Boris Johnson has suggested that the higher rates of income tax should be reduced ahead of the Government’s Autumn Statement next week.
George Osborne should “brood” on whether the 40 and 45 per cent rates are too high, he said.
On a business trip to India, Mr Johnson highlighted the country’s tax rates of “only 30 per cent” and said business leaders had expressed concern over Britain’s tax regime.
In the previous budget, the Chancellor announced that he will cut the top rate of income tax from 50p to 45p from next year. He is understood to have wanted to scrap the top rate altogether but was blocked by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
Gordon Brown introduced the 50p top rate of tax shortly before the last election and Labour says it is necessary during the Government’s austerity programme.
Speaking yesterday on the final day of his tour, Mr Johnson said: “You’ve got tax rates here of only 30 per cent a point George Osborne might like to brood on.
“It’s 10 per cent for freelance income, and of course you have a market of about 600 million people under 25.”
He added: “One businessman said to me this morning that he loved London, he loved the quality of life in London.
“But another businessman asked about making London more attractive in terms of tax and regulation and certainly the tax regime. As I have said many times before, that needs to be looked at.” Yesterday afternoon, the high-profile London mayor was interviewed by Arnab Goswami, one of India’s most famous television broadcasters. During the interview, Mr Johnson renewed his attack on the Government’s strict immigration and visa regime.
“The Government has been trying to deal with a particular problem that was caused by the lax immigration policies of the last Labour government in 2004.
“It has been a blunderbuss approach that has hit and caused a lot of uncertainty and confusion in the vital markets like India. Although it is true that the numbers over previous years are up, we are worried that the numbers this year are down.”
During the interview, in which Mr Goswami seemed to veer between aggressive questioning and flattery, the mayor recalled the infamous incident when he was stuck on a zip-wire above an east London park during the Olympics.
He said he had asked his Special Branch protection officer if he could do something. “Very slowly he reached in to his pocket and took out his mobile phone and took a photograph. That was his contribution to my predicament.”
Asked later whether he would stand for parliament and eventually launch a Conservative Party leadership attempt, Mr Johnson said: “Three-and-a-half years in politics … we will have to see what will happen.” However, he then added when asked about becoming Prime Minister: “I can assure you that is about as likely as me being decapitated by a frisbee.”