Shadow chancellor says he cannot pre-empt Labour manifesto but signals opposition to rises and says party should rule out mansion tax.
John McDonnell has signalled that Labour’s manifesto will pledge no VAT or national insurance rise, and has said he will argue the party should rule out reviving Ed Miliband’s mansion tax policy.
Speaking to the Guardian, the shadow chancellor said he could not pre-empt the party’s manifesto, which is agreed through its national executive committee and policy forum, but suggested he would make the case to rule out national insurance rises and any hike to VAT.
McDonnell said he had hinted at his preference in the last Treasury questions session of parliament, where he called on chancellor Philip Hammond to “rule out raising VAT and rule out raising income tax”. He said: “If the Tories can’t be straight with the British people, Labour will be.”
The shadow chancellor said the manifesto’s day-to-day spending commitments would be fully balanced, which economists have said is an indicator of potential tax rises.
However, McDonnell hinted that Labour could rule out some areas of revenue. “To give an indication, I called on the chancellor at the last Treasury questions to commit himself to no VAT increase and no increase on national insurance contributions in the way he tried to do it at the budget, and also commit to the triple-lock [on pensions],” he said. “He refused to say that, so that might give you some indication of where I’m going.”