For anyone else who is surprised that the UK appears to be uniquely generous to rich tax-dodgers, a quick google plus wiki seems to back up what Talkin says. (Not doubting you Talkin, just astonished and wanted to find out more.)
Interesting that Germany taxes people on their worldwide income. Why can't we? We have been told for decades that we should model ourselves on Germany - their only economic flaw appears to be the Euro. Which is a a pretty big flaw, tbh, but completely different issue.
A small amount of actual thinking shows that none of this makes any sense.
The 50p tax rate, we're told, apparently resulted in the rich paying LESS tax than they were before. But hang on: according to tory economic policy that aims to keep private wealth in private hands and let those individuals decide what to do with it, shouldn't this be a GOOD thing? Hell, it's even a double bonus because the tories could have kept the 50p rate and claimed to be supporting the poor via redistribution, while secretly knowing that it was really benefitting their own. So why on Earth would they then scrap the rate?
The claims that "the 50p rate needed to be scrapped because it was penalising the rich", and "the 50p rate needed to be scrapped because it wasn't raising any money" are absolutely mutually exclusive. They simply CANNOT both be true. Yet these are the two claims that have been consistently presented, side by side without a hint of irony, in the right wing press. It's a testament to the pathetic state of the lower tier of our two-tier education system, that noone in charge of that press felt the need to worry about critical thinking being applied to them by the gullible public.
I don't think they are mutually exclusive. People are more incentivised to organise their tax affairs so that they don't pay the tax (eg. higher pension contributions or a tax avoidance vehicle) In this case the rich pay less tax but don't really suffer as such because the money is still there for them.
It does 'penalise' them or more accurately I would say they feel more penalised. 50% tax is psychologically important as it crosses from being a high rate to seeming like a punitive rate. The feeling you get is that you are being penalised for being successful. A good friend of mine is a high earner and touching the 50% bracket if he has a successful year at work. But he doesn't consider himself to be rich at all. Fortunate yes. Rich, no.
Lastly as I've said before the higher the top tax rate, the bigger the disincentive to work. I've experienced this first hand when offered overtime at work. By the time I worked out how much I had left after NI & HRT tax it simply wasn't worth it. I'd rather spend time with my family instead. So apply this to your 'rich person' who typically will be a decision maker. Especially a small business owner who puts his own money into the firm and takes the risks that go with it. Would you do it? Pump more money in when over half of it will be taken from you if you succeed. But get nothing out if you lose?
I'm not really sure what relevance the anecdotal evidence about your friend has niceguy.
It's neither here nor there that he doesn't consider himself rich if he's earning over £150k, that is a vast sum compared to what most people earn in the UK.
And while I can see that being pushed over into the 40% tax band might make some people think about overtime, it is irrelevant to a small business owner as they will pay themselves with a combination of salary and dividends, with dividends forming the bulk of the income to avoid paying income tax on their earnings.