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Budget: Keir Starmer risks being ‘outflanked’ by the Tories, claims Labour left

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer - Credit: PA

The Labour left is arguing that Keir Starmer risks being “outflanked” by the Tories during this week’s budget if it does not go far enough.

Socialist campaign group MPs Apsana Begum, John McDonnell and Richard Burgon are calling for a “People’s Budget” to reflect the “1945 moment” the country as it leaves lockdown.

Burgon is expected to tell a virtual rally organised by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity: “Labour’s leadership has said this must be a 1945 moment – a fork in the road – and I completely agree with that. Something new will replace the pre-crisis economy that was already broken when Covid struck.

MORE: This should be our 1945 moment… but we may only get 1918 instead

“It is our job as the opposition party to lead the debate on what that new economy looks like. To ensure it is an economy that serves the many – not the few. That means our party must step up its opposition to this government.

“In the deepest crisis in decades, Labour needs to be much bolder in offering an alternative. The crisis is now and so the Labour party needs to have answers now on the big issues facing our communities.

“That isn’t counterposed to preparing to win in 2024 – it’s an essential part of it. By showing people day-after-day that we have their backs and we have a better way forward for them.

“And we can’t just sidestep big debates when they happen. The tax debacle of the past few days shows that if we continue to do so, then our party will be outflanked by the Tories with their phoney rhetoric of levelling up.

“It will be our communities that pay the price. Like on so much else, we can win the argument for a progressive tax system – but only if we make the case.”

Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has dismissed calls for immediate tax rises in the Budget, but said that the party would “look carefully” at a “long-term plan for getting our country to a better place on corporation tax”.

She told an audience on Monday: “Now is not the time for immediate tax rises – it is the time for a chancellor focused on jobs and securing our recovery.”