The BBC Question Time audience member was applauded for saying he would like to “call out Labour as liars”, lashing out at the party’s plan to tax the top five percent. The Labour manifesto, published yesterday, said the party would increase taxes for those earning more than £80,000 a year. The audience member said the income tax plans would affect him personally as he earns over £80,000 but claimed he is “nowhere near the top five percent”. Labour MP Richard Burgon contended the man was “mistaken”, saying Labour will not raise income tax for anybody except the top five percent.
The BBC Question Time audience applauded as the man raged: “I’d like to call out Labour as liars, I am one of those people that he will tax more and I am nowhere near in the top five percent.
“So I am calling you a liar right now, that 5 percent is a lie, I am nowhere near that, and you are going to income tax me as an employee.
“You’re not going after the billionaires, you’re going after the employees because it’s easy money. I have no choice.”
Mr Burgon replied: “I’m afraid on that you’re mistaken, we’re not going to raise income tax for anybody apart from the top five percent of earners.”General Election: the audience member lashed out at Labour MP Richard Burgon (Image: BBC Question Time)General Election: the audience member said he was "calling out Labour as liars" (Image: BBC Question Time)
The man said he is not in the top five percent, to which the Labour MP replied: “So we’re not going to increase your income tax.”
The man disagreed: “But you are. Because I’ve read your policy, it’s above £80,000 and I am nowhere near in the top five percent let me tell you, I’m not even in the top 50 percent.”
Mr Burgon said Labour will not increase his income tax if he is not in the top five percent. However on page 29 of the Labour Party’s manifesto, it says: “We’ll ask those who earn more than £80,000 a year to pay a little more income tax, while freezing National Insurance and income tax rates for everyone else.”
BBC host Fiona Bruce said: “So let’s just be clear.
“So you’re suggesting you would raise income tax on those earning over £80,000. You’re saying that will affect you because you earn over that sum.”General Election: Richard Burgon said the man was "mistaken" (Image: BBC Question Time)
The audience member responded: “Yes, and I’m not in the top five percent. I’m not. I’m not. Every doctor in this country earns more than that. Every accountant, every solicitor, earns more than that. That’s not five percent.”
The debate follows Labour launching its general election manifesto on Thursday, in which Jeremy Corbyn launched an attack on the “billionaires, the super-rich and the tax dodgers”.
Speaking in Birmingham, the Labour leader said: “Labour is on your side. And there could scarcely be a clearer demonstration of that than the furious reaction of the rich and powerful.
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“If the bankers, billionaires and the establishment thought we represented politics as usual, that we could be bought off, that nothing was really going to change - they wouldn’t attack us so ferociously. Why bother? But they know we mean what we say. They know we will deliver our plans, which is why they want to stop us being elected.
“They know we will go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters so that everybody in our country gets a fair chance in life. That’s why they throw everything they’ve got at us. Because they’re scared of real change. Because they aren’t on your side. A third of Britain’s billionaires have donated to the Conservative Party.
“The billionaires and the super-rich, the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters - they own the Conservative Party. But they don’t own us. They don’t own the Labour Party. The people own the Labour Party. That’s why the billionaires attack us. That’s why the billionaire-owned media makes things up about us.”
In an attack on the Prime Minister, he added: “Boris Johnson is trying to hijack Brexit to sell out our NHS and sell out working people.
“The Conservatives want to use Brexit to unleash Thatcherism on steroids, to inflict more pain on the very communities so viciously attacked by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s, to benefit the billionaires and the vested interests they represent.
“That’s why Johnson is preparing to sell out our NHS for a US trade deal that will drive up the cost of medicines and lead to the runaway privatisation of our health service. £500 million a week of NHS money - enough for 20,000 new nurses - could be handed to big drugs companies as part of a deal now being plotted in secret.”