Sunday shows: Sunak tax arrangements an issue of “basic fairness”, Labour says

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper discussed Akshata Murty’s non-domiciled status and the implications for her husband Rishi Sunak, telling viewers that “ethics do matter when you’re in government” and that Labour is carrying out a “review of all the tax exemptions and tax arrangements”.

  • On whether UK sanctions on Russia need to be tougher: “We do support stronger action… We think we need to be continually looking at where further we can go to put maximum economic pressure on Russia and on Putin’s government.”
  • On Germany’s reluctance to stop importing Russian gas: “Germany and other countries should really all work together to try and reduce that dependency on Russian oil and gas and to actually have alternatives. Because this is obviously a part of a broader sanctions approach. We have to have the strongest possible action to put the pressure on.”
  • On military support the UK has provided to Ukraine: “We support the action the government’s taken on this… There are huge differences between us and the government on the support for refugees – we don’t think the government’s gone far enough – but we actually support the government on the action that they’ve taken to provide military support.”
  • On the government’s visa scheme for Ukrainian refugees: “The issue around the refugee visas is really important. It is shocking. It is just truly shameful the long delays that we have in getting Ukrainian families visas to come stay with British families who want to host and support them.”
  • On whether Labour would support the removal of the visa requirement: “We’ve described a kind of emergency visa which is effectively just the security checks. That’s what we need to do. You don’t need a lot of these additional visa requirements.”
  • On security checks: “You can do them on the spot, you can do them within a matter of hours. So there is absolutely no excuse for these weeks of delays, we should be able to just do this and grant people permission to come pretty much instantly and get those checks done straight away.”
  • She added: “These are the standard security checks that we already do… Ministers and officials have themselves said that security checks can be done online… That’s not what’s holding things up. It’s not the security checks. It’s the fact that they’ve added huge amounts of bureaucracy.”
  • Asked whether Labour, in government, would scrap non-domiciled status: “Rachel Reeves has set up a review of all the tax exemptions and tax arrangements, and that is underway at the moment.”
  • Asked whether it was unfair to criticise people for using non-dom status if Labour is not planning to ban it: “I don’t think that’s right. I think that ethics do matter when you’re in government. Particularly as there may be a conflict of interest here as well.”
  • On Labour’s proposal for police hubs to tackle antisocial behaviour: “We want to set up neighbourhood police hubs in communities and towns right across the country to bring together the police, local council officers to tackle that anti-social behaviour that was making people’s lives a misery, and we’ll pay for it by saying cancel the royal yacht that neither the Navy nor the royal family want and use that money.”
  • Asked whether cancelling the royal yacht would provide the funding necessary for the scheme: “The royal yacht funding would fund the hubs. It would fund the centres.”

On Rishi Sunak and his wife’s tax affairs, policing minister Kit Malthouse argued that the fact that the Sunak had held a green card while serving as Chancellor “certainly didn’t impact on his tax position in the UK where he was paying tax” and said it was a “hangover” from Sunak’s time studying at Stanford University.

Asked whether the Chancellor is “toast” from a political perspective, Malthouse said: “no, I don’t believe he is”, adding that Sunak has been a “remarkable force for good” in the UK and is a “smart, clever, committed politician”.

Sunday Morning

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper argued this morning that the lack of transparency surrounding Rishi Sunak’s tax arrangements “does raise questions about conflicts of interest” and that the row caused by revelations relating to his and his wife’s personal finances is one of “basic fairness”.

  • On Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty: “This is about their household and whether or not they have special tax arrangements at a time when the Chancellor is asking people right across the country to pay so much more in tax.”
  • Asked whether Sunak should make public his tax affairs: “The lack of transparency does raise questions about conflict of interest, but also it’s about basic fairness. And I still don’t think the Chancellor gets that.”
  • She added” “The fact that they have changed their tax arrangements now show that they do recognise it’s a problem but they wouldn’t have done that if this hadn’t been public.”
  • Asked whether Labour would scrap non-domiciled status: “Rachel [Reeves] has a review under way at the moment looking into all of the exemptions. I’ll let Rachel report back on her review because she’s the Shadow Chancellor.”
  • She added: “None of this gets away from this Chancellor’s personal responsibility. He is putting taxes up in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”
  • On calls for Ukrainian refugees to be allowed to enter the UK without a visa: “We think we should have security checks, but you can do those really quickly. The situation we’ve got at the moment is a total nightmare. There’s huge amounts of bureaucracy and huge delays.”
  • Asked why she thinks there should be security checks: “Security checks can be done straightaway. Ministers and officials have accepted they can be done within hours, if not on the spot. They’re electronic checks… We think they’re sensible, because it’s just sensible. You can do them and they don’t delay anybody coming.”
  • “You don’t delay anybody coming by doing basic security checks and by being able to make sure, for example, that you don’t have some of the problems that we’ve seen – at the margins but which are still serious – around human trafficking, around exploitation, of course you have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
  • On Priti Patel and the Home Office: “I don’t know what the point is of Priti Patel’s Home Office. Crime’s going up, prosecutions going down and visas are being denied.”

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