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Labour will target “rich” people earning over £70,000 and big companies for higher taxes as the party prepares its manifesto for a snap election, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said.

Mr McDonnell confirmed Labour would support Theresa May’s call for an early election and outlined plans which will form part of the most left-wing prospectus the party has presented in recent times.

The shadow chancellor said Labour would effectively cap top pay by setting a maximum pay ratio for chief executives “in relation to their workers”.

He added that under Labour’s plans for “fair taxation” he would “look to corporations and the rich to pay their share” while keeping average levels of tax across the economy roughly at current levels.

Asked on the BBC’s Today programme how he defined the rich, he said: “The rich will be above £70,000-£80,000″.

Mr McDonnell added that Mrs May had called the election because she knew they economy was about to take a downward turn: “I don’t think this is about Brexit,” he said.

But while he claimed that Mrs May had been panicked into calling a “precipitous election”, Labour MPs would vote to override the fixed-term parliament act on Wednesday to allow a poll on June 8.

Mr McDonnell said Labour, unlike the Tories, would go into the campaign promising to maintain access to the EU’s single market while maximising the benefits the UK currently enjoys as part of the blocs customs union.

He said a future Labour government would seek “a managed and fair immigration system that takes into account the needs of our economy”.

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