Belfast Telegraph

Top earners bear brunt of Darling's Robin Hood measures

Alistair Darling has used Robin Hood tactics to turn the screw on the better off.

He unveiled a series of measures that will hit wealthier people, saying: "I believe those who have benefited the most from the strong growth in incomes in past years should now pay their fair share of tax." Mr Darling announced stamp duty on residential property over £1m will rise from 4% to 5% from April 2011.

There was further bad news for higher earners - already facing a 50% tax rate on earnings over £150,000 - when Mr Darling announced the end of some personal allowances. He said that for people with incomes over £100,000 a year - the top 2% of earners - the value of their personal allowances would gradually be removed.

He also said tax relief on pensions will be restricted from next year, but only for those with incomes above £130,000 a year.

The announcements affecting the better off are likely to be seen as part of Labour's election strategy, with the Tories - still seen by some as the party of the privileged - being challenged to oppose the moves.

Justifying the measures, the Chancellor told MPs: "Looking across all the tax rises since the beginning of this global crisis, 60% of them will be paid for by the top 5% of earners.

"We have not raised these taxes out of dogma or ideology. We are determined to ensure our overall tax regime remains competitive."