Damning letter rubbishes Rishi Sunak’s £2000 Labour tax attack

Tories slammed over 'desperate lie’ around £2000 Labour tax claim

rishi sunak interview

A letter from a chief Treasury civil servant has thrown cold water on Rishi Sunak’s key attack line during the leaders debate.

During the first leaders debate on Tuesday evening, Rishi Sunak repeatedly made the claim that Labour would put up household taxes by £2000, which Keir Starmer strongly rebuked. Sunak said the figure was costed by “independent Treasury officials”, which was reiterated by Claire Coutinho the Energy Secretary. 

However the figure has been blasted as a “desperate lie” by Labour, while a letter from James Bowler, the Treasury Permanent Secretary, has further undermining the Prime Minister’s claim that the figure was based on an independent analysis by civil servants, when in fact the analysis was made by Tory special advisors.

Writing to shadow Treasury chief secretary Darren Jones, the letter said that civil servants were not involved in calculating the total figure of the Tories’ assessment of Labour’s tax plans.

Bowler wrote: “As you will expect, civil servants were not involved in the production or presentation of the Conservative Party’s document ‘Labour’s Tax Rises’ or in the calculation of the total figure used … the £38bn figure used in the Conservative Party’s publication includes costs beyond those provided by the Civil Service”.

“I agree that any costings derived from other sources or produced by other organisations should not be presented as having been produced by the Civil Service.”

Labour accused the Tories of peddling “a desperate lie”, after shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth told Kay Burley this morning that what Rishi Sunak said about Labour’s tax plan “is categorically untrue”.

Ashworth said: “Labour will not put up income tax, not put up National Insurance will not put up VAT.

“And I think what we showed last night with Rishi Sunak… was how desperate he becomes – what desperate people do is they lie.”

The claim was also blasted as “unacceptable” by the head of the UK’s leading fact checkers.  

Chris Morris, Chief Executive of Full Fact told the Mirror: “It’s clearly unacceptable to present your own analysis as the conclusions of independent civil servants when it’s not.

“Public trust in politics is hanging by a thread and a high-profile falsehood will turn even more people away from the democratic process. We want to see this corrected as soon as possible.”

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

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