UK's Kwarteng to scrap top rate of income tax, cut basic rate from April

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FILE PHOTO: New British Health Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng steps outside Number 10 Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's new finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng said on Friday he would scrap the country's top rate of income tax and cut the basic rate next April - a year earlier than expected - to spur economic growth.

Kwarteng said from April 2023 Britain would have a single higher rate of income tax of 40 per cent, scrapping an additional rate of 45% on income over 150,000 pounds ($168,000).

He also said he would cut the basic rate of income tax to 19 pence in April 2023, one year earlier than expected.

"That means a tax cut for over 31 million people in just a few months' time," he told parliament. "That means we will have one of the most competitive and pro-growth income tax systems in the world."

($1 = 0.8925 pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton, David Milliken and Kylie MacLellan; editing by William James)