By Marcus Leach

In a letter to The Financial Times a group of twenty leading economists have urged the government to abolish the 50p tax rate, claiming it is doing 'lasting damage' to the country's economy.

The letter says the tax rate should be axed 'at the earliest opportunity' in order to boost growth in the UK.

Chancellor George Osbourne says that the 50p tax rate, introduced by Labour, is just a temporary measure on those earning in excess of £150,000.

The twenty economists include two former members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), DeAnne Julius and Sushil Wadhwani.

According to the economists around 320,000 taxpayers pay the highest rate of tax, which is 1% of the total number.

The letter goes on to say that the UK's growth is being adversely affected because it has 'one of the highest personal tax regimes in the industrialised world, making it less competitive internationally, and making us less attractive as a destination for both foreign investment and talented workers'.

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