Labour to hold summer Budget if elected

Labour would deliver a special “summer budget” if it wins this tomorrow’s general election, allowing the party to put its tax and spending stamp on the country.

Speaking to a national newspaper, the shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour’s key economic manifesto planks would be put down in a Budget before the parliamentary recess in July.

He also revealed that he has held meetings with Treasury officials to discuss plans and practical preparations for the potential event -- Summer Budget 2017, The Observer reported.

His pledge mirrors a commitment casually made by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, who in April avoided answering a MP’s query by saying “after the election...there will be a Budget”.

But it is now in doubt whether it will be Mr Hammond who delivers it (should the Tories win the election), as reports at the weekend claim he might fall victim to a post-election reshuffle.

In fact, a source close to Theresa May has signalled the chancellor as being outside the PM’s ‘inner circle’ that she wants to retain if the Tories are victorious, The Sunday Times reported.

Mr Hammond’s absence during the election campaign appears to be telling too, as do allegations in the newspaper that the chancellor is asking his aides to keep notes on Mrs May’s aides to use as evidence, in the event that he is deposed by her -- as his predecessor was.

However, in a wide-ranging and well-timed interview with the Sunday Telegraph (it was published on the same day as the Times’ allegations), the chancellor denied any bad blood.

“I have never had an impolite or aggressive conversation with anybody in my own team [or] in Theresa May’s team,” he said, having already ducked the interviewer’s question of whether he would be sacked if Mrs May remains in No 10 on June 9th.

An early departure for the chancellor who proposed hiking self-employed people's National Insurance bills would be unlikely to devastate the freelance sector.

However, a letter by software group Sage on behalf of enterprise-owners will make a range of business-friendly demands on whoever leads the new government, with ‘tax simplification’ -- pledged in the Tory manifesto -- among them.

 

6th June 2017

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