Peter Hain calls for “more radical” Labour to deal with Green threat

Peter Hain has called for Labour to propose comprehensive reforms to the tax system in a bid to win back votes from the Green Party. In a new book to be published next week, called Back to the Future of Socialism, Hain argues for an effective top band income tax rate of 62%, a Robin Hood Tax, a Graduate Tax, a stamp duty tax on football transfer fees, higher VAT for luxury goods, and reforms to inheritance tax.

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He identified many Green supporters as “natural Labour sympathisers” and warned that if Labour were not more vocal on issues like climate change then a rise in Green support would lead to a second term for David Cameron.

With a recent surge in membership and apparent poll boost for the party, the former Work and Pensions Secretary told the Guardian:

“Labour needs to be more radical to counter the threat of the Greens.”

“It’s vital Labour become not just the reds but also the greens of British politics – both to lead the fight against climate change and to ensure natural Labour sympathisers do not inadvertently allow the anti-green David Cameron to remain prime minister by voting for the Green Party.”

The Green Party are currently averaging around 7% in the polls – one point behind the Lib Dems – while Labour’s poll rating has dropped a couple of points since the beginning of the month to 33%. At the 2010 General Election, the Greens won 0.9% of the vote. New pre-election TV debate proposals announced yesterday included an invitation for a Green Party representative.

Hain claims his ideas to reform income tax and National Insurance (NI) would raise £6bn and £11bn a year, while a financial transaction tax (commonly known as a Robin Hood Tax) would produce £20bn a year extra income for the Treasury.

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