Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell faces a backlash over his £80,000 tax strategy

Mark Sands
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Labour's John McDonnell Addresses An Election Rally In His Home Town Of Liverpool
The UK will head to the polls on 8 June. (Source: Getty)

Labour's plans to hike taxes for workers earning more than £80,000 have provoked a backlash, with a former party adviser and a top think tank both leading the criticism.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell yesterday revealed the proposal, which he says will fund health and schools spending. The party, which has given no detail on the size of the potential hike, has promised it won't raise taxes for anyone taking home a smaller pay packet.

Read More: Labour will raise income tax for those earning more than £80k

But it has been mocked by a former advisor to previous Labour leader, Ed Miliband, who accused Labour of playing “the politics of division”.

“I'd be amazed if Labour found even one person with genuine tax policy expertise who thought it a good idea,” said tax lawyer Jolyon Maugham.

His criticism came after shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry struggled to justify the plan yesterday.

Asked by ITV's Robert Peston how much the policy would raise, Thornberry said: “I don’t know. You’ll need to ask John McDonnell about that, I’m not going to get into all of that.”

Read More: McDonnell outlines Labour's economic response to Brexit

Free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) had already branded the plans “incoherent”.

IEA director general Mark Littlewood said: “Labour politicians talk about targeting the mega-rich, but even on that dangerous metric these plans do not stack up.

“Around 1.6 million people had incomes of £70,000 or more in 2015, of whom roughly half had incomes of between £70,000 and £100,000. These people are not the mega-rich.”

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