The former foreign secretary said he wanted to raise the 40p tax threshold from £50,000 to £80,000. He used his Daily Telegraph column to showcase his proposal which was immediately condemned by senior Labour figures. Mr Johnson said: “We should be raising thresholds of income tax so that we help the huge numbers that have been captured in the higher rate by fiscal drag. We can go for much greater economic growth – and still be the cleanest, greenest society on earth.”
The move would cost around £9.6bn a year, which he said would be paid for partly from savings in Brexit no-deal preparations.
He also argued for cuts in business taxes despite the UK already having one of the lowest rates of corporation tax among developed economies, with successive reductions taking it from 28 percent in 2008 to 19 percent today.
Labour frontbenchers were quick to condemn Mr Johnson’s proposals.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “Exactly as predicted, the Tory leadership race is degenerating into a race to the bottom in tax cuts.
“When there are 4.5 million children in poverty, one million elderly in severe poverty, the schools’ budgets and our police service stretched to breaking point, this is the Tory priority.”
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said: “Tax cuts for the better off: nothing for those earning less. Very ‘one nation’. Not.”
Other leadership candidates have also promised tax cuts as they try to appeal to the 160,000 Conservative members who will vote for the prime minister from a shortlist of two picked by MPs.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised to use the no-deal “fiscal headroom” to slash corporation tax from 19 percent to just 12.5 percent.
Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab was the first Tory leadership contender to promise lower income tax, saying the basic rate should fall from 20p to 15p over five years if he becomes prime minister.
He has previously suggested the top rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000 should be scrapped altogether and that the higher rate should be cut to 35p.
Mr Johnson remains the favourite to replace Theresa May as the focus switches to who will challenge him when the candidates are reduced to the final two next week.
Conservative Party bosses wan a new leader in place before the end of July, while Mrs May will continue as Prime Minister until then.
Michael Gove and Mr Hunt, who are seen as two of the top contenders rivalling Mr Johnson for the job, both launch their leadership campaigns today.