Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has called for higher taxes to help pay off Britain’s record deficit.
The shadow health secretary said that putting up taxes could be the only alternative to devastating cuts to public services.
Launching his leadership manifesto, he said that he would split the burden of tackling the deficit between 60% spending cuts and 40% tax increases, rather than the 80%-20% split the coalition government was planning.
“The trouble with the spending cuts on the scale that the coalition are proposing is that they would wreck lives altogether,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.
“My worry is, yes, they may bring down the deficit but in doing so they may change for ever the character of public services in this country and unpick the social fabric.”
One option in the manifesto was for a land value tax based on the estimated value of the land an individual owns - for most people the value of their homes, less the buildings and fittings.
Mr Burnham said that introducing the measure could enable other unpopular taxes to to be scrapped.
“If we move towards a land value tax we could end some of the most unpopular taxes such as stamp duty and inheritance tax,” he said.
“These issues are very important, particularly stamp duty because it stands in the way of young people putting down their roots and getting on in life.”
Another option could be a “solidarity wealth tax” where the total value of an individual’s assets, less any debts, would be subject to an annual tax.
His manifesto also contained a commitment that he would be “more ambitious” with the financial transaction tax on the banks.
Mr Burnham acknowledged that there were risks in putting forward policies that might appeal to Labour Party members while proving less popular with the wider public.
“There are risks in putting forward bold policies of this kind,” he said. “Obviously, there are risks and benefits with all potential tax changes.”