Labour vows to hike taxes on those earning more than £80,000 a year to increase spending on public services

Posted On: 
6th May 2017

John McDonnell has pledged to increase income tax on anyone earning more than £80,000 a year to fund a spending boost for public services.

John McDonnell addressing a May Day rally in London
PA Images

In a major shift in Labour's tax policy, the Shadow Chancellor also vowed that he would not put up VAT or personal National Insurance Contributions if the party wins next month's election.

Mr McDonnell said the "personal tax guarantee" would mean that 95% of workers would not see any increase in the amount of tax they pay.

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But he said it was only fair that higher earners should be asked to contribute more.

In a speech at the London Docklands Museum on Sunday, Mr McDonnell will say the policy proved that Labour was "the party of low taxes for middle and low earners while the Tories are the party of tax handouts for the super-rich and big corporations".

"The choice at this election is very clear on tax, as there is currently only one party which is committing not to raise taxes on middle and low earners - and that is the Labour party," he will say.

"If Labour is elected next month we will guarantee that for the next five years there will be no tax rises for income taxpayers earning less than £80,000 a year, no hikes in VAT, and no changes in your National Insurance Contributions either."

He will add: "Every time Theresa May and the Tories are asked whether they are planning tax increases if they are re-elected on 8 June, they run and hide," Mr McDonnell will say.

"They are so determined not to be questioned on their plans, the Prime Minister refuses to take part in any TV debates and will only visit workplaces if there are no workers there, just her own party’s activists.

"The Tories are hoping that the British people can be kept in the dark about what the tax increases they are planning will mean for those on middle and low incomes, who have had to bear the brunt of seven years of austerity.

"Only the Labour party is promising to stand up for working people, the majority in our country, while the Tories have made clear they are determined to carry on handing out tax giveaways to a wealthy few."

Theresa May has so far only pledged not to increase VAT, but refused to make similar commitments on NICs and income tax.

Susan Kramer, the Liberal Democrats’ treasury spokesperson said: “Labour’s so-called tax pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, given their inability to form a proper opposition, let alone a government.

“McDonnell and his party have voted to rip Britain out of the Single Market, yet has no credible plan for the future of our economy and no guarantee to employers that they won’t be hit with a new jobs tax.

“Labour has a spending list as long as your arm yet does not explain how to pay for it."