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UPDATE: No surprises on tax in manifesto - UK Labour leader Starmer

Wed, 12th Jun 2024 21:00

(Alliance News) - Labour's manifesto will contain no surprises on tax, Keir Starmer has said as he sought to calm nerves about the possibility of shock costs to voters in his UK general election offer.

The Labour leader was pressed about whether his party would consider hiking fuel duty or capital gains tax to raise more cash for the public purse, after he already ruled out hiking income tax, national insurance, or VAT in the next Parliament.

"I am not wanting to raise tax. I think people are taxed too much already. What I want to do, my central mission is to grow the economy," he told Sky News's political editor Beth Rigby during an election broadcast in Grimsby hosted by the channel.

Asked if he would rule out fuel duty rises, Starmer said Labour had supported a freeze on the tax "every single time it has come up".

When put to him that increasing capital gains tax to the same level as income tax would raise GBP14 billion a year, he said: "That is not in our manifesto. That is not a choice we are making.

"It will not be unveiled tomorrow. There are no surprises in our manifesto, because our manifesto is a manifesto for growth."

Asked if his party had a trust issue with voters because he had changed his position on various issues, Starmer said: "No because what I would say is this – I decided it must be country first so every decision after that I judged previous decisions, previous positions and I said 'Is this truly country first, party second'; if the answer to that was 'no' then I changed the position and dragged my party back to the service of working people."

Pressed on his previous support for former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Starmer said: "I was certain that we would lose the 2019 election."

He added: "I did campaign for Labour, of course I did, I will openly say I campaigned for Labour, I wanted good colleagues to be returned into the Labour Party."

Starmer's grilling by Sky News and an audience of voters came after a day in which the prime minister was forced insist he had "absolutely not" lost hope of winning the general election as Tory allies warned about the risk of Labour winning a "supermajority".

Rishi Sunak warned against giving Starmer a "blank cheque" if he won power, but stressed that he was still hopeful of victory.

His comments came after Defence Secretary Grant Shapps suggested the Tories were now fighting to prevent a 1997-style Labour landslide.

Shapps said it would be "very bad news" for the country if Starmer was able to enter No 10 with his power "unchecked" by Parliament.

A Tory campaign strategy, backed by a social media advertising campaign, is aimed at persuading would-be Reform UK voters not to risk handing Labour a majority which could eclipse even Tony Blair's victory.

The online advert highlights a scenario suggesting the Tories could be reduced to just 57 seats in Parliament on a 19% vote share, even if Reform picked up no MPs.

Starmer insisted Labour was not complacent about victory but urged voters to give him the mandate to deliver change.

The Sky News event, featuring both the Labour and Tory leaders, takes place after official figures suggested the economy flatlined in April.

Monthly gross domestic product is estimated to have shown no growth, according to the Office for National Statistics.

source: PA

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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