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Not much wiser

Last month’s Labour Party conference produced little in the way of fresh tax policy details. Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, said little new and neither did his Shadow Treasury chief secretary, Rachel Reeves. So what do we know so far?

• The 10p income tax band will be reintroduced, having been culled by Gordon Brown shortly before he became prime minister.
• There will be a mansion tax for properties worth more than £2m, echoing Liberal Democrat proposals.
• The final planned reduction in corporation tax from 21% to 20% in 2015 will be scrapped, with the money raised being used to cut business rates for small businesses.
• “The highest earners” will have the tax relief on their pension contributions cut to basic rate, probably using a method legislated for in 2010, but then abandoned as too complex.
• The top rate of tax will return to 50% at an income level of £150,000.

The biggest piece of news from the conference was not on the tax front, but Ed Miliband’s promise of a 20 month freeze on utility prices to the start of 2017. This pledge served as a sharp reminder that utility company shares, long popular among income-seeking investors, are not without political risk.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.

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