General Election 2017: People on more than £70k ‘could pay more tax if Labour wins power’
Credit: Evening Standard
People earning more than £70,000-a-year could be forced to pay more tax if Labour wins power, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell hinted today.
He stressed Labour wanted a “fair taxation system” which would see corporations and the rich “pay their way more”.
Asked to define rich, Mr McDonnell said they would be people earning “above £70,000 to £80,000 a year”.
Pressed on whether that would mean people in that income bracket paying more, Mr McDonnell appeared to contradict himself, telling BBC radio: “That’s not what we’ve said.”
However, he seemed to suggest tax bills could go up by clamping down on “tax giveways” for the wealthy, as well as tax avoidance.
He explained: “There’s a general view…that middle and low earners are being hit very hard with a combination…of both income tax rises but also in terms of the burden placed upon them by stealth taxes.
“We want to get a system that is fair, so the corporations and the rich pay their way more and that means ending the tax giveaways to the corporations and also those in inheritance tax, capital gains tax and the bankers’ levy.”
Mr McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, continued: “The rich will be above £70,000 to £80,000-a-year.”
However, his stance sparked an immediate backlash.
Mark Field, Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, accepted that such a salary was a multiple of national wages but that the cost of living in the capital was “cripplingly expensive”.
So people earning £70,000 in London were “not by any stretch of the imagination rich”.
He added: “They will be aghast at the idea that Labour feels that they could be fleeced by large increases in tax when they are already struggling to keep their head above water.”
Labour is vowing to cap pay on senior executives, with no bosses able to pay themselves above a certain multiple of lower-paid employees.
Mr McDonnell also accused Theresa May of breaking her pledge not to hold an early election because she realised the economy is starting to “turn” with a looming living standards squeeze.
Labour’s approach to Brexit talks would aim to secure “tariff-free access to the single market”, a managed and fair immigration system, and to “maximise benefits” that the UK currently get from the customs union.