Treasury queries Sunak’s £2,000 tax claim he used in general election debate – UK politics live

From 1h ago

Treasury says Sunak not entitled to say it thinks Labour would raise taxes by £2,000, as he claimed in debate

In the debate last night Rishi Sunak claimed that “independent Treasury officials” were behind the claim that Labour would raises taxes for every family by £2,000. He said:

This election is about the future. And I’m clear that I’m going to keep cutting people’s taxes and as we now are.

You want to put everyone’s taxes up by £2,000 pounds. This is really important.

Independent Treasury officials who have costed Labour’s policies and they amount to a £2,000 pound tax rise for every working family.

Mark my words. Labour will raise your taxes. It’s in their DNA – your work your car, your pension. You name it, Labour will tax it.

This morning it emerged that James Bowler, permanent secretary at the Treasury, has said that this figure should be not presented as an official Treasury one. In a letter to Darren Jones, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Bowler said:

In your letter you highlight that the £38bn figure used in the Conservative party’s publication [the basis for the £2,000 per household claim] includes costs provided by the civil service and published online by HM Treasury.

I agree that any costings derived from other sources or produced by other organisations should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service.

I have reminded ministers and advisers that this should be the case.

Henry Zeffman from the BBC had the scoop.

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EXCLUSIVE

The chief Treasury civil servant wrote to Labour two days ago saying that the £38 billion/£2,000 tax attack “should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service”

He said he had reminded ministers of this pic.twitter.com/s00XBfbvAj

&mdash; Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) June 5, 2024

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EXCLUSIVE

The chief Treasury civil servant wrote to Labour two days ago saying that the £38 billion/£2,000 tax attack “should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service”

He said he had reminded ministers of this pic.twitter.com/s00XBfbvAj

— Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) June 5, 2024

In an interview with LBC Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said this letter showed that Sunak was “lying to the British public” last night. He said:

It has just broken on Twitter, or X as it’s now called, that the permanent secretary of the Treasury wrote to Tory ministers telling them that they could not use these figures, so they have been caught red-handed lying to the British public.

Every single policy that we put forward in this campaign will be fully costed and will explain where the money is coming from.

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Updated at 09.28 BST

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The Welsh first minister, Vaughan Gething, is facing a political crisis less than three months into office after it emerged he could lose a no-confidence vote on Wednesday.

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Welsh Labour has revealed that two of its MSs [members of the senedd] are ill and if they do not vote to back Gething, he will almost certainly be defeated.

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Though the vote is non-binding, it will be a huge blow both to his authority and to the UK Labour leadership.

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Gething’s tenure has been overshadowed by £200,000 in donations for his leadership campaign he took from a company whose owner, David Neal, was convicted of dumping waste on the Gwent Levels in south Wales.

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Last month the pressure increased with the emergence of iMessages with fellow Labour members from the time of the pandemic, when Gething was the Welsh health minister, in which he said he was going to delete a thread, which led to suspicions of decisions being covered up.

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It got worse when Gething sacked his minister for social partnership, Hannah Blythyn, suggesting she had leaked the messages, which she denied. Within hours, Plaid Cymru had ended its cooperation agreement with the Welsh government, making it trickier for the government to operate as it does not have an overall Senedd majority.

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The no-confidence debate has been instigated by the Tories but both Plaid and the Lib Dems have said they will back it.

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At first minister’s questions yesterday, Gething insisted he would win the vote and repeated his assertions that he had broken no rules.

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But this morning, Vikki Howells, the chair of the Labour group of Senedd members, told Radio Wales Breakfast that two members are currently unwell. Both the Tories and Plaid have refused to “pair”, the informal arrangement under which a member will agree not to vote when a political opponent is ill to maintain the balance of votes.

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Howells said the decision not to pair showed the vote was a “gimmick designed to undermine our democracy”.

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Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said the Welsh people and Welsh Labour had lost confidence in Gething. “The only person left supporting Vaughan Gething is Keir Starmer,” he said.

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According to a poll, more than half of the public think Gething is “doing badly” as first minister. About 57% of people think he is doing a bad job at leading Wales, according to a YouGov poll of 1,066 Welsh voters for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University. Just 15% said he was doing well.

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Around 4.8m people watched ITV’s first leaders’ debate between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday night, a healthy figure that is still substantially down on the 6.7m who watched the same event during the 2019 general election.

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Although the election is of substantial interest to some people, the collective audience for programmes on other channels during the same 9pm timeslot was far larger. This included The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC One (3.1m viewers), England Women’s football on ITV4 (peaked at 1.4m), ITV2’s Love Island (1m), or Channel 5’s Into the Amazon with Robson Green – (400,000).

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The audience for television debates has steadily declined since they were first held in 2010, reflecting both the lack of novelty and a general audience drift away from live television towards streaming services such as Netflix which don’t feature news content.

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One of the challenges for broadcasters is fitting their election programming in around coverage of the Euro 2024 football tournament, Glastonbury festival, and Wimbledon tennis championships – all of which are set to dominate the media in the final weeks of the campaign. BBC News’ deputy CEO Jonathan Munro told the Guardian the clash with other events was “quite a nightmare” and the broadcaster was operating at “maximum stretch” in terms of what it can cover.

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Tuesday night’s event was one of only two events featuring the leaders of the two main political parties going head-to-head, with the other due to be hosted by the BBC at the end of the month.

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It is routine for Treasury officials to cost policy proposals from the opposition. MPs can use written parliamentry questions to find out how much government policies might cost, and there is an assumption that it is fair for ministers to do the same with opposition policies.

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But these exercises always produce figures that are dubious. That is not because people don’t trust Treasury officials to produce fair, impartial costings. It is because, to produce those costings, they have to make assumptions that go beyond the limited information the opposition will have published about its plans, and these assumptions come from special advisers, the political advisers working in the Treasury. They are inclined to make assumptions presenting their opponents’ plans in the worst light.

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However, this is not the point that James Bowler, the Treasury’s permanent secretary, is making in his letter to Labour. (See 9.26am.) The Treasury has explained where it is using partisan assumptions in its costings documents.

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Instead, Bowler is pointing out that the Tory £2,000 tax rise claim is based on a document costing Labour’s policies that includes figures that have not been signed off by the Treasury at all.

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Labour has identified three of these in its document rebutting the Tory claims.

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First, it says the Tories are assuming Labour would spend £2.4bn over four years on a fair pay agreement for social care. It says: “This was included in the Tory dodgy dossier but not in the government costings – meaning that even with spads [special advisers] providing the assumptions they could not get officials to sign this off.” It says it is not known yet how much this might cost, because it has not been negotiated.

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Second, Labour says the Tories are including £2bn being spent on support for Ukraine. It says the Treasury did not approve including this – because it is within the government’s spending plans anyway.

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And, third, Labour says the Tories are assuming that Labour would only raise £100m a year from extra inheritance tax revenue towards the end of the decade from its crackdown on non-dom status, not the £430m a year Labour claims. The Tories say “HMT figures” show the Labour calculation is wrong. Labour says: “There has been no opposition policy costing published explaining the assumptions behind this figure. This suggests that the Conservatives either don’t have such a figure, have not actually costed Labour’s policy in this area, or they have and the assumptions are such a stretch that they would not stand up to any scrutiny.”

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These only account for a small proportion of what Labour says are mistakes in the Tory document. I will post more on its main objections to the Tory figures (involving the Tories getting the Treasury to produce costings based on what Labour says are false assumptions) shortly.

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Here is a summary of how the papers covered last night’s debate by Jonathan Yerushalmy.

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In the debate last night Rishi Sunak claimed that “independent Treasury officials” were behind the claim that Labour would raises taxes for every family by £2,000. He said:

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\n

This election is about the future. And I’m clear that I’m going to keep cutting people’s taxes and as we now are.

\n

You want to put everyone’s taxes up by £2,000 pounds. This is really important.

\n

Independent Treasury officials who have costed Labour’s policies and they amount to a £2,000 pound tax rise for every working family.

\n

Mark my words. Labour will raise your taxes. It’s in their DNA – your work your car, your pension. You name it, Labour will tax it.

\n

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This morning it emerged that James Bowler, permanent secretary at the Treasury, has said that this figure should be not presented as an official Treasury one. In a letter to Darren Jones, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Bowler said:

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\n

In your letter you highlight that the £38bn figure used in the Conservative party’s publication [the basis for the £2,000 per household claim] includes costs provided by the civil service and published online by HM Treasury.

\n

I agree that any costings derived from other sources or produced by other organisations should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service.

\n

I have reminded ministers and advisers that this should be the case.

\n

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Henry Zeffman from the BBC had the scoop.

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EXCLUSIVE

The chief Treasury civil servant wrote to Labour two days ago saying that the £38 billion/£2,000 tax attack “should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service”

He said he had reminded ministers of this pic.twitter.com/s00XBfbvAj

&mdash; Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) June 5, 2024

\n\n"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

In an interview with LBC Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said this letter showed that Sunak was “lying to the British public” last night. He said:

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\n

It has just broken on Twitter, or X as it’s now called, that the permanent secretary of the Treasury wrote to Tory ministers telling them that they could not use these figures, so they have been caught red-handed lying to the British public.

\n

Every single policy that we put forward in this campaign will be fully costed and will explain where the money is coming from.

\n

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Good morning. We got snap reactions to the ITV debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer late last night, but sometimes the considered reactions are a bit better and there is plenty of time to mull over them today. Election campaigning is relatively light today, because Sunak and Starmer are attending the D-Day commemorations this morning, but there is still plenty to say about the debate, and the news this morning is dominated by the Tories and Labour trying to spin what happened to their advantage.

","elementId":"dfba00a9-22e8-42f0-9cc0-42bed6dc67be"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Here is the Guardian’s overnight story.

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GUARDIAN: Leaders clash on migration, tax and NHS in ill tempered debate #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/SntMi0KBR4

&mdash; Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 4, 2024

"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Keir Starmer’s main problem last night was that he was slow, and then a bit cursory, in rebutting Rishi Sunak’s central claim – that Labour would put taxes up by £2,000 for the average family. When this claim was first made last month, Labour produced a detailed response, arguing, fairly convincingly, that the figure was misleading because it was based on multiple assumptions about what Labour actually is proposing. In the debate Starmer (eventually) described the claim as “absolute garbage”. This morning Jonathan Ashworth, a shadow Cabinet Office minister, went further. In an interview with the Today programme, he described Sunak as Boris Johnson-style liar. He said:

","elementId":"98a7d3a0-02f2-4436-b007-d7bcc72cbeb3"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement","html":"

\n

Rishi Sunak was exposed as desperate last night – desperately lying about Labour’s tax plans, making accusations about Labour’s tax plans which are categorically untrue.

\n

Labour will not put up income tax, will not put up national insurance, will not put up VAT.

\n

Rishi Sunak was resorting to lying because he is desperate. And what do desperate people do when in a corner? They lie.

\n

We saw it with Boris Johnson over the parties in Downing Street in lockdown. And Rishi Sunak has exposed himself as no better and no different than Boris Johnson with his lies last night.

\n

","elementId":"1c7288b4-56b7-404e-905f-2f51cffba100"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

I will post more from Ashworth’s interview soon.

","elementId":"7a3df7ba-d067-470f-a6f5-455cab8b61ef"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Here is the agenda for the day.

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9.30am: Kate Forbes, Scotland’s deputy first minister, campaigns for the SNP in Bathgate and Linlithgow.

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Morning: Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer attend the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth.

","elementId":"aed0960e-16ea-4047-8ee4-5525916c61d1"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

3pm: Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, is campaigning in Romsey.

","elementId":"e5f8f575-4b20-4af1-bf64-d9090f964d5c"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Around 4pm: Members of the Senedd (MSs) debate a motion of no confidence in Vaughan Gething, the first minister. The debate will last about an hour.

","elementId":"62db877c-bd25-468f-a1e3-ee200ad90a45"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

If you want to contact me, please post a message below the line (BTL) or message me on X (Twitter). I can’t read all the messages BTL, but if you put “Andrew” in a message aimed at me, I am more likely to see it because I search for posts containing that word. If you want to flag something up urgently, it is best to use X; I’ll see something addressed to @AndrewSparrow very quickly. I find it very helpful when readers point out mistakes, even minor typos (no error is too small to correct). And I find your questions very interesting too. I can’t promise to reply to them all, but I will try to reply to as many as I can, either BTL or sometimes in the blog.

","elementId":"8e476ff1-0b91-4097-a4f8-ba086d58d1ee"}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1717574735000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"09.05 BST","blockLastUpdated":1717575986000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"09.26 BST","blockFirstPublished":1717574735000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"09.05 BST","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"09.05","title":"Labour accuses Sunak of lying like Boris Johnson about tax plans in ITV debate","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Wed 5 Jun 2024 10.22 BST","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Wed 5 Jun 2024 09.05 BST"}],"filterKeyEvents":false,"id":"key-events-carousel-mobile","absoluteServerTimes":false}” config=”{"renderingTarget":"Web","darkModeAvailable":false,"updateLogoAdPartnerSwitch":true,"assetOrigin":"https://assets.guim.co.uk/"}”>

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Welsh FM Vaughan Gething at risk of no confidence defeat after Labour confirms 2 of its MSs may be too ill to vote

Steven Morris

Steven Morris

The Welsh first minister, Vaughan Gething, is facing a political crisis less than three months into office after it emerged he could lose a no-confidence vote on Wednesday.

Welsh Labour has revealed that two of its MSs [members of the senedd] are ill and if they do not vote to back Gething, he will almost certainly be defeated.

Though the vote is non-binding, it will be a huge blow both to his authority and to the UK Labour leadership.

Gething’s tenure has been overshadowed by £200,000 in donations for his leadership campaign he took from a company whose owner, David Neal, was convicted of dumping waste on the Gwent Levels in south Wales.

Last month the pressure increased with the emergence of iMessages with fellow Labour members from the time of the pandemic, when Gething was the Welsh health minister, in which he said he was going to delete a thread, which led to suspicions of decisions being covered up.

It got worse when Gething sacked his minister for social partnership, Hannah Blythyn, suggesting she had leaked the messages, which she denied. Within hours, Plaid Cymru had ended its cooperation agreement with the Welsh government, making it trickier for the government to operate as it does not have an overall Senedd majority.

The no-confidence debate has been instigated by the Tories but both Plaid and the Lib Dems have said they will back it.

At first minister’s questions yesterday, Gething insisted he would win the vote and repeated his assertions that he had broken no rules.

But this morning, Vikki Howells, the chair of the Labour group of Senedd members, told Radio Wales Breakfast that two members are currently unwell. Both the Tories and Plaid have refused to “pair”, the informal arrangement under which a member will agree not to vote when a political opponent is ill to maintain the balance of votes.

Howells said the decision not to pair showed the vote was a “gimmick designed to undermine our democracy”.

Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said the Welsh people and Welsh Labour had lost confidence in Gething. “The only person left supporting Vaughan Gething is Keir Starmer,” he said.

According to a poll, more than half of the public think Gething is “doing badly” as first minister. About 57% of people think he is doing a bad job at leading Wales, according to a YouGov poll of 1,066 Welsh voters for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University. Just 15% said he was doing well.

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Updated at 10.22 BST

Sunak/Starmer debate on ITV watched by 4.8m people, figures show

Jim Waterson

Jim Waterson

Around 4.8m people watched ITV’s first leaders’ debate between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday night, a healthy figure that is still substantially down on the 6.7m who watched the same event during the 2019 general election.

Although the election is of substantial interest to some people, the collective audience for programmes on other channels during the same 9pm timeslot was far larger. This included The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC One (3.1m viewers), England Women’s football on ITV4 (peaked at 1.4m), ITV2’s Love Island (1m), or Channel 5’s Into the Amazon with Robson Green – (400,000).

The audience for television debates has steadily declined since they were first held in 2010, reflecting both the lack of novelty and a general audience drift away from live television towards streaming services such as Netflix which don’t feature news content.

One of the challenges for broadcasters is fitting their election programming in around coverage of the Euro 2024 football tournament, Glastonbury festival, and Wimbledon tennis championships – all of which are set to dominate the media in the final weeks of the campaign. BBC News’ deputy CEO Jonathan Munro told the Guardian the clash with other events was “quite a nightmare” and the broadcaster was operating at “maximum stretch” in terms of what it can cover.

Tuesday night’s event was one of only two events featuring the leaders of the two main political parties going head-to-head, with the other due to be hosted by the BBC at the end of the month.

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Updated at 10.12 BST

Why Treasury says it cannot endorse claim Labour would raise taxes by £2,000

It is routine for Treasury officials to cost policy proposals from the opposition. MPs can use written parliamentry questions to find out how much government policies might cost, and there is an assumption that it is fair for ministers to do the same with opposition policies.

But these exercises always produce figures that are dubious. That is not because people don’t trust Treasury officials to produce fair, impartial costings. It is because, to produce those costings, they have to make assumptions that go beyond the limited information the opposition will have published about its plans, and these assumptions come from special advisers, the political advisers working in the Treasury. They are inclined to make assumptions presenting their opponents’ plans in the worst light.

However, this is not the point that James Bowler, the Treasury’s permanent secretary, is making in his letter to Labour. (See 9.26am.) The Treasury has explained where it is using partisan assumptions in its costings documents.

Instead, Bowler is pointing out that the Tory £2,000 tax rise claim is based on a document costing Labour’s policies that includes figures that have not been signed off by the Treasury at all.

Labour has identified three of these in its document rebutting the Tory claims.

First, it says the Tories are assuming Labour would spend £2.4bn over four years on a fair pay agreement for social care. It says: “This was included in the Tory dodgy dossier but not in the government costings – meaning that even with spads [special advisers] providing the assumptions they could not get officials to sign this off.” It says it is not known yet how much this might cost, because it has not been negotiated.

Second, Labour says the Tories are including £2bn being spent on support for Ukraine. It says the Treasury did not approve including this – because it is within the government’s spending plans anyway.

And, third, Labour says the Tories are assuming that Labour would only raise £100m a year from extra inheritance tax revenue towards the end of the decade from its crackdown on non-dom status, not the £430m a year Labour claims. The Tories say “HMT figures” show the Labour calculation is wrong. Labour says: “There has been no opposition policy costing published explaining the assumptions behind this figure. This suggests that the Conservatives either don’t have such a figure, have not actually costed Labour’s policy in this area, or they have and the assumptions are such a stretch that they would not stand up to any scrutiny.”

These only account for a small proportion of what Labour says are mistakes in the Tory document. I will post more on its main objections to the Tory figures (involving the Tories getting the Treasury to produce costings based on what Labour says are false assumptions) shortly.

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Updated at 10.10 BST

How papers covered Sunak/Starmer debate

Here is a summary of how the papers covered last night’s debate by Jonathan Yerushalmy.

Treasury says Sunak not entitled to say it thinks Labour would raise taxes by £2,000, as he claimed in debate

In the debate last night Rishi Sunak claimed that “independent Treasury officials” were behind the claim that Labour would raises taxes for every family by £2,000. He said:

This election is about the future. And I’m clear that I’m going to keep cutting people’s taxes and as we now are.

You want to put everyone’s taxes up by £2,000 pounds. This is really important.

Independent Treasury officials who have costed Labour’s policies and they amount to a £2,000 pound tax rise for every working family.

Mark my words. Labour will raise your taxes. It’s in their DNA – your work your car, your pension. You name it, Labour will tax it.

This morning it emerged that James Bowler, permanent secretary at the Treasury, has said that this figure should be not presented as an official Treasury one. In a letter to Darren Jones, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Bowler said:

In your letter you highlight that the £38bn figure used in the Conservative party’s publication [the basis for the £2,000 per household claim] includes costs provided by the civil service and published online by HM Treasury.

I agree that any costings derived from other sources or produced by other organisations should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service.

I have reminded ministers and advisers that this should be the case.

Henry Zeffman from the BBC had the scoop.

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EXCLUSIVE

The chief Treasury civil servant wrote to Labour two days ago saying that the £38 billion/£2,000 tax attack “should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service”

He said he had reminded ministers of this pic.twitter.com/s00XBfbvAj

&mdash; Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) June 5, 2024

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EXCLUSIVE

The chief Treasury civil servant wrote to Labour two days ago saying that the £38 billion/£2,000 tax attack “should not be presented as having been produced by the civil service”

He said he had reminded ministers of this pic.twitter.com/s00XBfbvAj

— Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) June 5, 2024

In an interview with LBC Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said this letter showed that Sunak was “lying to the British public” last night. He said:

It has just broken on Twitter, or X as it’s now called, that the permanent secretary of the Treasury wrote to Tory ministers telling them that they could not use these figures, so they have been caught red-handed lying to the British public.

Every single policy that we put forward in this campaign will be fully costed and will explain where the money is coming from.

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Updated at 09.28 BST

Labour accuses Sunak of lying like Boris Johnson about tax plans in ITV debate

Good morning. We got snap reactions to the ITV debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer late last night, but sometimes the considered reactions are a bit better and there is plenty of time to mull over them today. Election campaigning is relatively light today, because Sunak and Starmer are attending the D-Day commemorations this morning, but there is still plenty to say about the debate, and the news this morning is dominated by the Tories and Labour trying to spin what happened to their advantage.

Here is the Guardian’s overnight story.

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GUARDIAN: Leaders clash on migration, tax and NHS in ill tempered debate #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/SntMi0KBR4

&mdash; Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) June 4, 2024

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Keir Starmer’s main problem last night was that he was slow, and then a bit cursory, in rebutting Rishi Sunak’s central claim – that Labour would put taxes up by £2,000 for the average family. When this claim was first made last month, Labour produced a detailed response, arguing, fairly convincingly, that the figure was misleading because it was based on multiple assumptions about what Labour actually is proposing. In the debate Starmer (eventually) described the claim as “absolute garbage”. This morning Jonathan Ashworth, a shadow Cabinet Office minister, went further. In an interview with the Today programme, he described Sunak as Boris Johnson-style liar. He said:

Rishi Sunak was exposed as desperate last night – desperately lying about Labour’s tax plans, making accusations about Labour’s tax plans which are categorically untrue.

Labour will not put up income tax, will not put up national insurance, will not put up VAT.

Rishi Sunak was resorting to lying because he is desperate. And what do desperate people do when in a corner? They lie.

We saw it with Boris Johnson over the parties in Downing Street in lockdown. And Rishi Sunak has exposed himself as no better and no different than Boris Johnson with his lies last night.

I will post more from Ashworth’s interview soon.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Kate Forbes, Scotland’s deputy first minister, campaigns for the SNP in Bathgate and Linlithgow.

Morning: Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer attend the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth.

3pm: Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, is campaigning in Romsey.

Around 4pm: Members of the Senedd (MSs) debate a motion of no confidence in Vaughan Gething, the first minister. The debate will last about an hour.

If you want to contact me, please post a message below the line (BTL) or message me on X (Twitter). I can’t read all the messages BTL, but if you put “Andrew” in a message aimed at me, I am more likely to see it because I search for posts containing that word. If you want to flag something up urgently, it is best to use X; I’ll see something addressed to @AndrewSparrow very quickly. I find it very helpful when readers point out mistakes, even minor typos (no error is too small to correct). And I find your questions very interesting too. I can’t promise to reply to them all, but I will try to reply to as many as I can, either BTL or sometimes in the blog.

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Updated at 09.26 BST

The Guardian

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