LONDON (Labour Buzz) - The 2019 Labour manifesto has not yet been published and the party is committed to a fully costed manifesto. Yet despite this, the Conservatives continue to fearmonger that Labour will cost the public an extra £2,400 per person in tax every year.
At the weekend, the Chancellor appeared on the Andrew Marr Show and commenting on the claims he said, “This is the true cost of Corbyn’s Labour. There are the numbers that John McDonnell did not want you to see.” He added, “Of course Labour aren’t going to welcome these numbers. They don’t want to see this kind of transparency. These are eye watering levels of spending… it will be absolutely reckless and will leave this country with an economic crisis within months.”
However, when challenged on their own spending plans, the Conservatives have been less than forthcoming. The Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng refused to answer questions on Conservative spending plans when appearing on Ridge on Sunday, saying, “I’m not going to bandy around figures.” In addition, the Tory MP Helen Whatley, when appearing on Politics Live, said, “I am not going to sit here and do costing on the hoof,” when challenged by Jo Coburn’s questions on Tory plans to raise the tax threshold on higher earners.
Labour has announced a series of policy statements for an incoming Labour government. This would include reducing the working week, increasing the living wage, and public ownership of rail, mail, water and the national grid. Other measures include a huge level of spending to meet the UK’s climate commitments, a national care service and investment in health and education as well as tackling crime with more policing.
Responding to the claims, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted, “Sajid Javid is running scared of debating with me and completely understandably, as the Tories are inventing silly figures which Labour would pull apart in a public debate. Clearly the Tories can’t even cost their own programme.”
He added, “Let’s be clear, the figures published by the Tories about Labour’s spending plans are fake news. I reiterate that income tax rates under Labour won’t rise for 95% of people and only the top 5% would pay more. There will also be no VAT or National Insurance increases under Labour.”
The Conservatives have claimed that Labour’s commitments will lead to increased borrowing and spending but the sums they use to examine Labour’s commitments simply do not add up. For example the cost of nationalising National Grid is expected to cost around £196billion according to the CBI. The UK’s independent fact checking group, Full Fact, said, “The National Grid is part of the £196 billion price tag for nationalisation from Labour’s 2017 manifesto, according to the CBI’s analysis. But it’s also reportedly part of a separate £124billion pot of money the Conservatives say is the cost of renationalising the ‘Big Six’ energy supply companies - an extension of Labour’s 2017 energy pledges.”
Labour figures will meet this coming weekend to finalise Labour’s manifesto. The Conservatives are yet to publish their manifesto and fully costed spending commitments
(Written by Brendan Chilton, edited by Sam Gallagher)