PMQs: Income tax rates dominate leaders' exchanges


David Cameron has refused to rule out further cuts to the top rate of income tax after repeated challenges from Labour leader Ed Miliband, at prime minister's questions.

Mr Miliband quoted Mr Cameron's pre-election pledge to keep the 50p tax rate declaring it to be a symbol that "we are all in it together".

He asked whether its abolition by the coalition disproved the Conservative slogan, and pressed him several times on whether he planned to lower it further, to 40p.

Mr Cameron said his government was committed to cutting taxes for low- and middle-income earners, during a noisy session on 29 January 2014.

The prime minister told the Commons that the rich will pay more in income tax "in every year under coalition than in any year under Labour".

Labour has pledged to bring back the 50p tax rate if it wins the next election. But Mr Cameron said the policy had been "economically illiterate" and "disastrous" for the party.

He maintained the policy would damage investment and jobs and accused Labour of being "anti-business" and "anti-growth".

But Mr Miliband said of the prime minister: "He can only govern for the few, he can never govern for the many".

In response, Mr Cameron listed a series of economic achievements and said Labour is a threat to Britain's economic recovery.

When pressed on Syrian refugees, the prime minister said the UK will offer asylum to the most needy, with particular priority given to victims of sexual violence.

His comments came ahead of the home secretary's statement on the government's plan and a Labour-led debate on the UN resettlement programme for Syrian refugees.

Mr Miliband welcomed the government's "significant change of heart", telling MPs that it was a "very important cause".

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