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Shadow chancellor puts tax reform top of policy agenda

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said his party must urgently develop tax policy as he said the Conservatives could not be trusted not to call an early general election.

Shadow chancellor puts tax reform top of policy agenda

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said the Conservative government cannot be trusted on its pledge not to call an early general election, as he pushed for 'urgency' in Labour's development of policy around tax and reforms to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Prime minister Theresa May ruled out  a snap general election after wining the Conservative party leadership contest this summer.

However, speaking at the Labour party conference following Jeremy Corbyn's re-election as leader, McDonnell said Labour needed to move quickly to develop its policies in case the Tories did decide to call an election soon.

'Although Theresa May said she doesn't want a general election, whoever trusted a Tory leader in the past on whatever they said? So there is a sense of urgency now in getting our policies together.'

Among Labour's potential policies is an assessment of HMRC, announced earlier this month, which will involve Prem Sikka of Essex University conducting a review to see if HMRC is 'fit for purpose'.

McDonnell said this was just the first stage of a four-stage plan, with the next steps looking at the legislative base in taxation to tackle tax evasion and avoidance, exploring what a reformed HMRC would be like and looking at a possible reformed tax base.

McDonnell said it was 'quite startling' to see the level of corporate influence over HMRC.

'If you look at the non-executive directors who sit on HMRC's board, most of them are from the accountancy organisations that have designed the tax avoidance schemes,' he said.

Currently the EU is developing a tax on financial transactions, though this idea has been subject to multiple challenges from the UK.

McDonnell said a financial transaction tax was a policy Labour would look into. 'A financial transaction tax could be one that doesn't depend on global or European agreements, but one that would be introduced within this country, and one that doesn't impact financial sector jobs, that is the trick we have to pull off.'

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

Denis Parkinson

Sep 26, 2016 at 17:44

Why do people think we need another financial transaction tax, when we already have one, its called stamp duty.

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