Keir Starmer tax hike: Labour leader reaffirms increases for top five percent a ‘priority’

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Last month, Mr Starmer announced his first policy pledge during his first Labour conference speech. MPs loyal to former leader Jeremy Corbyn warned him not to abandon any of his “overwhelmingly popular” agenda.

And now, Mr Starmer has reinforced plans to raise taxes for top earners and said the party needs to be “bolder”.

When asked if the pledges he made during the Labour leadership contest had changed, he said: “No, they were important pledges – very important pledges – in terms of the approach I would take and the priorities I would have as leader of the Labour Party, and they remain my priorities.

“What I’m saying is, the work and the challenge now is so much more profound than we thought it was in 2019.

“Or even this year before the pandemic hit.

“It actually means we might have to be bolder than we might have imagined.”

Mr Starmer went on to say how it is not “prudent” to set out tax arrangements for the next general election in 2024.

He told HuffPost UK: “The next general election is in 2024, so I don’t think it’s prudent at this stage to set out tax arrangements for 2024, when we don’t know the size of the debt, we don’t know the damage that has been done.

“And we haven’t yet set out what the strategic priorities will be for the next Labour government.

“So that’s the kind of work that will necessarily have to be done closer to the election.

“We will then set it out in full detail and in a costed way.

“We’re going to have to confront a completely different world, where the economy is going to take a massive hit.

“The fragility of our public services has been completely exposed.

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“One of the reasons I think that we have fared so badly in the UK is because of the effect of austerity and the fragility of our economy.

“We’ve got to face up to that. We’ve got to rebuild in a better way.”

According to Sienna Rodgers, the Labour List editor, the pledge came about due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In her tweets, Ms Rodgers quoted Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, saying: “I expect so, based on what you just said [about frontbench opposing any tax rises].

“In the middle of a global pandemic… the idea of raising taxes and squeezing people who are in work and trying to make ends meet is just completely the wrong priority for the country.”

Last month, former Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jon Trickett urged Mr Starmer not to abandon Mr Corbyn’s policies.

Mr Trickett said: “It would be folly to ditch all the policy platform built up over the last five years.

“Build on it, yes! But don’t jettison the core principles.

“The last thing we need in the age of COVID when even the Tories see the sense of massive state intervention is for Labour to lurch to the Right.”

The Labour Party suffered its worse general election result since 1935 in December.

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