A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Conservative MP and Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Mel Stride replying to the anti-inflation budget plan at the House of Commons in London on September 23, 2022. – The UK’s new government is unveiling multi-billion-pound measures aimed at supporting households and businesses hit by the highest inflation in decades. (Photo by JESSICA TAYLOR / UK PARLIAMENT / AFP)
The leader of the UK’s main opposition party on Sunday vowed to reverse a tax cut for top earners announced by the Conservative government as the nation heads for recession.
The new Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss supports tax cuts as a way to stimulate economic growth and her government removed a top rate of 45 percent for the highest earners in a “mini-budget” announced Friday.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, speaking before the party’s annual conference in Liverpool, told the BBC that if his party won power, he would cancel the tax cut for those who earn over £150,000 (168,000 euros) per year.
Doubts over the tax-cutting budget prompted the sterling to collapse to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985.
“I do not think the choice to have tax cuts for those that are earning hundreds of thousands of pounds is the right choice when the economy is struggling the way it is, working people are struggling the way they are,” Starmer said.
“It is hugely risky, it is hugely divisive, and I would reverse it,” he said while backing the Tories’ slight cut in income tax for all earners.
Another prominent Labour politician, Andy Burnham, also harshly criticised the Conservative move as people struggle with soaring energy bills and inflation.
“I can still barely believe what we saw on Friday,” the mayor of Manchester in northern England told Sky News.
“We’re in the midst of the worst cost of the living crisis we’ve ever experienced… and then you have a budget that splashes billions on the wealthiest in the country and actually doesn’t do anything meaningful to get people through the autumn and the winter.”
Finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng defended the move, telling the BBC: “I want people to keep more of their own money. I don’t believe like Labour that we can just tax our way to prosperity. That’s never happened.”