“Tough decisions” was the phrase Chancellor Jeremy Hunt used repeatedly in the run-up to his autumn statement last week. During today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Keir Starmer analyzed the economic choices made by the Rishi Sunak government. Bringing non-dom tax status back to the fore, the Labor leader demanded to know how much more “super-wealthy” people using the status would have to pay after the autumn statement. When the Prime Minister failed to answer the question, Starmer did it for her, revealing that Sunak did not want non-doms to pay “one penny more”, while the “typical household” would pay an extra £1,400 in tax. “It’s £3.6 billion thrown away every year because it won’t make them pay their taxes here,” Starmer said.
The Labor leader argued the money could be used to fund training places for 15,000 doctors every year, saying: “Labor would do that.” He told MPs, referring to reports that he was registered with a private doctor’s practice in Sunak: “We can continue to give tax breaks to the super rich or we can live in a society where people don’t have to leave. private to get a doctor’s appointment.” Starmer laid out the choices made by the Sunak government as straight forward: instead of scrapping non-dom status, “we have an NHS staffing crisis”; instead of forcing oil and gas companies to pay their “fair share” through an effective windfall tax, “it beats working people”; rather than delivering planning reform, it is “killing the dream of home ownership”.
As in previous weeks, Starmer focused much of his scrutiny on Sunak himself, accusing Sunak of being in “total denial” about the economic situation facing England and “turning his back” as a “low-level football manager in the league”. At Christmas, it marks the draw made on the trip three months ago. He pointed out that the country had seen “12 years of Tory failure followed by 12 weeks of Tory chaos” and placed a new Prime Minister as a continuation of that record: “Five Prime Ministers. Seven chancellors. Why do they always make fun of working people?”
Sunak’s final response was probably his strongest yet, calling out Starmer on his record – and mockingly deploying an argument often used by Labor: “He says one thing and does another.” But the claim that voters can trust him to “deliver for the country” – and Starmer “delivers”.[s] for his party” – rang hollow after being questioned by the Labor leader. Starmer’s analysis of the choices made by Sunak’s government made clear how the Prime Minister has failed, and continues to fail, to prioritize the British public.
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