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Starmer accuses Sunak of ‘hammering’ working people while protecting non-doms

Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)
Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

The Prime Minister has been accused protecting wealthy non-doms while hammering working people as he faced questions in the Commons.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Rishi Sunak to scrap the non-dom tax status for wealthy internationals, as he accused the Government of “clobbering” working people.

The attack on non-dom status hits at Mr Sunak personally, as his wife Akshata Murthy reportedly benefits from the special tax status.

The Labour leader told the Commons: “The failure of the last 12 years and the chaos of the last 12 weeks are compounded by the decisions he is taking now. He won’t follow Labour’s plan to scrap non-dom status. Instead we have got an NHS staffing crisis.

“He won’t follow Labour’s plans to make oil and gas giants pay their fair share, instead he hammers working people.”

Sir Keir added: “Too weak to take on his party, too weak to take on vested interests, 12 long years of Tory Government, five prime ministers, seven chancellors. Why do they always clobber working people?”

Mr Sunak replied: “He talks about leadership, this summer I stood on my principles and told the country what they needed to hear even though it was difficult. When he ran for leader, he told his party what they wanted to hear.

“Even now, he says one thing and he does the other. He says he cares for working people, but he won’t stand up to the unions. He said he’d honour Brexit but he tried to have a second referendum, and now he tries to talk tough about immigration but he promised to defend free movement.”

The Labour leader had earlier questioned Mr Sunak on why the UK “is set to be first into a recession and the last out” and why the UK was “bottom of the 38 OECD countries”.

He added: “Because of changes he’s made a typical household will end up with tax increases of £1,400 … contrast that to a super wealthy non-dom living here, but holding their income overseas. How much more has he asked them to pay?”

Mr Sunak replied: “Labour had 13 years to address this issue and did nothing. It was the Conservative government that took action and tightened the rules, but the problem with his idea is that it would end up costing Britain money, not my words, the words of the former Labour shadow chancellor.

“Rather than peddling fairy tales and gesture politics, let’s actually tell him what we’re doing to deliver for this country. A record increase in the national living wage, protecting millions from energy bills, protecting the pensioners’ triple lock, that’s what we’re doing for this country.”

Sir Keir also claimed some oil and gas firms “haven’t paid a penny in windfall tax” due to loopholes in the levy introduced by Mr Sunak as chancellor.

Referencing a stunt by comedian Joe Lycett, Sir Keir added: “You may have seen this week that somebody shredded £10,000 in protest at those propping up an oil and gas giant. But he shreds £10,000 every other minute propping them up. Which does he think is the more absurd?”

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during Prime Minister’s Questions (House of Commons/PA)

The Prime Minister replied: “This is the Government that has actually put in place an economic plan that will deliver confidence and stability to our economy.

“All I have heard from him today, there is no answers, there is no substance, because there is no plan.

“He talks about the NHS, we are delivering record funding for the NHS, but we can only do that on the foundations of a strong economy, you can’t deliver for the NHS unless you have a plan for the economy, and he doesn’t have either.”

Downing Street argued that non-doms paid £7,896 million in tax last year, adding: “We don’t want to do anything that damages UK attractiveness.”