(TELEGRAPH) — Personal taxes in Britain are too high and must come down to help the economy, Jeremy Browne, the Liberal Democrat foreign minister has said.
As businesses call for the 50p higher rate of income tax to be scrapped, Mr Browne said ministers should aim to reduce taxes on individuals to a level "closer to or preferably slightly lower than the competition".
The minister's comments put him at odds with the tone of his party leader, Nick Clegg, who strongly supports wealth taxes and will not allow the Coalition to scrap the 50p rate for high earners.
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Mr Browne said the priorities at the moment are reducing taxes on business and raising the personal allowance for income tax, rather than scrapping the 50p rate.
"We have to recognise what is affordable given the massive budget deficit," he said. "If we're going to have any tax cuts, and the scope is very limited, I think we should probably be trying to stimulate enterprise and work at the bottom end of the scale. The Government's priority, approved by both the parties, is to try and raise the personal allowance to reward work and reduce dependency."