Johnson reiterates stand against planned immigration cap

London Mayor says 50p top tax rate will harm the UK economy
3rd January 2010: Known to be a vocal critic of government immigration policy, London Mayor Boris Johnson has reiterated his stand against the government’s planned immigration cap; and has asserted 50p top tax rate will harm the UK economy, if it became permanent
Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the employers were "hacked off" that they could not bring talented people into the UK.

Johnson, who plans to run for a second mayoral term in 2012, said there was a risk that the necessity of putting up a public show of rhetoric would do possible damage to London’s competitiveness; and he thought there was a case for flexibility and the government understood that.

Johnson, who will face a challenge from Labour’s Ken Livingstone, said he was confident London had a "great future".

His assertion came soon after Chancellor George Osborne indicated the 50p rate for high earners will not be permanent. But so far, he has not said when he will axe it.

The Conservative mayor, Johnson, said the 50p rate had to be scrapped if the capital was to remain competitive as a world financial centre.

He told Today it was not a secret that he thought in long run a 50p tax rate was not going to be competitive with their major rivals.

They all have lower top rates of tax now than the UK. It can’t go on forever, in his view.

The new top income tax rate was introduced by Osborne’s Labour predecessor, Alistair Darling

Brought out in final Budget earlier last year, it was intended as an emergency measure to help tackle Britain’s record budget deficit.

Osborne had recently told The Spectator magazine that the 50p rate was a "temporary feature of our tax system". It was necessary to ensure a sense of fairness so that the whole country feels that every part of society is making a contribution to the fiscal consolidation.

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