are taking a different stance. In a much-praised speech this week, Yvette Cooper urged the UK to take in 10,000 more refugees, warning that a failure to do so would be, “cowardly, immoral and not the British way”.

Andy Burnham too has called for Britain to take more people in (or, in his words, "share the burden"): "This is a humanitarian crisis, not just a tedious inconvenience for British holidaymakers, as our government might have us believe."

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.