No stealth tax rises under Labour, says Bridget Phillipson

No stealth tax rises under Labour, says Bridget Phillipson
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 23/06/2024

- 12:57

Shadow Education Bridget Phillipson spoke to GB News today

There will be no stealth tax rises under a Labour government, according to Shadow Education Bridget Phillipson.

She also said Emily Thornberry was wrong to suggest that class sizes would go up in state schools due to the party’s plan to levy VAT on private school fees.

Phillipson told Camilla Tominey on GB News: “What Rachel Reeves the Shadow Chancellor has been clear about is that we are not interested in always just going to the tax rises lever. We've had a lot of that under the Conservatives. It's why taxes are at the highest rate for 70 years.

“We've set out that we will not increase VAT, National Insurance contributions, or income tax - that's iron-clad, in our manifesto. What we're focused on is growth.

“We've got to grow our economy, making sure we can then alleviate the pressures that working people are facing. We can invest more in our public services, if our economy had grown even in line with the OECD average in recent years, we would have a lot more money to invest in our public services...

“We were not interested in a wealth tax. Same with all of these questions. That is not where our instincts are. That is not what we're interested in, we have a focus on growth.”

Asked about possible increases in Council Tax and Capital Gains Tax, she said: “We have no plans, no interest in that. What we're focused on is growing our economy…working people have seen their taxes rise again and again.

“Nothing in our manifesto requires us to make any additional tax changes. Everything within that is fully funded and fully costed, so people can have confidence when they see our manifesto that all of the measures, all of the additional changes that we’re setting out have got a plan behind them, including the measures that you’ve identified.”

She also said her colleague Emily Thornberry was incorrect to suggest that class sizes in state schools would rise due to the party’s plan to levy VAT on private school fees.

Phillipson said: “I'm afraid what Emily said was wrong. And I don't accept that, not least because at the moment in primary schools, for example, we've got over 600,000 spare places, it's over 400,000 within secondary schools, we're seeing falling pupil numbers, the birth rate is falling, we'll have fewer children coming through our state schools.

“This process of schools seeking to merge and close has already begun under the Conservatives because of the falling birth rate that we're seeing.

“I would say when it comes to the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the work they've set out around this, what they concluded is they would anticipate limited impact and that they say that our plans would raise £1.3 billion to £1.5 billion net.

“That's taking account of any behaviour change, but the figure that they use when it comes to the potential for movement which they say they don't believe will be big is over the medium term.

“So it's not a case of those children being withdrawn from private schools. Parents over the medium term might consider whether they want to opt for a private school in the first place.”


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