Keir Starmer grilled by Beth Rigby over Labour’s tax stance
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Beth Rigby came to blows with Sir Keir Starmer and grew increasingly frustrated at the opposition leader after he repeatedly failed to answer her questions on National Insurance. The political editor first demanded to know how Labour could be considered a party of the NHS by opposing the National Insurance increase and then skewered Sir Keir by pointing out people were “irritated” with him over his lack of an alternative to the tax rise. A floundering Sir Keir kept repeating the “broadest shoulders” should take the burden as the pair angrily clashed during a tense interview.
The Labour Party voted against the 1.25 percentage point increase of National Insurance which would help fund social care reforms and clear the NHS backlog.
Labour shadow ministers have said it would be unfair to burden the young and low-earners with plugging the healthcare hole whereas those who are older with expensive properties are protected.
But Labour themselves have come under fire after critics point out the Conservatives at least have a plan to fix the healthcare issues but they do not.
Ms Rigby took her opportunity to grill Sir Keir and said: “How can you claim to be the party of the NHS when you have just voted against a £36billion tax rise to fund the NHS?
“You can go into whether what the Tories have done in the past, whatever you want to argue, but from this week that is the message that Boris Johnson is willing to make difficult decisions on taxation.”
Sir Keir disagreed with Ms Rigby pointing out the PM broke a manifesto promise to secure the funds.
The Labour leader added he would support a plan which genuinely addressed the issues in social care but believed the tax rise did not fix anything.
Ms Rigby stated: “Your response has quite irritated a lot of people in your party and the public because you criticise the policy.
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“You very skillfully exploit that at the dispatch box but you don’t actually give voters an alternative.
“One of the kids said I know what Kier Starmer stands against but what does he stand for?”
Sir Keir said he would not target workers and would instead target those with the “broadest shoulders”.
An annoyed Ms Rigby demanded to know “what that means” before reiterating she was aware of what Sir Keir was against.
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The political editor was finally able to get a vague answer as Sir Keir supported a wealth tax that taxed those who were earning outside of work.
He said stocks and shares, properties and dividends should be taxed to fund the social care reforms.
He added: “Yes, all of those options are a wealth tax, in the broadest sense of the word, and we should look at it.”
Sir Keir then said it would be unfair for landlords to not pay anything extra whereas their tenants would.
Former shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds appeared on LBC and also repeated the “broadest shoulders” line.
However, host Iain Dale like Ms Rigby demanded to know the specifics of Labour’s plans but failed to get any clear answers.
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