Labour attacks 'obscene' wealth of billionaires funding the Conservatives

Tom BelgerFinance and policy reporter
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Photo: PA
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Photo: PA

Labour has launched an all-out attack on the “obscene” wealth of UK billionaires and their ties to the Conservatives, claiming one in three has funded the governing party.

A report released by Labour on Tuesday claims large companies and the super-rich will have benefited from almost £100bn of tax cuts by 2024 since the Conservative came to power in 2010.

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But the Conservatives hit back, accusing Labour of planning a tax raid on “hard-pressed families” and curbing voters’ ability to pass on their homes to their children.

Analysis by the opposition suggests the Conservatives have received donations of at least £50m from 48 of the 151 billionaires included in the most recent Sunday Times Rich List since 2005.

The analysis claims successive Conservative administrations will have saved firms £86bn in corporation tax cuts, though it was written just before prime minister Boris Johnson announced further planned cuts would be delayed on Monday.

READ MORE: UK business leaders dismayed by choice between Corbyn and Johnson

Conservative policies will also save the well-off £5.5bn in cuts to capital gains tax, £5.6bn in inheritance tax cuts and £1.2bn in cuts to higher rates of income tax, according to Labour.

The report comes ahead of a speech by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who will vow to “rewrite the rules of our economy.”

McDonnell said in a pre-released version of the speech: "Someone on the national minimum wage would have to work 69,000 years to get paid £1bn and a newly qualified nurse would have to wait 50,000 years.

"No one needs or deserves to have that much money, it is obscene. It is also obscene that these billionaires are buying access and tax breaks to Boris Johnson’s Conservative party.”

READ MORE: Corbyn denies Labour would ‘crack the foundations of the economy’

He also defended Labour’s plans to nationalise several industries and force large firms to give workers shares and greater representation, adding: “Labour’s reforms to how our large businesses and public utilities are governed and owned and how both workers and consumers are represented will genuinely enable them to take back control.”

But Treasury minister Simon Clarke said: “Corbyn’s Labour have revealed their true colours. They want to stop people from passing on their family homes to their children after they die.

“Rather than helping people to succeed, they want to take away your family home in higher taxes. Their plans would not hit billionaires – they would overwhelmingly hurt hard-pressed families.”

“The top 1% are actually paying a greater share of taxes under the Conservatives than at any time under the last Labour government. Tax receipts from businesses are also at an all-time high – meaning more money for public services.”

READ MORE: Johnson unveils £6bn U-turn on corporation tax cuts

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