‘Arms race of fantasy economics’
Sir Keir Starmer will take aim at Conservative leadership contenders later today, claiming more than £200bn of commitments made in an “arms race of fantasy economics” are not funded.
As he delivers a speech in the North East, the Labour leader is also expected to hit out at Tory MPs who served in Boris Johnson’s government for their “hypocrisy” over backing tax hikes, despite being “opposed to them all along”.
It comes after Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid threw their hats into the race to be the next prime minister by saying they would scrap plans to raise corporation tax from 19% to 25% and instead cut it to 15%.
On top of that, Mr Javid pledged to get rid of the government’s controversial national insurance increase, bring forward the planned 1p income tax cut to next year and introduce a temporary fuel duty reduction.
Tax cuts have been a hot topic of conversation in the contest so far, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Attorney General Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch pledging to implement some.
However, Sir Keir has appeared to have found an issue with their plans, claiming none of the contenders have said how they will be paid for.
During his speech on Monday, he is due to say: “I cannot believe what we are hearing from the candidates to be the next Tory leader.
“The vast majority of them served in Boris Johnson’s government. The hypocrisy is nauseating.”
He will go on to accuse the Conservative candidates of using “fantasy economics”.
“Over the weekend, the contenders have made more than £200bn of unfunded spending commitments. Let that sink in,” Sir Keir is expected to say.
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“That’s more than the annual budget of the NHS, splurged onto the pages of the Sunday papers, without a word on how it’ll be paid for.”
He will also argue that Labour will “explain every pound” of its pledges when it fights the next general election.
“When I say we are going to pay for kids to catch up at school, I also say that’ll be funded by removing private schools’ charitable status,” he will explain.
“Or when I say we need to sort out mental health treatment in this country, I also tell you that we’ll do it by closing tax loopholes used by hedge funds.
“We’ll explain every pound because Labour will fight the next election on growth. And the first line of the first page of our offer will be about wealth creation.”
Using the speech as an opportunity to talk about a Labour administration, Sir Keir will also talk about a “fresh start” for the UK’s economy and three ideas that would define his government.
“Only Labour can reboot our economy and end the cost-of-living crisis. Only Labour can revitalise our public services and re-energise our communities. Only Labour can unite the country and clean-up politics,” he will say.
“These three tasks will define my government because until we address them we leave ourselves vulnerable to the kind of shocks and crises we have all endured this past decade.”