Rishi Sunak defends his £2,000 tax claim despite criticism from statistics watchdog

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  • author, Laura Jones
  • Role, Business reporter

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has denied that claims he made about Labour’s tax plans were questionable despite being criticized by the UK’s statistics watchdog.

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) said that anyone who heard Mr Sunak say that Labour’s plan would mean a £2,000 tax rise for every working household would have no way of knowing that this sum totaled up over four years.

Earlier in the week, the Treasury Department’s chief of staff also objected to the Conservatives’ presentation of their impeachment as if it had been produced by neutral government employees.

However, speaking to ITV’s Tonight, Sunak insisted he had not lied and said Labor was “upset that we have exposed their plans to raise taxes”.

The Prime Minister made the claim several times during his first live TV debate with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer on Tuesday.

Sir Keir responded to the claim after the debate was broadcast on ITV, accusing the Prime Minister of “deliberately” lying about Labour’s plans.

He insisted that he would not bring tax increases on workers.

Like the Conservatives, Labor has pledged not to increase the rate of income tax, National Insurance and VAT if it wins the election.

“We have warned against this practice.”

But she added: “Without reading the full Tory costs document, anyone hearing this claim would have no way of knowing that this is an estimate put together over four years.”

“We warned against this practice a few days ago, after it was used to showcase potential future increases in defense spending.”

In an interview filmed for ITV’s The Leader Interviews: Rishi Sunak – and due to be broadcast in full on June 12 – the Prime Minister denied that he was willing to lie to stay in power.

When asked about his use of the £2,000 figure, he said: “I think people know I’m detail-oriented when it comes to numbers.”

Ahead of the first television debate in the run-up to polling day on 4 July, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Robert Choate, wrote to the main political parties to warn them about “ensuring the appropriate and transparent use of statistics”.

Sir Robert said: “The work of the UK Statistics Authority is underpinned by the conviction that official statistics should serve the public good.

“This means that when statistics and quantitative claims are used in public debate, they should enhance understanding of the topics being discussed and not use them in a way that may be misleading.”

The OSR also recently closed an investigation into an earlier claim that the UK economy was “running flat”, which was later pointed out by officials including Rishi Sunak.

“The facts are the facts. I think the person from the Office for National Statistics talked about the economic growth that the country produced in the first quarter of last year,” Sunak said in an interview with the BBC’s Today program in May. year.

“He said what he had to say about it and I think he used the term ‘gangsta,’ so I’ll leave it at that.”

Mr Sunak was quoting Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics.

“To paraphrase what former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating said, you could say the economy is going tremendously,” Fitzner told reporters earlier in May.

However, the ONS said on Thursday that it had immediately clarified the comment at the time as a “passing reference” to the former Australian prime minister’s comments.

An ONS spokesman said: “It was certainly not intended to be a comment about the general state of the economy, and when the comment was made it was immediately made clear to those present that this was not a word the ONS would use to describe the economic situation.” First quarter growth.

“We also put the comment into context for journalists who followed up afterwards.”

Fitzner’s comments came after official figures showed the economy had emerged from recession.

The Office for National Statistics estimated that GDP grew by 0.6% between January and March, meaning the economy is recovering from the recession recorded late last year.

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