Use Labour’s ‘Tory tax calculator’ as long election year begins

Morgan Jones
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Good morning. Welcome back to the full-fat LabourList morning email, and welcome to 2024, the general election year. Probably. Speculation about the timing of the next election was a topic of keen discussion over the break, with Emily Thornberry claiming that the call to hold an election in May is the “worst kept secret” in Westminster, whereas the Times‘ Tim Shipman has reported that Downing Street is eyeing a date in November.

Everyone and their mum has had a go at guessing the date, and the Mirror yesterday published the results of a poll which found two-thirds of those surveyed want a general election by summer.

Personally I’m not in the guessing game, but my one prediction on this matter is that we’re going to hear more and more about how there’s going to be a May election from Labour, as the party sets up a narrative of Rishi Sunak engaged in a cowardly process of dither and delay.

If they create the pressure that tips the Prime Minister’s decision towards an earlier election, great; if they don’t, they can call him names instead. It’s a win-win bit of comms (but, I think, tells us next to nothing about the actual date of the next election). Expect to see Labour figures calling for an earlier or immediate election at every possible juncture (yes, more even than last year).

Tory tax calculator 

With a view to the issues that really matter to people at election time – the pound in their pocket, and specifically, how many of them there are – Labour has released a “Tory tax calculator”, an online tool that will show you the impacts of the Tory tax regime on your salary. You also have to put in your contact details; everything is data.

The tool will be going out in targeted social media advertisements, and shadow financial secretary James Murray said: “The tax burden is now set to be the highest on record, with 25 Tory tax rises since the last election alone. Never before have working people been asked to pay so much and get so little back. It is time for change. We need an election now to give the British public the chance to vote for a changed Labour Party that will change Britain for the better.” See what I mean about calling for an election at all possible junctures?

New on LabourList

If, instead of spending time with your loved ones, you were monitoring LabourList over the Christmas period, you’ll have spotted our series of Christmas specials and year in review pieces. If you didn’t, why not take a look now? We hope you enjoyed our Christmas quiz, Katie’s ‘key Labour moments of 2023’ run-down and our snooping on the reading lists and New Year’s resolutions of Labour figures.

WAR ON APATHY: Keir Starmer will make a pitch to disengaged voters in his New Year’s message this week and will tell the public that 2024 is a “year of choice” (The i).

SHELTER: New research from the charity finds that single-parent households are more likely to be evicted, with more than 70,000 such households facing eviction this winter (Guardian).

BMA: Junior doctors are on strike tomorrow. More on this in tomorrow’s email (Guardian).

ASYLUM BACKLOG: The government has been touting a reduction in the asylum backlog this morning, but, unsurprisingly, Labour is having none of it. Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said that “the asylum backlog has rocketed to 165,000 under the Tories – eight times higher than when Labour left office – and no slicing or renaming the figures can disguise that fact”. He claimed that even their apparent clearing of the so-called ‘legacy backlog’ was “false”. Meanwhile Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones echoed these sentiments on the Today programme this morning. “The numbers keep changing,” he said.

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