Rachel Reeves has reason to feel hard done by this morning as hundreds of people take her to task for saying that people who earn £60,000 a year aren't rich. However, Reeves didn't quite say that.
Following an interview with The Telegraph, Tim Ross, Mary Riddell and James Kirkup came up with the headline "People on £60,000 aren’t rich, says Labour's Rachel Reeves". But that's not what Reeves said at all. What she tried to explain was that you'd have a hard time trying to convince people in London and the south-east on salaries of £50-60,000 that they were rich, given the amount of money they had to pay out every month. And that people earning this amount were just as angry as lower-paid workers about the highest earners getting a tax cut. Reeves's problem, however, is that she didn't put it that effectively and her statement has been deliberately misconstrued by The Telegraph - and then repeated all over the media.
Here are the appropriate paragraphs from the interview:
“I think the focus should be on those privileged few right at the top, and that’s not people earning £50,000 or £60,000 a year,” Miss Reeves said in an interview with The Telegraph. “We don’t have any plans or desire to increase taxes amongst people in that band of income.”
The Liberal Democrats have said they would find the money by taxing the richest, which a leaked party document suggested meant anyone earning more than £50,000.
“If you’re a single-earner family in London or the South East on £50,000 or £60,000, you don’t feel particularly rich and you’d be equally aggrieved that people earning between £150,000 and £1 million are getting a tax cut at the same time your taxes are going up.”