Tory minister defends ‘£1.2 trillion’ Labour costing - but refuses to reveal his own

Kwasi Karteng was challenged by Sophy Ridge on why the Conservatives have released a purported costi

Kwasi Karteng was challenged by Sophy Ridge on why the Conservatives have released a purported costing of Labour's spending promises but have not put out their own. Picture: Sky - Credit: Sky

After claiming that Labour's manifesto promises will cast taxpayers £1.2 trillion, the business minister would not give an equivalent figure for his own party.

Kwasi Karteng said he won't "bandy around figures" when he was asked what the Conservatives' spending promises add up to.

The Tories' claimed figure for Labour, which took up the front page of the Mail on Sunday, is "an absolute work of fiction" according to shadow communities minister Andrew Gwynne.

The rightwing paper claimed that this amounts to more than £43,000 per household.

On Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Karteng said the costing had been made on the basis of Labour's general election promises as well as its 2017 manifesto.

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He said: "The reason why we've costed the opposition's manifesto is the opposition can get away with things. They can promise the earth without any real rigorous look at how much they're going to spend and where the money's going to come from."

But when he was asked about his own party's planned spending he claimed that the Tories "do have an equivalent number" and began itemising individual spending promises.

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Pressed on the question of a total, he said: "I'm not going to bandy around figures."

"But that's what you're doing for Labour," replied Ridge.

"Our job is to scrutinise what Labour are doing," said Karteng.

But Ridge said: "That's our job. Your job is to tell us what your proposals are so voters can come to a genuine decision."

On the BBC's Andrew Marr show, chancellor Sajid Javid denied that the Tories' costing announcement had been made on the basis of data from the civil service, after concerns were raised that a general election campaign issue had made use of taxpayers' money.

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