Labour could bring in heavier taxes for wealthy, Keir Starmer suggests

Keir Starmer - Ian Forsyth
Keir Starmer - Ian Forsyth

Labour could tax wealth more heavily if the party wins power after the next election, Sir Keir Starmer suggested on Wednesday as he wrapped up his party’s conference.

He told LBC Radio that he was considering what would be a “fair way to tax all income wherever it comes from”.

The Labour leader rejected the suggestion that he wanted to impose a “wealth tax” - but he said he was “looking at how we tax fairly”.

Sir Keir said at the weekend that Labour would reinstate the 45p top rate of income tax - scrapped by the Tories in last week’s controversial mini-Budget - if it wins power.

Asked whether he would roll out a wealth tax, he said: “We are looking at how we tax fairly. On wealth, I am looking at whether and how we tax all different forms of income.

“Some people obviously earn their income through a wage, other people earn it through stocks and shares and dividends and we are looking at what is a fair way to tax all income wherever it comes from.”

'Not a wealth tax'

Told that it sounded like a “wealth tax”, Sir Keir said: “No, it is not really a wealth tax. It is looking at different forms of income, it is stocks and shares and dividends.”

The Labour leader admitted that some of the tax cuts he was promising - such as sticking to the Tories’ pledge to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p - were unfunded.

The BBC Radio 4 Today programme quoted Institute for Fiscal Studies statistics showing that of the Tories’ £45 billion of tax cuts, Labour had pledged to reverse less than half.

Sir Keir did not query these figures, and accepted that an incoming Labour government would initially have to borrow to fund the income tax cut.

He also said comments made by his MP Rupa Huq about Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng being “superficially black” were “racist”.

And he denied accusations he was “boring”, saying the birth of his children was his most “exciting moment”.

The comments came as Labour’s conference - seen as one of the most successful in years - drew to a close.

The event was officially closed by deputy leader Angela Rayner, who said the chaos of the past few days showed that voters no longer had to choose between "heart versus head" when it came to voting for Labour.

She said: "Too often when it comes to elections, people feel they have a choice of heart versus head. Values or competence. I say to those watching at home - this week we have shown it's a choice you will never have to make again.

"And this past week, the Tories have shown it too. The Conservative Party are no longer pretending to be competent and stable."

Speaking on the main stage in Liverpool, Ms Rayner said: "Never again can we let them pretend they are the patriotic party. I love my country. That's why I want so much better for it.

"But the Tories now think our biggest economic problem, is you. The working people of Britain. And while they think you are our country’s greatest weakness, we know that you are our greatest strength."

She warned delegates that Boris Johnson  was "plotting a comeback with a glint in his eye" after the chaos of last week's mini-Budget

The deputy leader added that a Labour government would be "radical, responsible, realistic".

“This week we have shown how together we will transform this country. And the depth of talent across our party. And we have come together to honour our history as only Labour can," she said.

"Be in no doubt, the times ahead are going to be tough. Now, let’s rise to the moment and deliver for the working people of Britain.