The decision to increase tax for the nation’s highest earners could have a detrimental affect on the country’s skill base.

That is the suggestion from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which has been reacting to the chancellor’s announcement in yesterday’s (April 22nd) budget address that those earning over £150,000 a year would be taxed 50 per cent.

David Frost, director general of the BCC, described the decision as a "major concern" and implied that it could lead to high earners leaving the country.

He said: "The strength of the UK has been as a low tax economy giving us a competitive advantage and able to attract the most highly skilled workers.

"The top tax rate in France and Germany is 40 per cent and 45 per cent respectively, giving us the highest top rate of our major European competitors."

Meanwhile, the Trades Union Congress gave its backing to the chancellor’s announcement that the government would be putting £2 billion into a scheme to guarantee training or work to the long-term unemployed.