Osborne Squeezes 10% More Tax From U.K.’s Wealthiest

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said Britain’s tax authorities have increased the amount of money collected from wealthy individuals by 10 percent.

The Revenue and Customs High Net Worth Unit that deals with the tax affairs of about 5,800 people with wealth of at least 20 million pounds ($34 million) raised about 220 million pounds in the tax year that ran through March, compared with 200 million pounds in the previous tax year, according to the Treasury.

The effort is “a demonstration not just of our seriousness of intent when it comes to improving our fight against tax avoidance, but actually the fact that we are getting better results and getting more money in,” Osborne told reporters in Washington ahead of the publication of the figures in London today.

Osborne is seeking to show voters that he’s making the rich contribute to Britain’s austerity program. The opposition Labour Party has attacked his decision to reduce the top rate of income tax to 45 percent from 50 percent earlier this month.

Osborne on April 9 gave individuals evading tax through the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey three years to pay up or face prosecution. The top 1 percent of earners paid 26.5 percent of total income tax in the fiscal year that ran through March.

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