People earning £60,000 are not “rich” and would not be taxed more under Labour, a senior party figure has said.

Rachel Reeves said a Labour government would only raise taxes for the “privileged few” on £150,000 or more a year, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Meanwhile shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said Labour would guarantee all parents of primary school children “wraparound” childcare from 8am to 6pm.

The Labour plans have emerged ahead of the party conference in Brighton.

On Friday, Labour leader Ed Miliband said he would reverse controversial changes to housing benefit – which critics have called a “bedroom tax” – if Labour won the 2015 election.

Shadow communities and local government secretary Hilary Benn told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was a “cruel and unfair policy” which “undermined families and communities” and did not work because there were no smaller properties for people to move in to.

The government argues it ends “spare room subsidies” unavailable in the private sector, and that the £23bn-a-year housing benefit bill must be cut.

On taxation, Miss Reeves, deputy to shadow chancellor Ed Balls, told the Telegraph: “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.

“We don’t have any plans or desire to increase taxes amongst people in that band of income.”

A Liberal Democrat document leaked earlier this week suggested the party was considering increasing taxes for people earning more than £50,000.

Senior Lib Dem Vince Cable said the proposal was not government policy and he did not know where it had come from.

The average annual earnings of full-time workers in the UK was £26,500 in the year to April 2012, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics in its annual survey of hours and earnings last November.

Help for parents

Meanwhile Ms Cooper told the Guardian childcare would be a “top priority” for Labour’s 2015 general election and it should be seen as just as important as infrastructure investments such as transport.

“It’s about supporting families, the economy and equality. It’s a really important issue for us and we want to go further than we have before,” she said.

At present some schools offer breakfast clubs and after-school clubs to help working parents, but Labour says many of these have closed due to government cuts.

The paper said other policy pledges expected to be set out by Mr Miliband at the conference include strengthening the minimum wage in specific sectors such as retail and catering and taking fresh action to crack down on energy bills.

A commitment to a new programme on social housing is also expected to be announced.

Ms Cooper told the paper Labour leader Ed Miliband would set out the plans – to be paid for with central government money – at the conference, which starts on Sunday.

Responding to Labour’s plans in the Guardian, Treasury minister Sajid Javid said: “Despite promising ‘discipline’ on borrowing, Ed Miliband has shown he is too weak to deliver. Nothing has changed – it’s the same old Labour.”


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