Chart of the day: support for the 50p rate

Even Tory voters are opposed to the abolition of the 50p tax rate.

Even Conservative voters remain opposed to the abolition of the 50p tax rate. That is one indication of the political gamble George Osborne has taken by electing to scrap it in Wednesday's Budget.

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The latest YouGov poll confirms that a majority of voters [60 per cent] support the top rate [27 per cent oppose it] although, as the Spectator's Jonathan Jones notes, this is down slightly from 68 per cent at the end of January.

One eye-catching finding is that Lib Dem voters are even more opposed to the abolition of the 50p rate than Labour ones. If, as seems likely, Osborne merely replaces the top rate with a range of anti-tax avoidance measures [as opposed to, say, a "mansion tax"] then Nick Clegg will have a lot of explaining to do.

After all, here's how Danny Alexander, another member of "the Quad", responded last year when asked if the 50p rate could be scrapped:

The idea that we are going to shift our focus to the wealthiest in the country at a time when everyone is under pressure is just in cloud cuckoo land.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The NS Podcast #112: Going Underground

Are women-only carriages the way forward?

This week, we explain why we're backing Tessa Jowell as Labour's candidate for London mayor, talk women-only carriages on the tube, and speak to Tom Shone about Woody Allen. (Caroline Crampton, Barbara Speed, John Elledge, Stephen Bush, George Eaton).

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