Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey struggled under questioning on her party’s plan to claw back taxes from the rich and corporations.
Presented with a graphic of Labour’s spending plans on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Shadow Business Secretary insisted the costs would be paid for by reversing tax cuts.
She said research showed £70 billion would be saved by 2020 by reversing cuts to Corporation Tax, Inheritance Tax, the Bank Levy and Capital Gains Tax.
And she insisted it was based on independent research carried out by the House of Commons.
But the research was, in fact, carried out by the Labour Party , based on projections from the Office of Budget Responsibility.
And it is based on projections their projections up to 2022, not 2020.
A Labour spokesperson was unavailable for comment.
Host Andrew Marr said the figure would be closer to £30 billion.
Asked for a breakdown of the figure, she was unable to provide one.
Both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have used the figure before – most recently in the Labour leader’s response to the Budget.
But they said the £70 billion saving would be over five years, not three.
Long-Bailey said the list of spending commitments presented to her – which amounted to £63.5 billion – were “broadly accurate.”
But she added: “These are based on forecasts, so the position would change should we enter Government in 2020.”
Labour’s ‘Fiscal Credibility Rule’ would prevent the party from borrowing more for any of the spending listed.
Asked where the money would come from, she said: “We wouldn’t have made the decision this Government has, which is slashing taxes for the most wealthy in society – inheritance tax, capital gains tax, bank levy, corporation tax.”
Asked how much would be raised by cancelling the corporation tax cut she said: “Well, as a total package – we asked the House of Commons to do some research in terms of the money we would gain back if we reversed those tax breaks. And it’s £70 billion in total by 2020.”
Marr replied: “I don’t think it is” – asking to go through the plans one-by-one for clarity.
Long-Bailey replied: “We’ve done the research, Andrew, and we can provide details of that. The House of Commons have carried out independent research on this very point, based on OBR forecasts.”
Marr pressed her on the detail: “If you’ve done the research, you can tell me how much you would get from reversing the Corporation tax changes.”
But Long-Bailey repeated the figure of £70 billion for the package “as a whole”.
Marr said the answer to his question was around £17.7 billion, before asking how much Labour believed it would claw back from raising the inheritance tax threshold.
Again, Long-Bailey did not give an answer, repeating the figure of £70 billion overall by 2020.
Marr described Long-Bailey’s response as a “meaningless overall figure.”
But she insisted the “cumulative figure of those tax cuts by 2020 is £70 billion.”
Marr said: “It’s not, it’s really not.”
Long-Bailey said: “This is independent research carried out by the House of Commons Library, based on OBR figures.”
But the host said: “Corporation tax, based on the Budget Red Book, gets you £17 billion. Raising Inheritance Tax gets you just £2.8 billion. Capital gains tax cuts cost £3 billion, again, according to the budget and receipts from the bank levy are forecast to be only £4 billion lower by 2020, according to OBR estimates.”
Tory MP Amanda Milling, a member of the BEIS select committee, said: “Labour have shown once again that their sums just don’t add up – their proposals would raise less than half the money they think it would.
“The truth is that if your sums don’t add up, then you can’t be trusted to run the economy.
“As a result of the steps taken over the last seven years, we have a strong economy and we can’t put that at risk with Labour’s reckless proposals.”