By Jonathan Davies

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called for the top rate of tax to be cut from 45p to 40p, but only if big businesses to pay the Living Wage.

In his Daily Telegraph column on Monday, the mayor of London wrote: “Nigel Lawson has recently argued that the top rate should go back down to 40p, and many Conservatives agree. I am among them.”

He suggested that large businesses would need to pay the Living Wage for it to happen, however.

“There is a very serious problem, and we would need to sort it out before any such top rate tax cut could go ahead. That problem is fairness, and how such a cut would be seen by the wider population.

“And as for low pay, it isn’t a function of market forces. It’s being propped up by the taxpayer. That needs to end. And that means business has got to start paying people a wage they can live on.”

Mr Johnson's call comes days ahead of the first Conservative Budget for 19 years. If it were to be announced by the Chancellor George Osborne, it would be seen as a tax cut for the wealthy.

Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie said it would be "an act of gross irresponsibility and unfairness".