“This is not the time to consider tax rises,” says Labour

Elliot Chappell

Shadow Treasury minister James Murray has suggested that the Labour Party would not support any tax increases in the next Budget being delivered by Rishi Sunak on March 3rd.

In a BBC interview this afternoon, the shadow financial secretary to the Treasury said: “This is not the time to consider tax rises. We’re in the middle of an economic crisis, and this is not the time to do it.”

Pressed on whether Labour would support any tax increases in the statement from the Chancellor next week, Murray insisted that “we don’t want to see tax rises – this is not the time to do that”.

The opposition frontbencher was asked about reports that the government is considering a rise in corporation tax or a windfall tax on certain companies, such as supermarkets, that have done well in the pandemic.

“Let’s see what the government put out in the Budget next week rather than talking about hypotheticals,” he replied. “The government should be focusing on now is investment and growth and trying to get the economy back on its feet.

“And if you have a country where businesses are closing, where people don’t have money to spend in the economy and where you haven’t got investment going into public services and infrastructure, that is no way to get the country back on its feet.”

Momentum has criticised the comments from Murray this afternoon, arguing that the party should “support both raising corporation tax and a special Covid-19 windfall tax for sectors that have made super profits”.

A spokesperson said: “We should use the cash to fund a new future for Britain based on a green jobs boom, a massive program of social house building, and taking rail, mail and utilities back into democratic public ownership.”

Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called on the government to introduce a windfall tax for companies that have done well during the health crisis on Sunday to pay to cancel household debts accrued in the pandemic.

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