What do many of the 100 richest people in the UK have in common, aside from the fact they are lucky enough to be wealthier than most of us could ever dream of being?
A good number of them have donated significant amounts of money to the Tory Party. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, published today, only one of the ten richest people in the UK is British – the Duke of Westminster. And at least 28 of the top 100 individuals or families in the country are Conservative donors – nearly a third of the total.
Their combined wealth tops £100bn. That tells you everything you need to know about Theresa May’s Conservatives. They claim to be the party of working people but they are beholden to the billionaire backers who bankroll them.
This weekend, Labour made a commitment to freeze income tax for 95% of the population and set out how we'd fund that by considering small rises for the wealthiest 5 per cent who earn over £80,000. That means that virtually no-one in Sandwell would see their taxes go up.
The contrast with Theresa May’s Tories couldn’t be greater. The Tories handed a massive tax cut to the rich by reducing the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p and slashing inheritance tax. Labour has ruled out raising taxes for low and middle income earners and promised not to raise VAT. Theresa May and her Chancellor have pointedly refused to make the same commitment.
The Tories give tax cuts to millionaires while hitting ordinary families in the pocket. The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned last month that working families with children would be £2,500 a year worse off on average if Tory changes to the benefits system and tax credits are implemented. That may be small change to the billionaires who back the Tory party but it’s a devastating cut in living standards for those who are struggling to get by. It will push many into poverty.
Only the Labour Party can stop that. Because only Labour will stand up for the many while the Tories defend the interests of a privileged few.