Labour tax rises are as sure as night follows day, says Jeremy Hunt

Mr Hunt will add that Britain needs to become more like the low-tax economies of North America and Asia and less like the stagnating European Union.

He will say that “making work pay is good for growth” in a nod to the Tories’ plans to bear down on the ballooning number of people on sickness benefits.

On Thursday night, the Tories seized on remarks by a senior shadow minister that suggested there was a £12 billion funding black hole in Labour’s energy plans.

Steve Reed, the shadow environment secretary, told LBC it “may well be” that Labour’s proposals to set up GB Energy would cost £82 billion.

It would mean Labour putting in £20.5 billion, not the previously costed £8.8 billion, with the rest of the money coming from private investment.

Claire Coutinho, the Energy Secretary, said: “Keir Starmer needs to urgently explain which taxes they would raise to pay for this. It’s clearer than ever that Labour do not have a plan.”

The Conservatives have also sought to draw dividing lines this week with Labour on crime and gender ideology.

On Tuesday, Chris Philp, the Policing Minister, urged officers to increase the use of stop and search after Mr Sunak criticised Sadiq Khan over knife crime in London.

That was followed on Thursday by an announcement from Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, banning the teaching of “contested” gender ideology, such as that children can change their sex or that there are 72 genders.

James Murray MP, Labour’s shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, responding to Mr Hunt’s economic speech, said: “There is nothing Jeremy Hunt can say or do to hide that fact that working people are worse off after 14 years of economic failure under the Conservatives. The tax burden is at a 70-year high and the average household is forecast to be £870 worse off under Rishi Sunak’s tax plan.

“Now Jeremy Hunt is desperately trying to distract from reality with his reckless £46 billion unfunded tax plan to abolish National Insurance.

“It is time for change. Labour will deliver economic stability with tough spending rules, so we can grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation, and mortgages as low as possible.”

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