The 400,000 highest-earning people in Britain paid nearly a third of the total income tax take last year, new figures show.
Britons earning more than £150,000 a year handed over £54.3 billion – enough to cover the entire defence budget with more than £6 billion to spare.
This was 30 per cent of the overall income tax take of £178 billion for the year to the end of March.
Britons earning more than £150,000 a year handed over £54.3 billion last year - a third of the overall income tax for the country
The group of 400,000 – who are the best-paid 1.3 per cent of the country – saw their tax contribution rise by 9 per cent from a year earlier. HM Revenue & Customs expects this to rise again to £57.9 billion this year. By contrast, people earning less than £150,000 saw their contribution grow by only 1 per cent to £123.3 billion.
The statistics highlight how the tax burden falls hardest on the wealthy.
Tory MP John Redwood said: ‘The Conservative Party has been saying for some time that there are record amounts of tax being paid by the top earners and record percentages of total tax being paid.
‘It shows that the Labour criticisms are wide of the mark.’
Separate figures reveal that the top 5 per cent of earners pocketed 24.4 per cent of the