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Fact check: Would families face a £2,000 tax rise under Labour?

06 Jun 2024 2 minute read
ITV photo of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right), host Julie Etchingham and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during the ITV General Election debate at MediaCity in Salford. Photo Jonathan Hordle/ITV/PA Wire

The Conservative claim that a Labour government would mean a £2,000 tax rise for every working family has dominated the General Election news agenda since the first TV debate on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “would put up everyone’s taxes by £2,000” and that a Labour government would mean “£2,000 higher taxes for every working family”. Mr Starmer described this as “absolute garbage”.

Cumulative estimate

The £2,000 figure, which is a cumulative estimate of how much more families would be taxed over the next four years, is unreliable and based on a number of assumptions.

It comes from a Conservative calculation of Labour’s “unfunded spending commitments”, but many of the costings behind it are uncertain. Even if the figure was right, we can’t be certain this money would be collected by raising taxes, and if it was, families are unlikely to be affected equally.

Row over Treasury costings

The source of the Conservatives’ figure has also been in the spotlight, after Mr Sunak claimed in Tuesday’s TV debate that “independent Treasury officials have costed Labour’s policies and they amount to a £2,000 tax rise”.

That’s not entirely accurate.

Many of the figures used in the Conservatives’ estimate do come from Treasury costings of opposition policies that were published earlier this year. But some of the figures in the document come from other sources, and the Treasury was not involved in calculating the total figure.

The Permanent Secretary for HM Treasury, James Bowler, wrote in a letter to Labour’s Darren Jones on June 3 that “civil servants were not involved in the production or presentation of the Conservative party’s document ‘Labour’s Tax Rises’ or in the calculation of the total figure used”.

It’s also worth noting that many Treasury costings of opposition policies rely on assumptions from special advisors, who are political appointees not civil servants.

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Ap Kenneth
1 day ago

This is the Conservative Party that increased VAT from 17.5% to 20% in January 2011. That is 13 years of my spending being taxed by a further 2.5%, petrol, holidays, presents, TVs etc. Not a progressive tax so affects the poor more than the rich who save or invest in assets.A Conservative tax atom bomb that decays the economy.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 day ago

As established on Question Time tonight – this claim by Sunak – is a blatant lie. Undoubtedly, there will be more lies to come and probably from both parties. Don’t trust either – just vote Plaid.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
6 minutes ago

Who knows! Impossible to believe anything said by the main parties, particularly at election time. Vote for Wales, vote Plaid

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