Starmer: 'There's no magic wand to fix all the country's problems'

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer spoke exclusively to ITV's Political Editor Robert Peston on a visit to a Morrison's supermarket in Swindon.

There's no "magic wand" that can "fix all the country's problems" if Labour win the election, Sir Keir Starmer has told ITV.

In an exclusive interview for ITV's Peston programme, the Labour leader said: "I know what austerity feels like... but in the end, there's no magic wand that we can wave the day after the election and fix all the country's problems. And nobody would believe us if we said there is."

Speaking during a visit to a Morrison's supermarket in Swindon, Starmer said "what we can have is a serious plan for growth - and we can start that on day one."

"There's no magic wand": Starmer tells Peston

Starmer also told ITV's Political Editor Robert Peston he was different to previous Labour leaders because he won't pull the "tax lever".

"I know traditionally Labour leaders might have said, 'it's the tax lever I can't wait to get my hands on' - that's not the case as far as I'm concerned because all of my focus is on growing our economy", he said.

Starmer said the country needed to "break out" of the cycle of raising money through taxes and spending cuts: "If all you do is tax the existing pie or cut the spending of the existing pie, which is ever reducing, you are going round and round in circles, [you] have to break out of it."

Two high-profile billionaires have announced they're supporting Labour this week, as the party's seeks to win over business leaders and become the party of "wealth creation".

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, co-owner of Manchester United, and John Cauldwell, who founded Phones 4U, have both come out in support of Labour.

We need to "break out" of the tax cycle and "grow the economy", Starmer says

In a phone-in with LBC on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hit out at the two billionaires, saying they're only backing Labour because they can "afford Labour's tax rises."

In response, Starmer told ITV: "They're not backing us because of their own personal wealth. They're backing us based on their experience of how you actually get the economy going."

When asked by Peston whether it's "unfair" that while "billionaires have got more money than they could ever use... millions of people are struggling to pay the bills", Starmer said: "it's not just not fair, it's not growing."

"The biggest problem in the last 14 years is that we've had too much flatlining in relation to our economy," he said.

When asked whether he had a favourite hero from history, Starmer said "I don't pick heroes from history", but eventually conceded his heroes would be: "Thierry Henry and Mandela."

"Thierry Henry is my favourite-ever footballer", he said, admitting that when he was younger he had "pictures of Blondie" and "footballers" on his wall.

His comments come after his Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves revealed to ITV News she had a poster of Gordon Brown on her wall when she was younger.

A major poll released on Wednesday showed Labour is on course for the biggest landslide in a century.

YouGov said its latest study projects Labour is on course to achieve a 200-seat majority.

Labour is predicted to secure 425 seats, the Tories 108, the Liberal Democrats 67, SNP 20, Reform UK five, Plaid Cymru four and the Green Party two.

Labour has promised not to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT for five years if they win the election, in what they're calling a "tax triple lock."

The party has committed to some tax rises - they include charging VAT on private school fees; the reintroduction of the lifetime allowance on pension savings; higher taxes on non-doms, private equity bonuses and the profits of energy companies.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned last week in response to Labour's manifesto that their plans were part of a "conspiracy of silence" among the main parties on the challenges faced by an incoming government on public spending.

“These challenges are already perfectly clear. The books are open. A post-election routine of shock and horror at the state of the public finance will not cut it", Director of the IFS Paul Johnson said.

Launching their manifesto on Wednesday, the SNP said Labour "will bake in more eye-watering cuts."

The full interview will air on ITV1 and ITVX at 10:45pm on Wednesday evening.

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