Keir Starmer grilled by Beth Rigby over Labour’s tax stance

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On Wednesday evening, the Labour Party voted against plans from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hike National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points to raise billions of pounds of additional funding for the NHS, and eventually social care. Under the Conservative Government’s blueprint, the NHS will receive most of the £36billion raised over the course of the first three years, with £5.4bn for social care in England. Sir Keir Starmer lambasted the Tories during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons over the move, and later lashed out at the Government for voting to increase NI to ramp up social care funding.

But he has come under attack from all sides, including his own Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, as he is yet to provide his own plan for reforming social care.

The Labour leader has now said a “range of options” need to be explored, and when pushed to confirm how he would increase social care funding, told Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby: I wouldn’t look to working people.

“I would say those with the broader shoulders should pay – that means those that earn their money in ways other than work should pay their own share.

“People who earn their money from properties, dividends, stocks, shares – they should be looked at.

“We need to look at a range of options – that includes the way people earn their money.

“We should look at all of that. Those with broader shoulders should pay their fair share.”

When pressed on whether that would be a tax on the wealth, he confirmed: “Yes, all of those options are a wealth tax, in the broadest sense of the word, and we should look at it.”

Sir Keir added it would be unfair for a landlord with numerous properties not to pay for a hike in NI whereas their tenants would.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Mr Burnham had earlier warned the Labour leader must come up with a plan for social care by the time the annual Labour Party conference begins on September 25 in Brighton.

This will be Sir Keir’s first in-person conference as leader, and he said: “I can’t wait to be amongst thousands of Labour members and supporters and having my first chance as Labour leader, to actually address them and tell them what the future looks like and how we’re going to build it together.”

But he has still not provided a full breakdown of how his proposal for social care would work, only saying his approach would be “preventative”.

The Labour leader continued: “I would introduce a preventative principle to intervene earlier, with acts of supports before people need care.

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“I will introduce an at home first approach by putting support for them and those who care for them, and a package for those working in the social care sector so they’re properly valued and paid.”

Mr Burnham had earlier warned Labour has no time to waste in setting out an alternative to the Prime Minister’s plan for social care.

Writing for the Evening Standard, he lambasted the plan but added it was not enough for his party simply to criticise, and that alternatives must be produced.

He wrote: “My advice to my party would be not to leave it too long before presenting one.

“Criticism of the Tory plan alone won’t cut through unless we say what we would do.”

On Wednesday, Sir Keir Starmer told MPs during PMQs: “His (Boris Johnson’s) plan is to impose unfair taxes on working people, my plan is to ensure those with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share.

“The truth is his plans don’t do what he claims.

“People will still face huge bills, many homeowners will need to sell their homes, he’s not denying it when he could have done.”

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