Keir Starmer has used the Prime Minister’s questions to portray Rishi Sunak as “insulated from reality” on the cost of living and to make a remarkably personal attack on the Prime Minister’s refusal to end the non-resident tax status of the that his wife benefited.
Sunak is “so out of touch that he looks at a gas pump and debit card like they just came from Mars,” Starmer said, referring to previous awkward photo opportunities involving the prime minister.
“He’s smiling as he goes through the cost of living crisis while raising other people’s taxes,” the Labor leader said. “Is it any wonder he has no idea how food prices are affecting families across the country?”
By labeling Sunak “Mr 24 tax increases”, Starmer sought to contrast this with the continued existence of the scheme that allows people to avoid UK tax on foreign earnings by claiming non-resident status, as did Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty.
Sunak refused to address “his beloved non-dom status,” Starmer told the House of Commons.
He said: “It means that at every possible opportunity, you have voted to increase taxes on workers and, at the same time, you take every possible opportunity to protect a tax evasion scheme that helps your own finances. Why is the prime minister telling people across the country that his taxes have to go up so his taxes stay low?
After Sunak responded by saying the Labor leader had benefited from a change in pension rules because of his previous job as director of public prosecution, Starmer said he would end this “whether it affected me or not”, adding: ” He refuses to give up the status that benefits him and his family.”
Starmer opened the session by quoting a comment by George Osborne, the former Conservative chancellor, calling Liz Truss and her then chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, “political hooligans” over the autumn mini-budget that spooked financial markets.
“They like to pretend it was all just one crazy week last fall. But the truth is, it’s been 13 years of failures,” Starmer said.
After Sunak said people benefited from higher wages and other cost-of-living help, Starmer responded: “I’m really fascinated to know: do you really think everything is okay, or do you just have no idea about life outside of it?” your bubble? ”
He added: “It is not just their refusal to take any responsibility for the damage they have done – the collapsing economy, the impact on living standards. He also refuses to take the necessary measures ”.
Sunak, in turn, said Starmer had no financial ideas beyond ending non-dom status, saying the Labor leader “had already spent the money he says he would raise on five different things.”