New panel to advise Jeremy Corbyn on economic policies


A Nobel laureate and the author of a bestselling work on the modern economy have been appointed to a new panel advising Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who won the Nobel prize for economics in 2001, and Capital in the 21st Century author Thomas Piketty will develop ideas for Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Mr Corbyn said: "I was elected on a clear mandate to oppose austerity and to set out an economic strategy based on investment in skills, jobs and infrastructure. Our economy must deliver security for all, not just riches for a few."

Other panel members include Mariana Mazzucato from the University of Sussex, former Bank of England monetary policy committee member Danny Blanchflower, City University professor Anastasia Nesvetailova and Ann Pettifor of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (Prime).

The body will hold quarterly meetings to "discuss and develop ideas around the official economic strategy that Labour will be advocating under the new leadership", the party said.

Professor Piketty said: "I am very happy to take part in this economic advisory committee and assist the Labour Party in constructing an economic policy that helps tackle some of the biggest issues facing people in the UK.

"There is now a brilliant opportunity for the Labour Party to construct a fresh and new political economy which will expose austerity for the failure it has been in the UK and Europe."

Mr Corbyn used an appearance on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show to hint at the possibility of an income tax cut for low earners while calling for firms to pay what they owe.

He also restated plans to raise the top rate of income tax from 45% to 50%.

"This Government is cutting tax credits for the very poorest. The poorest families are being hit by £1,300 a year, each. That's a big, big cut," he said.

"Inheritance tax has been reduced so the richest 60,000 families have suddenly had a huge tax break.

"Second point, they are cutting corporation tax from 20% to 18%, doing very little about companies that offshore their head offices, Boots and others, to Switzerland and other places to pay lower tax.

"Where is the narrative of this Government in trying to protect corporation tax levels all across Europe?

"I think we have to start with that. Do we then chase down tax havens and tax evasion? Yes we do.

"If a company is operating in Britain, as is Boots or many others, making, yes, good business, making a lot of money in Britain, they should pay tax on what they earn in Britain and not by some piece of sophistry move it to Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Luxembourg."

He added: "The bottom rate of income tax I would hope we could lower if we can to help the poorest, the very lowest earners.

"That's a hope. "I would want to keep the top rate at 50%, 50p, I have no plans to raise it beyond that and neither has John."