General election: Jeremy Corbyn says 'no reason' for billionaires to flee UK if Labour wins

Labour leader says £58 billion compensation to 'Waspi women' would come from state reserves and borrowing

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
@andywoodcock
Tuesday 26 November 2019 20:52
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Jeremy Corbyn says billionaires should not flee UK if Labour wins election

There is “no reason” for billionaires to flee the UK if Labour comes to power, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The Labour leader rejected suggestions that his taxation plans – which would see income tax rise to 45 per cent for earnings over £80,000 and 50% at £125,000, as well as increases in capital gains and corporation taxes – would lead to an exodus of the highest earners, who between them supply a high proportion of the Treasury’s tax revenues.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn said that Labour would fund its promise of £58 billion compensation to so-called “Waspi women” from government reserves or extra borrowing, and would not pay out the full sum in one year.

And he defended his decision to remain neutral in an eventual second Brexit referendum if he wins the 12 December election and fulfils his promise to negotiate a "credible" withdrawal agreement with the EU. But he was unable to say who would lead the campaign to back his deal over the Remain option which would also be on the ballot paper.

In a BBC1 interview with Andrew Neil, Mr Corbyn was challenged over the possibility that a significant part his income tax base would leave the country if he took power.

“No, it doesn’t crumble at all,” he replied.

“They can see all around them the crumbling of public services and the terrible levels of child poverty that exist across Britain.

“There is no reason why they would have to leave the country and they shouldn’t.”

Asked how much he would increase borrowing, Mr Corbyn replied: “We are not going to willy-nilly borrow, what we are going to do is deal with the worst aspects of what’s happened in austerity, the worst aspects of poverty in Britain.”

Mr Corbyn acknowledged that there was not enough money in the UK’s national reserves to pay in full the compensation for women who lost out when the state pension age was equalised.

He told Neil: “Those women where short changed by government. Short changed in 2011 by the change in the pension rate. It has to be paid for. It’s a moral debt.”

And he added: “Had a court case gone the other way, the government would now be having to do it. What we’re saying is we will do it.

“We will do it by paying for it from government reserves and if necessary, because it’s not all going to be paid in one year, we will have to borrow in the long term.”

Challenged over his decision to stay neutral in a Brexit referendum, Mr Corbyn said: "I will be the honest broker that will make sure that the referendum is fair and make sure that the Leave deal is a credible one and the Remain option is alongside it.

"I would be the Prime Minister that would make sure that there was a fair debate and fair discussion, we’d come to conclusion at the end of it and I would carry out the result of that referendum in whatever way it went."

Asked who would lead the Leave campaign and fight for his deal, the Labour leader replied: "Those that support it would be active in it. Those that support Remain would be active."

Mr Corbyn declined to say for certain whether he would give the orders to kill any new leader of so-called Islamic State (IS) if it was not possible to arrest them.

“I will take the appropriate decision at the appropriate time with all the information, you asked me a hypothetical question in a hypothetical scenario,” he said.

Mr Corbyn stressed it was essential to look “to the future” and at how IS formed and spread, adding: “We also have to look at how we created these dangers as well.”

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