Jeremy Corbyn is finally forced to admit he would pile BILLIONS on to Britain’s debt mountain with his £58bn Waspi pensions giveaway
- Labour leader refused 15 times to say how he would pay for compensation promises made to the so-called Waspi women
- During BBC interview Jeremy Corbyn eventually accepted he would have to rack up debt after admitting there was not enough money in Government reserves
- When quizzed by Andrew Neil, Mr Corbyn admired the £58billion pledge did not appear in party manifesto and the cost was not accounted for in spending plans
Jeremy Corbyn was finally forced to admit last night that he would have to pile tens of billions of pounds on to Britain’s debt mountain to pay for his £58billion Waspi women pensions giveaway.
In his BBC interview with Andrew Neil, the Labour leader refused 15 times to say how he would pay for compensation promises made to the so-called Waspis – Women Against State Pension Inequality.
Eventually Mr Corbyn accepted he would have to rack up even more debt after admitting there was not nearly enough money in Government reserves.
The admission dealt another devastating blow to Labour’s already battered reputation on the economy.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC political programme The Andrew Neil Show on Tuesday night, where refused 15 times to say how he would pay for compensation promised to the so-called Waspis women
Labour has promised to help 3.7million women born between 1950 and 1960 who thought they would be able to retire at 60 but saw the state pension age rise more quickly than expected.
Under the party’s plans, some will receive more than £31,000 and the average will be about £15,000.
Yesterday it emerged former prime minister Theresa May would receive almost £22,000 and members of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet would be handed a total of £130,000.
Quizzed on the promise by Mr Neil, the Labour leader was forced to admit the £58billion pledge did not appear in the party’s manifesto and the cost was not accounted for in Labour’s spending plans.
In tetchy exchanges, Mr Neil pointed out that the Waspi pledge is not in the grey ‘costings’ book.
He said: ‘I’ve got the grey book here – the costings for it. I don’t see any sign of how you’re going to pay for it.’ But Mr Corbyn kept trying to dodge the question, insisting he wanted to explain why it was a ‘moral issue’.
An exasperated Mr Neil pressed him again and again, saying ‘Where do you pay for it?’ and ‘Let’s assume it’s a great issue, how do you pay for it?’
He added: ‘It costs £60billion – how do you pay for it?’
Mr Corbyn finally said it would be paid for from ‘Government reserves’ and ‘if necessary…we will have to borrow in the long term’.
Mr Neil hit back: ‘You haven’t got £60billion from reserves.’
Asked where the Government had ‘£60billion in reserves’, Mr Corbyn admitted the amount was ‘nowhere near that figure of course’.
The party’s frontbenchers have claimed Government reserves could be used to fund the vast new commitment.
But current reserves stand at under £10billion and have to be repaid every year to cover contingencies such as a lost court case.
Labour has claimed it will only borrow to fund ‘capital’ spending.
But Mr Corbyn’s comments will fuel criticism that the pledge drove a ‘coach and horses’ through the party’s fiscal rules.
Confronted on his borrowing plans, Mr Corbyn also appeared to claim that he would not need to expand Government debt to fund his nationalisation programme, before admitting he would.
Mr Neil said: ‘You intend to borrow hundreds of billions for investment. You’re going to borrow a couple of hundred more for nationalisation.
‘You’re going to borrow billions for the green deal.
Labour has promised to help 3.7million women born between 1950 and 1960 who thought they would be able to retire at 60 but saw the state pension age rise more quickly than expected
‘Is there no limit to what can go on the Corbyn credit card?’ Mr Corbyn claimed his nationalisation programme would not involve more borrowing.
He stressed: ‘For nationalisation, you don’t borrow. What you do is change share ownership for Government bonds and it becomes an investment.’
But, pressed by Mr Neil, he accepted he would be issuing bonds to compensate shareholders, which are a form of Government debt. He was finally reduced to saying Labour would not borrow ‘willy-nilly’.
Shadow ministers Valerie Vaz, Diane Abbott and Christina Rees are among eight Labour frontbenchers who will receive up to £31,000 in the compensation programme.
Celebrities including actress Emma Thompson, Prince Andrew’s former wife Sarah Ferguson, singer Kate Bush and comedienne Dawn French would also be winners, according to Labour’s own calculations.