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Taxes? What taxes?

On Tuesday, voters were treated to the first Leaders’ debate of the campaign, and taxation played a key part. 

Both parties have been coy about their plans for taxation, but the Prime Minister took the opportunity afforded by the Leader’s debate to claim that under Labour, households would be £2,000 worse off. 

Keir Starmer hit back after the debate, accusing the PM of deliberately lying about the number, and stating that a Labour government would not raise taxes for ‘working people’. 

Leaving aside who counts as a ‘working person’ (do hard-working PR consultants count?) the big question has been where Labour will get the money they need to fund public services. 

Labour’s manifesto is reported to be just 30 pages long, and will probably reserve detail for sections which are unlikely to raise taxes - such as worker’s protection. 

This is not sitting well with Labour members or MPs. 

Rachel Reeves is reportedly being pressured by members of her shadow cabinet to raise capital gains tax in her first autumn budget, should she become the UK’s first female Chancellor. 

The Left has always felt that unearned income should be taxed higher, and that such a raise could bring in billions of pounds to the treasury. Ideologically, it is in the same vein as removing VAT-exception for private schools. But Reeves has spent the last few years courting support in the City of London, and such policies could threaten those relationships at a crucial time. 

It remains to be seen how radical (or not) Labour’s manifesto will be next week, especially compared to an expected ‘steadying the ship’ approach which we are likely to see from the Conservative manifesto. It is clear, however, that taxation will continue to be the Conservatives preferred subject in this election. 

The question is, do the voters share their concerns? 

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By Matthew Detzler

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