Sunak's lies in the last TV debate before the election

Sunak’s lies in the last TV debate before the election

We should demand better of our leaders: here are Rishi Sunak’s lies in the last TV debate before the election.


He lied that Labour would impose a tax on pensioners.

In fact, Sunak’s own Tory government had created a situation in which pensioners would have to pay tax, because the state pension in 2027-28 was likely to be higher than the current tax-free personal allowance that is granted to all of us.

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The Tories – perhaps belatedly realising this – have announced a “triple lock plus” policy that will raise the personal allowance for pensioners in order to remove that risk.

While it is true that Labour has not said it will do the same, this is not the same as Labour planning to impose a tax on retired people so Rishi Sunak was lying when he made this claim.

And – as This Writer has mentioned before – around 2.5 million pensioners (one-fifth of all UK pensioners) already pay income tax as they receive extra pension payments from taking part in SERPS – the old State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme.


He falsely implied that Labour planned to spend hundreds of billions of pounds of public money in order to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Net zero by 2050 is not just a Labour policy but also a Conservative policy, and independent estimates (for example by the Office for Budget Responsibility) are consistent with the costs Sunak stated – so that money would have to be spent in order to hit the target, no matter who is in power.

But it would not be all public money and savings incurred by the change would cover most of the cost anyway:

The bulk of the investment costs are expected to be met by the private sector rather than being direct government spending.

And moving away from fossil fuels is expected to bring savings of around £1 trillion.


He lied that Labour would increase taxes by £2,000 per family.

This is based on a grossly-oversimplified figure, reached by adding up the extra cost of Labour’s spending plans (£38.5 billion over four years) and dividing it by the number of households in the UK with at least one person working.

This comes to £2,000 extra over four years, which is not what a person would envision when told they will be paying that much extra in tax. They would expect that to be the amount over a single year, but this comes to only £500 – and only according to the simplified Tory figure.

Additionally, not everybody in the UK pays the same rate of income tax, and in any case there is no guarantee that Labour would take the money as income tax. It may use other taxes to raise the revenue, meaning some people would pay nothing at all.

Or Labour may decide not to increase taxes at all. Bear in mind that taxes exist to validate the pound as a currency, and to keep inflation down. Considering the negligible effects on inflation of recent profligate spending by the Conservatives, there is no reason to believe that Labour’s plans will necessarily push inflation through the roof.

And then there are the assumptions made by the spads – special advisors; temporary civil servants appointed by Conservative politicians and not expected to be impartial – who carried out the costing. One such assumption suggests that Labour’s plan to have more services provided by the state instead of private firms will cost more because private firms are more efficient – but this has not been our experience.

The report on which Sunak relied for his figures even mentions this, saying while some outsourcing has led to greater efficiency, other attempts have resulted in “significant overspend, while a string of failures has damaged public trust”.

So there you have it.

When Sunak became prime minister in 2022, he promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability”. Liars have no integrity. We deserve better.

By lying repeatedly in a televised election debate, Sunak has shown that neither he nor the party he leads – because all its MPs would follow his lead – deserve our vote.

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One Comment

  1. Tony June 28, 2024 at 11:33 am - Reply

    In one of the debates, Penny Mordaunt claimed that Labour would put up Capital Gains Tax and that this would hit people when they came to sell their home.

    During the discussion, nobody stated that CGT does not apply to the family home.

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