Rachel Reeves: Labour’s spending plans will make ‘massive difference’ to people’s lives – UK politics live

Estimated read time 8 min read

Filters BETA

here. I will be following along and will bring you any key lines that emerge. It is Alan Bates giving testimony and so we are expecting to hear about his experience as a victm and then a campaigner.

He has already arrived at the inquiry.

First Edition newsletter today featured Rupert Neate talking to our colleague Jane Croft, who has been covering the story since 2018, about it. Here is a snippet:

“The impact this scandal has had on thousands of people’s lives has been truly devastating,” Jane says. “These are ordinary people, without money and connections that have been caught up in this real David and Goliath battle.”

In personal impact statements to the inquiry, the victims have spoken about losing everything. “It’s not just their money,” Jane says. “It’s their liberty, their partners, their families, their homes. Some spoke about their children being bullied at school, being shunned by their local community, and being referred to as ‘the postmaster who stole old people’s pensions’.”

“They want justice and for the truth to come out,” Jane says. “It feels like the Post Office knew the Horizon IT system wasn’t working properly, but they continued to prosecute these innocent people anyway.”

In 2015 the Post Office told a House of Commons inquiry: “There is no functionality in Horizon for either a branch, Post Office or Fujitsu to edit, manipulate or remove transaction data once it has been recorded in a branch’s accounts.” This was untrue, a high court judge ruled in a landmark court case four years later.

A recording from 2013, unearthed by Channel 4 News, shows Susan Crichton, the Post Office’s head lawyer, confirm that former chief executive Paula Vennells had been briefed about a “covert operations team” that could remotely access the Horizon system and adjust branches’ accounts. In 2015 Vennells told the Commons business select committee that “we have no evidence” of miscarriages of justice.

Vennells, who has handed back a CBE awarded to her for “services to the Post Office and to charity”, will give evidence, live-streamed here, for three days from Wednesday 22 May.

Nadhim Zahawi, the former chancellor who was one of the MPs questioning Vennells in 2015, has called for a “thorough police investigation”.

“I don’t think it’s good enough that we keep falling back on ‘let the inquiry do its work’ – this is much more serious,” he said. “There needs to be an investigation into corporate manslaughter and individuals at the Post Office.”

Read more here: Tuesday briefing: What to expect from the next phase of the Post Office inquiry

it would be an “abject humiliation” for the Tories if they implemented Labour’s policy.

Non-dom status allows foreign nationals who live in the UK, but are officially domiciled overseas, to avoid paying UK tax on their overseas income or capital gains. Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, has previously enjoyed non-domiciled status. In April 2022 she agreed to pay UK tax, saying her arrangements were not “compatible with my husband’s job as chancellor”.

Labour government would do a better job of bringing in tax revenue than under the current administration. Labour has said it will invest up to £555m a year in boosting the number of compliance officers.

She told viewers of BBC Breakfast:

You can ramp it up pretty quickly. At the start you might need to bring in extra resource but then you need to train people up within the government to do this work.

This isn’t rocket science, previous governments have managed to close that tax gap, as it’s called.

Labour’s shadow financial secretary to the Treasury James Murray also touched on the topic when he was on Sky News this morning. He said:

We’ve got to invest in and improve the customer service at HMRC because, you know, we had this urgent question in parliament just before the recess, which was about HMRC closing its phone line for six months a year. Because the service was so bad, they just decided to close the phone line. And we say, look, you have to invest in digital solutions and modernise HMRC.

Conservatives are heading for a certain defeat in the next election, but appeared to rule out standing against Rishi Sunak in a leadership contest in the short-term.

Speaking on LBC, PA Media reports Braverman said:

I’m very concerned, I’m very concerned about what poll after poll demonstrates, and it’s my job – and I sought to do this as home secretary – to speak honestly, to speak the truth, even if it may be uncomfortable.

I owe that to the people who have sent me to parliament, and I owe that to you, and so the honest truth is that we are heading for a defeat, to put it mildly, at the general election.

I very much hope that we change course and that we improve the offer to the British people. Ultimately, measures on tax cuts, measures on migration, measures on national security and social cohesion are insufficient by this government.

We need to go further, we need to demonstrate to the British people that we’re on their side, that we’re serious about stopping the boats, that we’re actually serious about curbing unprecedented levels of illegal migration, and unfortunately we haven’t managed to do that.

She added “I’m not thinking about any kind of leadership campaign. Rishi Sunak is our prime minister, I fully expect him to lead us into the next general election.”

Braverman departed as home secretary during Liz Truss’s short term as prime minister for causing a security breach by sending official documents from a personal email account. Rapidly reinstated into the same job by Rishi Sunak when he formed his first cabinet, she was sacked by him in November for writing an article criticising London’s police which had not been agreed in advance by No 10.

Liz Truss says in book Queen told her to ‘pace yourself’, admits she didn’t listen

Labour party on his last visit to the UK.

Cameron will head on to Washington where he is expected to hold talks with Blinken, the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell. He is also hoping to meet the House speaker, Mike Johnson. We are expecting at least some public words from Cameron during the day.

Labour government would launch a £5bn crackdown on tax avoiders to close a gap in its spending plans exposed by Jeremy Hunt scrapping the non-dom regime to finance tax cuts.

Warning households and businesses that Labour was prepared to adopt tough measures to tackle tax fraud and non-compliance, Reeves said the funding would be used to pay for free school breakfast clubs and additional NHS appointments.

Labour’s plan will reduce “the tax gap” – the difference between the amount of money HMRC is owed and the amount it actually receives – to previous levels after it increased by more than £5bn over the past year.

Reeves will also raise £2.6bn over the next parliament by closing what she described as loopholes in the government’s plans to abolish exemptions for non-doms – people who are not “domiciled” in the UK for tax purposes.

The government reforms will allow non-doms to use family trusts to avoid inheritance tax and to have a 50% discount in the first year of when new rules apply. Reeves said she would ban the use of trusts to avoid the tax and scrap the 50% discount.

It comes a month after Labour’s spending plans were thrown into question by Hunt adopting two of the party’s top revenue-raising policies at the budget to fund a cut in national insurance.

Read more of Phillip Inman’s report here: Labour plans £5bn crackdown on tax avoiders to close non-dom spending gap

Labour has been setting out plans to try to recoup more money from tax avoidance in an attempt to show that it has the money on hand to fund its pledges without breakign the fiscal rules it has set for itself. Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has been doing the media round today, more on that in a moment. Here are your headlines today …

Westminster, the Scottish parliament and the Senedd are in recess, but there is some business scheduled at Stormont.

The main event today though will be when the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry resumes in London. Alan Bates, former subpostmaster and founder of the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance appears. The inquiry, chaired by the retired judge Sir Wyn Williams, began in 2022.

It is Martin Belam here with you again today. I do try to read all your comments, and dip into them where I think I can be helpful, but if you want to get my attention the best way is to email me – [email protected] – especially if you have spotted my inevitable errors and typos, or you think I’ve missed something important.

Source: theguardian.com

You May Also Like

More From Author