Sir Keir Starmer said Labor would do away with universal credit altogether – but if it were in 10th place it would keep the £ 20 increase until the system is overtaken.
At the BBC breakfast, the Labor leader said: “In the long term, we would replace universal credit, because one of the problems with the system we currently have is that it keeps people trapped in poverty.”
When asked if this meant that the uplift would remain under Labor until the system was replaced, he said: “It would remain, we would not make the cut, we would then replace it with something better.”
Sir Keir accused the government of “effectively fighting” the poorest of our society because of the abolition of the universal credit increase.
He said families “desperately need this universal credit increase to make ends meet”.
“And this cut comes at the worst possible time because prices are rising,” he said.
“Whether that is fuel or food or energy prices and this will drive families and children into poverty and that the government will turn the poorest against the poorest when we get out of the pandemic is just so wrong.”
Sir Keir said he would pay for his party’s obligations by reducing “waste in the system”.
Referring to what he called “crony contracts” during the pandemic, he told BBC Breakfast, “Don’t tell me there is no money, the government makes decisions.”
He said, “I am surprised anyone is arguing with the idea that we need to reduce this waste of billions of pounds. How can it be right to have so much waste in the system? So we would deal with this waste by having an Office for Value for Money.
“But when it comes to taxation, the big gap between us and the government is that the government wants to tax working people through social security. We say it should be the ones with the broadest shoulders.
“The example I have cited many times and given it to the Prime Minister, under his tax system, the National Insurance System, a landlord with a lot of properties no longer pays a penny. But this landlord’s tenants who are working will have to pay a tax hike that the prime minister did not want to impose on them in the 2019 general election. This can not be right.”
However, he would not give an income figure where people would have to pay more taxes.
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