Starmer vows to scrap own pension tax scheme after being accused of hypocrisy
By Ben Chapman
Published: 23/03/2023- 18:49
Updated: 24/03/2023- 07:33
Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to include himself in plans to scrap a pensions tax break for high earners should be become prime minister.
The Labour leader has said he will reverse Government plans to get rid of the £1m cap on lifetime pensions savings.
The Tories accused him of hypocrisy when it was revealed he was in line to benefit from a similar scheme.
He told a press conference that the perk had not been taken advantage of and he had not intended to do so.
The Labour leader has criticised Jeremy Hunt's budgetPA
He said: “I’m absolutely committed to changing what the Government did last week, which was to give a tax cut to the wealthiest one per cent.
“I don’t intend that to exclude me.”
Labour is opposing Jeremy Hunt’s Budget announcement to scrap the £1.07 million lifetime tax-free allowance on pensions savings, arguing it is a tax break for the very wealthy.
Following Labour announcing its opposition to the change, The Daily Telegraph reported this week that Sir Keir enjoys a special “tax-unregistered” pension scheme which means the lifetime allowance does not apply to his contributions from his time as DPP between 2008 and 2013.
The paper said Sir Keir, who was elected to Parliament in 2015, is the only member of the scheme, which broadly matches the tax benefits for judges.
When he stood down, the Government passed secondary legislation ensuring his pension was uprated annually to keep pace with rising prices.
The paper said it understood Sir Keir’s Civil Service pension is not large enough to incur a tax charge under the pension cap system on its own, and he has not paid into it since 2013.
Sir Keir said he wanted to tackle “head on” questions about his pension arrangement following a speech he gave in Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday.
He said: “Firstly, it was a government pension scheme put in place for DPPs.
“So that’s why it was a statutory instrument, it is a government-run scheme.
“I’m absolutely committed to changing what the Government did last week, which was to give a tax cut to the wealthiest 1%.”
He continued: “But let me go further than that. I don’t intend for that to exclude me and therefore… I haven’t taken advantage, there is no tax advantage and nor do I want one.“
So when we reverse that change the Government put in place last week, I will be included within that, whatever change is needed within legislation or anything else.
“I’m very happy, want to be and will be in the same position as everybody else in this country – I will be very clear about that.”