Boris Johnson pushing for job-boosting budget

First published in Business News © by

LONDON mayor Boris Johnson has called on the Chancellor to offer national insurance holidays to create jobs, investment in infrastructure and a crack down on stamp duty avoidance in the budget.

The Tory mayor - currently running in a close re-election fight with Labour rival Ken Livingstone - said he did not want to see anything which would "damage London" when asked about a proposed mansion tax.

Mr Johnson told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme: "I would much rather we stop focusing so much on bashing people and start looking at what we can do to help people into work.

"That's what I mean about national insurance, supporting infrastructure - those are the things that are going to drive jobs and growth over the next 10 years.

"I don't think it is a good thing for London or the UK over the long term to have rates of tax conspicuously higher than our global competitors.

"(The 50p rate) is something the Chancellor is looking at but I don't think it is a priority for me.

"I want massive investment in infrastructure, help for young people to get into work and I want a crack down on tax dodgers and tax avoiders of all kinds."

Mr Johnson said a scheme of selling properties through offshore companies to avoid stamp duty was a "scandal".

And he said upgrades to the 150-year-old Tube network were vital to prevent problems five or 10 years down the line.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the Budget must be fair and include measures for jobs and growth.

Asked about the possibility of the 50p top rate tax being axed, he told Sky News' Murnaghan programme no tax was "set in stone".

"You are right to say those with the broadest shoulders should bear the burden and it is also right to say that no tax rate should be set in stone," he said.

"If, in the coming years, we can move on that as a country, fine.

"But do we really think families on £150,000 plus are the first priority?"

Mr Balls added: "I think the VAT cut is the best but I think a personal allowance rise, a cut in fuel duty, those things would make sense.

"Osborne and Nick Clegg seem to be saying, they are telling the newspapers, if they can find a way to make the mansion tax work - in the past I've supported that - if George Osborne can make a mansion tax work on multi-million pound properties, fine."

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