Keir Starmer has been put on the spot by Charlie Stayt over how Labour would raise the £6 billion needed to maintain the Universal Credit uplift, with the presenter asking “who is it to pay for all this?”. The Labour Party leader announced during his party’s conference he would keep the extra £20 per week to help out struggling Britons days before the Government proceeded to cut the uplift.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Charlie Stayt asked: “Can I just get some clarity on these because, in a way, the easy bit of this, is saying ‘I would sustain the £20 a week, I would raise the national living wage’.
“The difficult bit is how you pay for that. And who is it who pays more tax to pay for all these commitments you’re making?
“£6 billion is the figure attached to the £20 a week, so how do you square up the finance?”
Keir Starmer said: “Let’s just look at what’s happened over the past 18 months.
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“We’ve had billions of pounds wasted on crony contracts, contracts that made Matt Hancock’s landlord…he got a contract for PPE.
“Millions of billions of pounds wasted on contracts that have never ever delivered
“We’ve got stamp duty relief for second-home owners and the Prime Minister is going ahead with building a vanity yacht which nobody needs.
“Don’t say to me the money isn’t available. The Government is making choices here.”
He continued: “We would go after that waste. One of the big announcements last week we made was value for money to make sure billions of pounds wasted on crony contracts, contracts that have never delivered.”
But the response did not seem to impress Mr Stayt, who hit back: “My question is, who’s going to pay more tax? Who’s going to pay more taxes here?
“You’re surely not suggesting to us that going after crony contracts…which is a slightly separate issue.
“You cannot seriously be suggesting that the answer to the financing, what you’re going to spend, lies only in going after crony contracts.
“There has to be…someone has to pay more tax. Why is that hard to say.”
Mr Starmer replied: “It’s not. What I’m saying, and I’m surprised anybody quarrels with the idea, that we need to cut this waste of billions of pounds.
“It cannot be right to have that amount of waste in the system. We will deal with that waste by having an Office of Value and for Money.
“But when it comes to taxation, the big divide between us and the Government is the Government wants to tax working people through National Insurance, we say it should be those with broader shoulders.”