Starmer Stumped by Corporation Tax Questions

Sir Keir is in a flap trying to work out how to attack Liz’s new energy policy. There are plenty of arguments against it being posed by her free market allies, though given the Government’s policy is much grander than Labour’s own price freeze, it leaves very little room for attack from the left. During today’s debate, Sir Keir came close to misleading the House. His argument, that corporations should pay for the energy bailout, heavily implies to voters that the only way we get money out of energy firms’ profits is via a windfall tax. This is obviously untrue. Energy firms already pay 65% tax on profits, and any rise in profits leads to increased tax receipts…

Labour frontbenchers have been claiming this week that a windfall tax should pay for the energy price freeze, though Labour’s own sums accept the current windfall tax funds just £8 billion of their £29 billion spending proposals. Asked by Tory MP Jacob Young precisely what tax level on energy giants’ profits should be set at, Sir Keir totally dodged the question. Asked again by Mark Harper how high he wants a windfall tax to go, he once again ignored the question. Almost implying this is ill-thought out politicking…

Mark Harper also raised another key point. During his statement Starmer referred to £170 billion of unexpected excess profits by energy giants – a figure being repeated by Ed Miliband and Angela Rayner among others. This £170 billion, Labour implies, is completely up for grabs if only the billionaire-boot licking Tories would take the opportunity to tax it. Unfortunately for Labour this is also wrong. The £170 billion figure is global profits, only a fraction of which are registered in the UK and therefore taxable. As Joe Armitage points out, the figure for the UK, projected in 2022, is around £40 billion. Which is already, as stated, taxed at 65%.

GB News’ Tom Harwood explained this point well:

In total, extra profits of oil and gas giants this year amount to just £14 billion.” Even if all of that were taxed, it wouldn’t be a drop in the ocean of the government’s £100 billion-plus spend, and would certainly damage investment in energy extraction if taken off them. The commentariat loves to imply that Sir Keir’s some sort of details-obsessed political centrist. By the looks of it he’s got Diane Abbott doing his sums…

mdi-timer 8 September 2022 @ 14:58 8 Sep 2022 @ 14:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MPs Pledge Not to Take Pay Rise In Public Sector Freeze Solidarity

Mansfield’s Ben Bradley is the first* MP to publicly pledge that “if the rumours on a public sector pay freeze are true (and I don’t know whether they are) then needless to say that should include MPs too.”

Jacob Young, the MP for Redcar & Cleveland, says that if the Chancellor “says public sector workers are getting a pay freeze – then I want to be clear, that must include MPs.”

Guido will be contacting MPs to see if who will pledge to freeze their pay in solidarity with the public sector. Ideally the government should find time to simply amend the legislation so that IPSA’s pay rise recommendations can in future be rejected by a straightforward vote on the floor of the Commons. MPs can stop this faux wringing of hands as their pockets are filled with inflation busting pay rises…

In the long term Britain should move to a Singaporean style model for MPs pay – salaries are performance-linked, to ensure that political leaders are accountable for their roles and responsibilities. Pay is benchmarked against high calibre earners’ incomes, then discounted 40% for public service. MPs are paid performance related bonuses on top, with the salaries linked to the socio-economic outcomes of Singaporeans. British MPs’ pay could do with linking to the general prosperity of their voters, the people whose interests they are supposed to represent. If the people prosper, MPs’ pay will rise.

Guido is compiling a tally of MPs who are refusing a pay rise. Are you an MP without their snout in the trough? Email Guido from an @parliament.uk account or with a link to a public statement to join the list of non-wronguns…

*UPDATE: John Redwood also tweeted this on Friday.
mdi-timer 23 November 2020 @ 13:34 23 Nov 2020 @ 13:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
The Tories’ PPE Divide

Delivering his maiden speech, the new Tory MP for Redcar, Jacob Young, joked

Most people down here think PPE is a degree course, but where I come from it’s what you wear to work. Indeed Mr Speaker, to the envy of George Osborne, I believe I am the first MP to be wearing his hard hat on his parliamentary pass.”

mdi-timer 10 March 2020 @ 09:18 10 Mar 2020 @ 09:18 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
SpAd and Wonk Watch January Update

Before Boris gets underway with his much-anticipated reshuffle, there have been one or two pre-shuffling updates to Guido’s list; with the Sun and Buzzfeed revealing Rob Oxley is moving from No. 10 press to join Dominic Raab as a SpAd at the FCO, and is being replaced by the Mail’s Jack Doyle. It’s a Mail-dominated government…

Guido understands that former Scottish Tory MP Luke Graham is in talks to join Downing Street as an advisor on the Union. Long live the revolving door…

In wonk world, Guido can reveal Annabel Denham is leaving The Entrepreneurs Network to replace Kate Andrews as the IEA’s new Director of Comms. Last year Guido revealed Kate was off to become economics correspondent at the Spectator. Elsewhere, the ASI’s Head of Government Affairs, Charlotte Kude, has been taken on by new red wall Tory MP Jacob Young. As ever, get in touch with any further updates…

mdi-timer 28 January 2020 @ 09:54 28 Jan 2020 @ 09:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments