Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2870

Labour betrays workers as it bows to the rich

The leaders of the Labour Party have made it very clear they will stand on the side of the rich and not impose a wealth tax
Issue 2870
Labour Rachel Reeves

Ed Miliband and Rachel Reeves (Picture: The Labour Party/Flickr)

The Tories and their class have looted vast sums of wealth by squeezing working class people. That’s no surprise. What is shocking is that Labour has now brazenly ruled out any attempt to take even a tiny portion of that hoard back.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves chose The Telegraph newspaper to receive her message that “I don’t need a wealth tax or any of those things. We have no plans for a wealth tax.

She added that preparations for office include “spending an awful lot of time with businesses”. Labour ought to be planning to take the lot from the corporations and the rich.

If capital gains tax rates—levied on profits from buying and selling assets such as second homes, shares, and businesses—were the same as income tax rates, it could raise at least £10 billion and possibly £25 billion a year for the NHS and wages.

A modest wealth tax on the richest 140,000 individuals—around 0.3 percent of the British population–could extract similar sums.

Just two years ago Reeves said “People who get their income through wealth should have to pay more” including those “who get their income through stocks and shares and buy-to-let properties”. Starmer and Reeves have abandoned all such pledges. These retreats are the latest acts as anything that might upset the chief executives and the bloated shareholders goes up in smoke.

A wholly boss-trained Labour Party is great news for the rip-off gas, electricity and water companies.

Speculators and the elite will be cheering. Labour’s usual method is to promise to confront the super-wealthy before an election—and then run away from confrontation in office.

Shadow chancellor Denis Healey—a very right wing Labour figure—told the 1973 Labour conference that there would be “howls of anguish” from people who were rich enough to pay the top rate of tax.

The following year he said he would “squeeze property speculators until the pips squeak”. And then the 1974 Labour government attacked workers, not big business and the rich.

Starmer and Reeves have gone further. They are systematically dismantling any radical policies.

That’s why Labour’s annual business forum hosted at its October conference is over-subscribed by 75 percent, with 200 delegated set to attend compared to 130 last year.

One danger is that by reflecting so much of Tory economic policy Labour is so uninspiring that it suppresses its own vote. It still seems unlikely that the Tories can escape electoral annihilation at the next election.

But it’s now guaranteed that a Starmer government would prioritise the interests of big capital over workers’ living standards and key services such as the NHS.

Fight the Tories now, and prepare to fight Starmer.

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