LONDON — Labour would force workers who earn more than £1 million a year to publish their tax returns, the Shadow Chancellor has said.
John McDonnell believes that high earners must reveal how much they earn and how much they pay in tax, in order to reduce the scale of tax avoidance in the UK.
“There is a big issue now about, people don’t have trust in the establishment — they don’t think they’re listening to them, don’t think they’re paying their way or being fair,” he told the Guardian.
“So one way of re-establishing some element of openness and transparency would be, why not — over a million, you publish your tax return. Why not?”
McDonnell told the Guardian that while Labour would legislate to make high earners reveal their tax arrangements, the same would not apply to politicians. He would however, publish his own.
“I have a responsibility, if I want to look after the tax affairs of the country,” he said.
The Shadow Chancellor will on Thursday morning set out Labour’s economic priorities ahead of next week’s budget.
At an event in Central London, he is expected to say that Labour would increase funding for the NHS and raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour in a bid to create a “Real Living Wage.”
“Philip Hammond was right when he said people didn’t vote to be poorer in the referendum last year, and nor did they at the last General Election either. This is precisely why his first Budget next week cannot be used to make them worse off as part of his government’s risky Tory Brexit strategy,” he will say.
McDonnell’s speech is an attempt by Labour to focus their attacks on the government after a week of recriminations following the party’s historic defeat in the Copeland by-election.
Earlier this week McDonnell published an article claiming that there was a “soft coup” underway against his leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by elements within the Labour party who were conspiring with the “Murdoch empire.”
Asked about the comments yesterday, a spokesperson for Corbyn told Business Insider that: “John McDonnell has already talked about what he was referring to and he is in the same place as wanting to bring people together to make that happen.”
Asked whether Corbyn himself believed there was a “soft coup” against him, he replied: “I don’t think he has used that phrase but John McDonnell was clear about what he was talking about. I think Jeremy has said, for example, that Tony Blair’s intervention in the run-up to the by-election was not helpful.”
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