Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves. Photo: UK Parliament/CC
Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves. Photo: UK Parliament/CC

Sky News political editor Beth Rigby: “You said you’d raise taxes on the top 5% of earners when you were running to be Labour leader… Do you acknowledge that part of the trust issue is also about these [pledges]?”

Keir Starmer: “Totally disagree… I’ll tell you why. I think it’s more important to stand in front of voters and say: ‘I’m sorry, I can’t now afford what I said before because of the damage being done to the economy’.”

Who can’t afford it?

Working-class people can’t afford falling real-terms wages and crumbling services!

Even the London Metro, a capitalist newspaper owned by Viscount Rothermere, who also owns the Daily Mail, published a two-page spread entitled: ‘Super-rich must pay more tax, say multi-millionaires’ (3 June 2024). The feature laments that, despite public support for it, “politicians of all stripes have been unwilling to instigate any kind of wealth tax.”

The Socialist Party would. Our 30+ candidates in the general election, standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, will be campaigning to make the super-rich pay!

Even just a 20% levy on the combined wealth of £795 billion held by the 350 on the Sunday Times Rich List could raise £159 billion. Why not extend it to the richest 1,000?

Whole system guilty

And it’s more than just the super-rich hoarding the wealth. The profit-driven capitalist system, based on competition and exploitation, is inherently crisis-ridden. The desire to maximise profit leads the capitalist bosses’ class to attack the living standards of the working class – clawing back reforms, privatising services, and driving down real wages.

We call for the nationalisation of the top 150 companies that dominate the economy and the banks, so that a plan can be democratically drawn up by the working class to meet the needs of people and the environment.