At PMQs David Cameron attacked Ed Miliband for his deputy Harriet Harman’s comments, made on an LBC phone-in show on Monday, that she wanted to see higher taxes on middle-income earners.
What exactly did she say? Here’s the quote – with audio below:-
Caller: ‘I would like to know what you are going to do to help the middle classes of England, Britain. I really do feel the middle class contribute the most and take out the least. I will be honest I am a staunch Conservative, hand on heart but if Labour came up with one policy that would genuinely help me out I would vote for them.’
Iain Dale: ‘Like what?’
Caller: ‘Well my suggestion would be if I lost my job the government would pay, say I have been working for 2 years the government would match my wage for 3 months afterwards. Give me some security.’
Harriet Harman: ‘Well I think that is a very interesting point actually Henry because sometimes people feel that they pay in a lot over a long period of time working hard but when they suddenly need unemployment benefit if they lose their job that actually it is nowhere near enough to actually make them feel that it was worth it for them to contribute. And one of the things that we are talking about is making a higher rate the longer you’ve worked to recognise the contributions you’ve paid in if you lose your job. But I would say Henry one of the things that I would argue that might, should probably make a really big difference to you is having a really good health service. Because you don’t want to have to pay for health insurance., You don’t want to have to pay to go private to get really good healthcare system. And I think that is not just for working class people it’s for middle class people as well. And the same with education, you know, really good school system that helps people from lower income families and middle income families as well so I think that actually the idea that there are some things that help people on low incomes and other that help people on middle incomes. Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes. But actually they need those public services like the transport system.’
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.