The proportion of Britons paying the highest rates of tax is now at a record level and double that of 20 years ago.
According to latest figures released by HMRC, almost five million people - one in six earners - now pay either the 40% or 45%ate of income tax, up from one in 12, 20 years ago.
The research showed that the 400,000 people who pay the top rate of tax at 45% now contribute almost as much to the exchequer as the 25 million basic-rate taxpayers combined.
HMRC has estimated that the rise to the starting threshold for the 40% band to £45,000 in the current tax-year is likely to see the number of higher-rate taxpayers fall back slightly but the number will be more than two and a half times higher than the 1.7 million people who paid the top rate in 1994.
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