Tory leadership contender Javid toys with scrapping top rate of income tax

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Tory leadership hopeful Sajid Javid has said he would consider scrapping the top rate of income tax in a bid to boost the economy.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Javid said: “I’m a low tax person,” adding: “I think [cutting taxes] can pay for itself, it leads to more dynamism in business.”

Mr Javid points to George Osborne’s move to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p, which saw tax revenues increase.

“If it can be demonstrated that a further cut in the additional rate can raise more taxable revenues that should be looked at,” he said.

Meanwhile, his leadership rival Michael Gove is said to be prepared to delay Brexit until the end of next year rather than leave without a deal on October 31.

A source close to Mr Gove told the Telegraph: “Simply trying to go for no deal before the UK is properly prepared will lead to a general election with Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street and risks Brexit being cancelled altogether.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove
Environment Secretary Michael Gove is reported to be prepared to delay Brexit rather than leave without a deal on October 31 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He said his “absolute focus” would be on getting a deal, but added he would focus on mitigating the effect of no deal on the economy if he was unable to reach an agreement with the EU.

“I would prepare for a no-deal Budget, which would include a significant amount of economic stimulus,” he says.

“That would include significant tax cuts for business, for personal income, it would include stepped up infrastructure investment.”

Mr Javid – the son of a Pakistani bus driver – is trying to position himself as someone who can win over both traditional Tory supporters and new voters.

“My background, my own story allows me to connect in a very special way with the vast, vast majority of the electorate,” he said.

He added: “I think Britain over many decades has changed into what I would easily call the most successful, multi-racial democracy in the world.

“So I don’t personally feel that [my ethnicity] is an impediment in any way.”

Others in the leadership race promising tax cuts to boost their appeal include Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Raab has pledged to cut income tax by a penny a year – 5p over the course of a Parliament to just 15p in the pound for the basic rate – which critics have claimed would cost £25 billion.

Mr Hunt, on the other hand, is using tax cuts to woo businesses, suggesting slashing corporation tax to Irish levels of 12.5% from the 19% it sits at currently.

Chancellor Philip Hammond expressed his concern over too many pledges to cut taxes.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: “If we are tempted down this route, we abandon one of our party’s proudest achievements and most enduring hallmarks: fiscal responsibility.

“And then, when the next General Election comes, we will find ourselves standing naked in front of a Labour Party which knows no fiscal discipline at all and will always outbid us in a war to borrow the most.”

So far, a dozen Conservatives have joined the race become the next prime minister after Theresa May resigns as Tory leader on June 7.

Former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, like fellow contender Mr Javid, has said she would be prepared to leave the UK without a deal and that she would “not advocate an extension of any kind”.

She has set out a three-point plan to deliver Brexit, including introducing legislation to guarantee citizens’ rights for Brits in the EU and Gibraltar and EU citizens in the UK.

Writing in The Sun on Sunday, she said: “As Prime Minister,… it will be clear that in all circumstances the UK will leave the EU at the end of October.

“We owe it to the country, and to our strong democratic tradition, to fulfil the instruction that our voters gave us.

“I am a passionate, pragmatic and positive believer in Brexit, and with my three-step plan, we can decisively leave the EU.”

Andrea Leadsom
Andrea Leadsom has set out a three-point plan to deliver Brexit (Victoria Jones/PA)

In an article for the Mail on Sunday, she said: “Boris Johnson is the person with the credibility and oomph to lead at this crucial time and bring Britain with us.”

“We share a deep optimism about the power of individual creativity and enterprise to deliver progress and prosperity,” she added. “Only by standing up and making the case for popular, free-market conservatism will we have any hope of winning the next election and leading Britain into the future.”

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