Britain’s opposition Labour Party have “obscene” billionaires in their sights, vowing to oversee a radical redistribution of wealth to cut the power of the super rich who it says are funding Prime Minister Boris Johnson in return for tax breaks.
The two main political parties are showcasing starkly different visions for the world’s fifth largest economy ahead of the December 12 election.
The Conservatives are promising to deliver Brexit while Labour says it wants to be the most radical socialist government in British history.
Labour said almost a third of Britain’s 151 billionaires have donated more than £50 million ($A95 million) to the Conservatives since 2005 in return for tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations worth £100 billion.
John McDonnell, the party’s finance minister-in-waiting, will say in a speech he wants to “rewrite the rules of our economy”, casting the election as a chance to overthrow a system where billionaires can buy access to power.
“No one needs or deserves to have that much money, it is obscene,” Mr McDonnell will say, according to excepts of his speech. “It is also obscene that these billionaires are buying access and tax breaks to Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.”
Labour’s core message – a pledge to redistribute wealth to the many and not the few – was a theme it used in the 2017 election, when the party confounded the polls to deprive then Prime Minister Theresa May of her parliamentary majority.
When companies like Google paid just £28 million in tax – despite making £1.6 billion in UK sales – that suggests they can afford to contribute a bit more.
That’s how we’ll fund the operating costs of fast and free broadband for everyone across the UK.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 16, 2019
Labour hopes the message will propel them to power as they trail Mr Johnson’s party in the opinion polls.
The party’s economic policies, which would represent one of the most radical assaults on capitalism seen in a major western economy, include nationalising the rail, utility and water companies, confiscating 10 per cent of big companies’ shares, a move to a four-day week and higher taxes on the wealthy.
Last month, Labour named prominent billionaires such as landowner Hugh Grosvenor, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, Ineos CEO Jim Ratcliffe, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey and US media tycoon Rupert Murdoch as representatives of Britain’s “rigged system”.
“This sums up the broken and rigged system under the Tories. Our #NHS should not be being sold off to private companies who then sue it, lining the pockets of bosses and shareholders at the expense of the public.” – @jeremycorbynhttps://t.co/Kbra18HZYe
— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) November 15, 2019
Mr McDonnell said the slogan “taking back control” used by supporters of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum was mobilised to great effect because many people rightly felt that they have little control over their lives.
“Decisions are made about the companies or services they work in over which they have no say and no influence,” McDonnell will say. “Labour will rewrite the rules of our economy. It’s all about treating people fairly and with the respect they deserve”
The Conservatives said Labour’s tax plans will not hit billionaires and will instead overwhelmingly hurt hard pressed families by ramping up spending and adding extra taxes.