Starmer vows to defend working people as Kwarteng insists tax cuts benefit all


eir Starmer has vowed to defend workers as Kwasi Kwarteng defended his tax cut plan which he said would benefit everyone across the UK.

As the Labour Party begins its conference in Liverpool, Sir Keir said there was now a “big political divide” across the country after 12 years of Conservative leadership.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, the Labour leader attacked the Tories for “offering nothing meaningful to working people”.

He said: “You have got the Conservative Party now saying the future of this country is one where the rich get richer and we offer nothing meaningful to working people.

“You have got the Labour Party saying we do need to grow our economy – that’s been the single biggest failure of the last 12 years of this Tory Government – but we need to recognise who grows this economy.”

Sir Keir added that Labour would “grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out” rather than “this theory that it’s only those at the very top, the very wealthy, that create and drive our economy”.

In contrast, Mr Kwarteng remained steadfast in his belief that the tax cuts announced on Thursday will help stimulate growth across the UK.

Despite the pound slumping against the dollar as he unveiled his so-called mini budget, the Chancellor said: “We’ve got to have a much more front-footed approach to growth and that’s what my Friday statement was all about.

“I think that if we can get some of the reforms, if we get business back on its feet, we can get this country moving and we can grow our economy, and that’s what my focus is 100 per cent about.”

Quizzed on the cut to the 45p top rate of tax, the removal of the cap on banker bonuses and decision to stop the rise in corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25, the Chancellor claimed his plan benefits people “across the income scale”.

Asked on the tax changes, the Labour leader said he would reinstate the 45p tax rate but would back the Government’s cut to the 19p band.

“I do not think that the choice to have tax cuts for those that are earning hundreds of thousands of pounds is the right choice when our economy is struggling the way it is, working people are struggling in the way they are… that is the wrong choice,” he said.

“I would reverse the decision that they made on Friday.”

While Mr Kwarteng was grilled on the drop in the pound and fears of a recession in the UK, he concluded that the plan will “protect everybody” in the country and that growth is essential in doing so.

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