Be warned, Labour’s SAS will take no political prisoners

Starmer
Starmer

Every country has its elite level of armed forces. Labour’s gathering hordes of parliamentary shock troops is no different, having its own SAS – Starmer’s Advisory Squadron.

They are his elite, having survived years of training under testing and difficult conditions (known as opposition). They have been commanding or advising regiments of think tanks, launching secret missions to sow confusion and laying policy traps behind enemy lines.

Now, key members of Labour’s SAS are being flushed out into the open by their own ambition; we reveal who they are, what their service record is, and what bombshells they have prepared to let off – if they are not stopped by a reluctant populace.

Last Friday, a platoon of Labour loyalists were formally nominated as parliamentary candidates and are now ready to go over the top.

They have proudly carried the colours of Left-wing think tanks including the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the Resolution Foundation and New Economic Foundation (NEF), but now they represent Labour and can be expected to give no quarter.

A noted member of Labour’s crack team is Torsten Bell, the parliamentary candidate for Swansea West, who has been head of the Resolution Foundation since 2015 and this year was listed in the New Statesman as the ninth most powerful Left-wing figure in the UK.

Bell was previously billeted as Labour’s director of policy under Ed Miliband and before that was posted as advisor to Chancellor Alistair Darling.

From past sniping while at the Resolution Foundation, we know Bell favours making almost everyone pay inheritance tax, slashing the VAT registration threshold to £30,000, restricting Isa allowances, hiking capital gains tax to as a high as 53pc, more than doubling dividend taxes, trebling national insurance charges for many of the self-employed and applying it to rental income.

Bell recently sought to cover his tracks by deleting his social media posts calling for a cutback of Isas but was caught by alert journalists.

In 2017, he led a mission touring the news studios supporting then-chancellor Philip Hammond for breaching the Conservative manifesto promise not to hike National Insurance contributions. With experience in that field, he could be a key operative in advising Rachel Reeves on how to break her manifesto commitments not to raise taxes.

Not to be outdone are the four Labour candidates who have parachuted in from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a brigade that wants to raise capital gains tax to match income tax levels and apply it at death, scrapping most reliefs.

It wants to apply National Insurance to all income, including savings and dividends – and would start charging inheritance tax on estates over £36,000.

The IPPR is also a consistent advocate of windfall taxes, including even higher taxes on dividends and North Sea energy production to finance a state “National Investment Fund”. The money will then be used to part-nationalise companies by the state taking “strategic stakes in firms”.

Zoë Billingham, the director of IPPR North and Labour candidate for South Cotswolds, previously worked in the Treasury and was economic advisor to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

IPPR North pushes for “a deeper degree of fiscal devolution” – meaning many new taxes on top of existing national ones.

Billingham also supports raising capital gains tax to income tax levels, and opposed the cuts in National Insurance contributions.

One comrade-in-arms is Kirsty McNeill, Labour’s candidate for Midlothian, who serves as the interim chairman of IPPR’s board of trustees. Previous IPPR Scotland modelling suggested a local inheritance tax could raise around £300m per year.

Another Labour candidate from IPPR is Luke Murphy, who is contesting Basingstoke.

Murphy was lead author of the IPPR’s report on the “green transition” that advocated imposing political criteria on pension fund investments by setting “a legal requirement for all “default” defined contribution funds to be net zero aligned by 2030 at the very latest.

More taxes were also on Murphy’s agenda, including levies on draughty houses.

“The UK and devolved governments should also consider making a range of taxation changes to encourage home improvements, including – linking council tax rates to energy efficiency so less efficient homes pay an added premium – variable stamp duty, with a higher rate charged for energy-inefficient properties and vice versa,” the report reads.

Luke Myer, a research fellow of IPPR North, is Labour’s candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. 

His LinkedIn page shows him promoting the IPPR North report that called for the bold idea of raising capital gains tax to match income tax levels.

The report also goes on to advocate devolving greater tax-raising powers to regional politicians such as “local tourist taxes”, “local levies on health harming activities” such as “gambling premises or vape shops”, and enabling “local land capture”.

In short, the battle order would be to tax, tax and tax again anything that local politicians view as a cash cow or do not like the look of.

Bringing up the rear is the NEF where Miatta Fahnbulleh, Labour candidate for Peckham was chief executive for five years – after starting out at IPPR.

She’s also been senior economic adviser to Angela Rayner and Ed Miliband. Under Fahnbulleh, the NEF recommended, among other things, a wealth tax, nationalisation of land, transport and energy, extending national insurance to investment income and abolishing the upper earnings limit, the right to request the sale of existing businesses to employees and a cap on interest rates and charges on every form of consumer credit.

Also from the New Economic Foundation is Jeevun Sandher, Labour candidate for Loughborough, who was formerly head of economics at NEF.

Sandher supports a huge increase in state borrowing, as well as the usual wealth and windfall taxes which he claims have no economic cost.

Finally from NEF is Alex Diner, the Labour candidate for Harwich and North Essex, who was senior researcher for housing policy.

Diner believes the government should have a “community right to buy” people’s houses at below market price, giving social landlords and community-led housing organisations the right of first refusal for a set period when properties become available for sale”.

So there we have it, Labour’s own SAS – they’ve done the training and are now on a classified mission their superiors will naturally deny, but the evidence is there.

They want to raise taxes nationally, create new local taxes on modest inheritances, introduce health-harming levies and capture land and property. They will be the vanguard of Labour’s assault on your earnings, your savings, your pensions and your property.

Who Earns Pays, is their motto: don’t say you were not warned.

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