Michael Gove today claimed Labour’s spending plans would leave Britain facing an ‘economic Stalingrad’ as Angela Rayner was accused of ‘not being honest’ with voters about her party’s proposed tax hikes.
Mr Gove, the minister for the Cabinet Office, said Labour’s manifesto represented a ‘take-no-prisoners assault on growth and prosperity’ as he urged voters to back Boris Johnson at the ballot box.
The Tories have heavily criticised Labour’s fiscal blueprint and have argued that Jeremy Corbyn’s vision would bankrupt Britain.
Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, warned this morning there would be a ‘crisis by Christmas’ if Mr Corbyn forms the next government.
Labour has insisted that only the top five per cent of earners would be worse off under its plans.
But Ms Rayner came under fire because of the party’s pledge to scrap the marriage tax allowance which currently benefits middle and lower income households.
Meanwhile, scrutiny of Labour’s spending plans further intensified after John McDonnell announced a fresh cash giveaway.
Labour said overnight it would pay compensation to an estimated 3.7 million women who believed they lost out financially due to changes in the state pension.
The shadow chancellor said the payments were to settle a ‘historical debt of honour’ to the women born in the 1950s and that the handouts, paid for through borrowing, could cost as much as £58 billion over five years.
The policy was not included in the party’s manifesto which was only published on Thursday, prompting one Tory cabinet minister to claim Mr Corbyn was now in ‘panic mode’.
Michael Gove said Labour’s spending plans would leave the UK facing ‘economic Stalingrad’
Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, was today forced to defend Labour’s tax plans
Mr Gove channeled Winston Churchill as he savaged Labour’s spending plans in an op-ed written for the Sunday Times.
He wrote: ‘Never in the field of economics has so much damage been directed at so many by so few.
He added: ‘It is an access-all-areas, full-spectrum, take-no-prisoners, will-the-last-person-leaving-please-switch-off-the-lights assault on growth and prosperity which seems designed to demonstrate just how quickly you can take down an economy in five easy pieces.’
Mr Gove said that it is only under Mr Johnson that ‘we can escape from the deadlock of the past and the devastation planned by Labour’.
‘It’s instructive that the Corbynite economic guru Paul Mason has said the country would face an economic “Stalingrad”: a devastating assault on our security and prosperity,’ the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said.
Labour has insisted that its proposed £83 billion increase in day-to-day spending on public services can be funded through tax hikes on the top five per cent of earners and big business.
But the Tories have claimed that Labour’s plans would inevitably hurt middle and even lower earners.
Mr Corbyn has been under fire for pledging to scrap the marriage tax allowance – a Tory-introduced policy which allows non-earners to hand £1,250 of their tax-free allowance to their spouse and which can only be claimed by basic rate taxpayers.
Ms Rayner was grilled on the policy this morning during an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Referring to the marriage tax allowance, Mr Marr asked Ms Rayner: ‘Are those people in the top 5 per cent?’
Ms Rayner said Labour had been ‘incredibly honest with the public’ that in order to improve the country the wealthiest would have to pay more tax.
But Mr Marr insisted: ‘I’m really sorry Angela Rayner but you are not being honest with the public when you say that only the top five per cent are going to have to pay.
‘Everybody taking marriage tax allowance are going to lose that under Labour. They are not in the top 5 per cent.
‘They are relatively low and medium tax payers and you are taking £250 away from them.’
Mr McDonnell’s pensions pledge would see millions of women receive payments worth an average of £15,380 while some people could get as much as £31,300.
John McDonnell has announced plans to hand over £58bn in compensation to women born in the 1950s who believe they were unfairly treated by changes to the state pension
It follows a lengthy campaign by the so-called ‘Waspi women’ who said they were given insufficient time to prepare for changes to the state pension brought in by the former coalition government.
Mr Johnson was challenged on the pension issue during last week’s BBC Question Time election special.
The Prime Minister said that while he sympathised deeply with those affected, he could not promise to ‘magic up that money’ for them.
Mr McDonnell said: ‘We’ve prepared a scheme to compensate these women for a historical wrong.
‘It’s one that they were not been able to prepare for and for which they’ve had to suffer serious financial consequences for as a result.
‘Some of them have been hit by a combination of poverty and stress, having lost out on what they had contributed towards.
‘These changes were imposed upon them by a Tory-led government. So we have a historical debt of honour to them and when we go into government we are going to fulfil that debt.’