In a rather bizarre reversal of the usual way politics works, Chancellor George Osborne has spent his time at the Davos financial meeting asking the business lobby to come up with campaigns against the 50p tax rate if they want to scrap it.
I always thought it was meant to be businesses lobbying the Chancellor rather than the other way round, but instead it’s a pretty transparent request to the business community to lobby against the tax because he can’t be seen to. This is because the 50p tax rate is politically popular, especially when huge spending cuts are being implemented.
So as his review of the tax rate is set to reveal that the 50p tax rate is raising money after all, despite insisting it wouldn’t all along, now Osborne is left to beg the business community to do what he cannot, and try persuade the public to turn against the 50p tax rate so he can scrap it.
It’s also a useful message to the Tory party donors, most of whom are 50p tax rate payers, that he’d just lose to cut their taxes, but he cannot because the pesky general public simply won’t let him.