Gary Neville has blasted Liz Truss’ latest tax cuts as “immoral” and “madness” after it emerged they would primarily benefit the richest in society. The former England international accused the PM of “taking the absolute Mickey out of us”, by helping workers at the top end of the tax bracket while offering significantly less to the poorest households, as he prepares to attend the Labour Party conference today following their polling boost.
A new poll placed Labour at a 12 point lead over the Conservatives, suggesting a substantial majority in a general election following last week’s mini-Budget. Voting intention shows Labour in the lead with 45 percent, the Conservatives at 33 percent, the Lib Dems at 10 percent, the Greens at 4 percent and Reform at 3 percent, according to the findings by Savanta ComRes for LabourList.
This would provide Labour with a 56-seat majority at the next election.
In last Friday’s mini-Budget chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced plans to cut the 45p top rate of income tax. The move will see earners making more than £150,000 receive an extra £10,000 a year, and comes alongside a scheme to scrap the cap on bankers’ bonuses.
Mr Neville told the Mirror that Keir Starmer as PM is a “change that cannot come quick enough”.
The Manchester United legend accused Ms Truss of “taking the absolute Mickey out of us” by implementing policies that primarily help the well-off, all while poor households live in fear of how they will pay their bills this winter.
Additionally, households in London and south-east England will gain three times as much as those in the north from tax cuts next year, according to a Resolution Foundation analysis.
Mr Neville added: “People are struggling to pay their energy bills. I don’t know any person on more than £150,000 a year that will think it’s the right thing to do to basically give us more money.
“They want better public services, better health, education, doctor waiting times to come down.”
Mr Neville will be appearing alongside Mr Starmer and Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell at the Labour party conference this afternoon. During the event, he is set to tell party members: “This is the time now to get behind Keir 100 percent”.
Of the 357 parliamentary constituencies the Tories currently hold, voters in 279 of them said they trusted Labour more to manage policies related to the rising cost of living crisis than the Conservatives.
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Within these however, 132 constituencies would still vote for the Tories at the next election.
While Mr Neville joined the Labour Party as a member earlier this year, he said he is “not interested in a career in politics”. He added he would rather be a “loose cannon on the outside” than in the thick of it at Westminster.
However, the pundit said he is looking to use his high profile to speak out against the Conservative government.
He said: “It’s immoral to think at this moment in time, tax cuts should be given to the wealthy when people are so nervous and desperate. the reason I’m there is to highlight with my voice that it’s just wrong.
“The problem we have is that the Conservative Party is very good at telling you that green is red and blue is green. We’ve got to the point whereby they make you feel like waiting two weeks to see your doctor is a good result.
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“They have depressed our ambitions to such a low. I think we will wake up and look back in years to come at this era [of Tory government] and think what the hell were we doing sitting back and not speaking up. And that’s why I’m speaking up at this moment.”
He accused Mr Kwarteng of “laughing at the whole country” as he removed the cap on bankers’ bonuses. Announcing the changes, the chancellor said the government “won’t apologise” for focusing on economic growth.
He added: “For too long in this country, we have indulged in a fight over redistribution. Now, we need to focus on growth, not just how we tax and spend.”
Mr Kwarteng said he will turn a “vicious cycle of stagnation into a virtuous circle of growth”, although cautioned that “none of this is going to happen overnight”. The Treasury boss claimed that cancelling a rise in corporation tax from 19 to 25 percent will enable companies to “reinvest, create jobs, raise wages, or pay dividends which support our pensions”.