Former Labour voter condemns Jeremy Corbyn for 'ruthlessly' adding VAT to his children's private school fees

Businessman Maneet Kapoor tells Labour leader he has made it 'impossible' to back him

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 30 May 2017 10:13 BST
Man complains about kids' schools fees while saying £10 minimum wage and scrapping zero hour contracts are 'ruthless' policies

A businessman told Jeremy Corbyn he had made it "impossible" for him to vote Labour on 8 June because of "ruthless" policies like adding VAT to private school fees and introducing a £10-an-hour minimum wage.

Speaking during Monday's Sky News leaders' question-and-answer session, pharmacy chain owner Maneet Kapoor said: "I'm a proud Mancunian and a small business owner, brought up in a Labour-voting household, by salt-of-the-earth parents who gave me their best.

"Why have you made it impossible for me to vote Labour in this election, with your ruthless, short-sighted policies such as 26 per cent corporation tax, the abolishment of zero-hour contracts, £10 an hour minimum wage, and now you want to put VAT on my children's school fees?"

Mr Corbyn said: "This country is badly divided between the richest and the poorest. You put corporate tax, and tax at the top end, down, the division gets greater. Are you happy that so many of our children are going to school with super-size classes, so many of our children are going to school hungry?

"Are you happy when there's so many people waiting for hospital operations? You don't address these problems by ignoring them. I appeal to you as, obviously, a traditional person who's supported our party, recognise that we're all better off when everybody is better off."

The Labour leader added: "I work with small businesses, I talk to them, I listen very carefully to what they have to say. They are often very badly exploited by much bigger businesses who do delay on payments or often don't pay at all. We want a society and an economy that invests and a legal system that protects those that are working really hard.

"Surely a £10-an-hour minimum wage, a living wage, a real living wage, by 2020, would mean we actually spend probably a bit less on working tax credits. But it would also make an awful lot of people a lot better off. And do you know what? They'd spend the money in the local economy. It would be something that would be good for all of us."

The welfare state and the NHS only came about because the Labour Party was "bold enough" to "invest in the future," Mr Corbyn said. He said corporation tax stood at 28 per cent seven years ago.

Interviewed on Tuesday morning on Sky, Mr Kapoor said: "The feeling is that all of a sudden, especially with Labour, we seem to be the forgotten people. We are the guys that are actually the backbone of communities.

"There seems to be this idea that zero-hour contracts are in some way an evil thing across the board. I'm not going to sit here and say that some people [don't] really take advantage of that. In my business, zero-hour contracts are only given to undergraduates. They're at university. They let me know when they're available.

"My point was, you can't just hike a starting member of staff on £10 an hour. Be realistic at this moment in time where things are a bit tight. In reality I'm certainly not opposed to any of those things."

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