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General election 2024 – live: Treasury rubbishes Sunak’s £2,000 tax rise debate claim

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Sunak claims Labour under Starmer will initiate £2,000 tax hike in election TV debate

Labour has accused Rishi Sunak of lying like Boris Johnson about Labour’s tax plans in last night’s ITV debate, with shadow Cabinet Office minister Jonathan Ashworth saying he has “exposed himself as no better than Johnson”.

It comes as the Treasury has poured cold water on Mr Sunak’s claim that Labour will put up taxes by £2,000 for every household. In the first televised debate of the general election campaign, the prime minister repeatedly pointed to a £38.5bn black hole in Sir Keir Starmer’s spending plans.

However, Treasury permanent secretary James Bowler wrote to the Labour Party on Monday to dismiss the claim. The figure “includes costs beyond those provided by the civil service and published online by HM Treasury”, he told shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones.

It comes as pollster Savanta found that Sir Keir beat Mr Sunak in Tuesday’s ITV leaders’ debate.

The pollster found Sir Keir beat Mr Sunak by 44% to 39% overall, outperforming the prime minister on NHS and public services 63% to 25%, on the economy 52% to 36%, and defence and security 43% to 41%.

The next TV debate between the pair will take place later this month.

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Scottish Labour leader accuses Sunak of ‘scaremongering’ over tax claims

Anas Sarwar has accused the Prime Minister of using Labour’s tax plans to ignite “scaremongering” across voters.

Asked if Labour would raise taxes by that amount, the Scottish Labour leader told Sky News during a visit in Glasgow: “No, this is a straight up lie from a desperate Prime Minister in Rishi Sunak who is trying to scaremonger across the country because he wants to hide away from his own record.

“Labour has been very clear that the only tax we are looking to raise is on the super rich. We want to close the non-dom tax loophole to put more money into our NHS.

“We want to tax the oil and gas giants making record profits to help bring down people’s bills and invest in clean energy, something that will disproportionately benefit people in Scotland.”

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 10:36

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Labour: Welsh first minister to lose no confidence vote

Vaughan Gething risks losing a no confidence vote in Senedd with two Labour members ill and if they don’t vote for him he could be defeated, the party has said.

The Welsh first minister is currently facing a political crisis after a co-operation deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru fell through.

Although the vote is non-binding, it could stagger his authority among MSs with negative consequences for the UK Labour leadership.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, Vikki Howells, the chair of the Welsh Labour group has accused the Conservatives of refusing to “pair” with Labour members. 

She said: “The Tories knew that before they tabled this motion. As of yesterday, we have been told that they are refusing to pair with us.”

Ms Howells added: “I can say that hand on heart that every single member who will be present in the chamber or voting online today will be voted in wholeheartedly with confidence in Vaughan Gething.

(PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 10:34

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Farage calls out Abbott’s anti-racism group over milkshake attack

Stand Up to Racism, which has Diane Abbott as its president, reacted to the image of the Reform UK leader drenched in milkshake.

In a separate social media post, the anti-racism organisation said: “Looks like Farage will be met with opposition in Clacton.”

In response, Nigel Farage accused them of “encouraging and celebrating violence” against him.

In a X post, he wrote: “The left-wing group called ‘Stand Up To Racism’ have encouraged and then celebrated violence against me.

“As the president of the group, will Dianne Abbott condemn this behaviour.”

(AFP via Getty Images)

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 10:23

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Rachel Reeves vows not to increase income tax

In a bid to dismiss Rishi Sunak’s tax claims, the Labour’s shadow chancellor has vowed to not rise income tax, national Insurance or VAT.

She said in a video on social media: “I did not come into politics to raise taxes on working people, so my promise to you is this: Labour will not put up your income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

“The Tories crashed the economy and if they win they will do it all over again with their £71 billion of unfunded spending.

“That will push up your taxes and your mortgage bills.”

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 10:04

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Conservatives insist Labour £2,000 tax plans are fair

The Tories are determined to support their tax claims about Labour and say they are “fair” despite a letter revealed from Treasury top civil servant said they  “should not be presented as having been produced by the Civil Service”. 

A Conservative party spokesperson told the BBC: “We were fair to Labour in the production of the Labour’s tax rise briefing note and used only clear Labour policies, their own costings or official HMT costings using the lowest assumptions.

“For example, using Labour’s figures for the spending items in the Green Prosperity Plan – using £23.7bn over four years instead of £28bn a year.

“It is now for Labour to explain which of the policies which were Labour policy no longer are Labour policy.”

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 09:54

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General Election campaign schedule

Here’s what we can expect from today:

  • General election campaigners are taking a light day to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
  • Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer are expected to attend the UK’s national commemorative event in Portsmouth.
  • The Prime Minister set to do reading this afternoon and meet veterans after the ceremony.
  • Keir Starmer will travel to the south coast with a Second World War veteran and military cadet at 2pm.
  • Meanwhile Lib Dem leader is likely to make it to the picture of the day while he campaigns in Romsey at 3pm.
  • Jeremy Corbyn is today expected to hand in nomination papers in Islington, he’ll be joined by comedian Rob Delaney.

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 09:50

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Sunak attacked Labour’s tax plans last night, but what did he say exactly?

In a fiery exchange that quickly spiraled into personal jibes, the Prime Minister claimed there is a £3.8bn blackhole in Labour’s spending plans.

Mr Sunak kept hammering the Labour leader with claims that his promises would cost a £2,000 tax rise on each household and accused him of planning to force people to “arbitrarily rip out your boiler, change your car, convert your home” to greener alternatives.

Keir Starmer was accused of not pushing back soon enough on the attack, and it took him 26 minutes to dismiss the claims calling them ”nonsense” and “absolute garbage”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during the ITV General Election debate
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during the ITV General Election debate (PA Media)

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 09:45

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Minister said Treasury chief had signed off on the attack personally

A senior minister said the Treasury permanent secretary had personally signed off on the Tories’ £2,000 tax attack line, just minutes before his letter rubbishing it was made public, Archie Mitchell reports.

Energy secretary Claire Coutinho told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is something which has been signed off by the Treasury by the permanent secretary of the Treasury as the amount of the proposals that the Labour Party have put forward so far. £2,000 [of tax hikes] is the last thing that people need.”

Just minutes later it emerged Treasury permanent secretary James Bowler wrote to the Labour Party on Monday to trash the claim.

The figure “includes costs beyond those provided by the civil service and published online by HM Treasury”, he told shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones.

“I agree that any costings derived from other sources or produced by other organisations should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service,” Mr Bowler added.

In a scathing letter, he said: “I have reminded ministers and advisers that this should be the case.”

(Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 09:45

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Streeting: ‘You can’t believe a word they say’

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has accused Rishi Sunak of lying about Labour’s tax plans and claimed “you can’t believe a word they say”,  Archie Mitchell reports.

He said: “Rishi Sunak lied to you. He’s sent his ministers out to lie to you.”

Referencing the Treasury permanent secretary’s letter urging minister not to repeat the false claim about Labour’s tax plans, Mr Streeting said: “They were told not to lie to you… you can’t believe a word they say.”

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 09:33

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Labour: Treasury’s letter evidence Tory tax attack ‘categorically untrue’

Pat McFadden has said James Bowler’s letter has showed that the Prime Minister’s claim that Labour would put up taxes by £2,000 was “categorically untrue”.

The party’s national campaign coordinator said the Tories’ “desperate claim” had been “utterly disowned”.

Salma Ouaguira5 June 2024 09:28

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