VIDEO: left-winger: ‘I don’t consider myself as wealthy’ says £138k-a-year Jeremy Corbyn

VIDEO: left-winger: ‘I don’t consider myself as wealthy’ says £138k-a-year Jeremy Corbyn


JEREMY CORBYN was branded “out of touch” after the Labour leader claimed he doesn’t think he’s “wealthy” despite being allowed to rake in £138,000-a-year from taxpayers.

The left-winger, who lives in an estimated £600,000 property in one of London’s most expensive boroughs, earns his MP salary of £74,962 and is entitled to an additional £63,098 – and the use of a taxpayer-funded car – for his role as Leader of the Opposition.

The 67-year-old also benefits from a state pension and an entitlement from his time at Haringey Council.

Earlier this year, it was revealed Mr Corbyn has made more than £3million from the state over the past three decades, including his MP wages and the generous parliamentary pension he will earn when he retires.

The average gross salary for a full-time UK employee is £27,456-a-year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But the Labour leader, who has represented his Islington North constituency since 1983, insisted he does not believe he is “high-brow or wealthy”.

Speaking at an Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue as he launched his culture strategy in the Scottish capital yesterday, Mr Corbyn said: “I hate the elitism [that says] only the wealthy can go to ballet, only the wealthy can go to opera, only the wealthy can go to Glyndebourne, only the wealthy can enjoy what’s termed high-brow music.

“I don’t consider myself high-brow or wealthy, but I still enjoy some aspects of classical music.

“I want everybody to have that attitude and that same experience.”

Mr Corbyn said a UK government under his leadership would restore £42.8 million in arts funding cuts made over the past six years.

But the veteran politician, who is currently battling Pontypridd MP Owen Smith in a leadership election, was mocked for claiming he isn’t among the country’s top-earners.

I don’t consider myself high-brow or wealthy

Jeremy Corbyn

Ukip MEP Bill Etheridge, who is bidding to replace Nigel Farage as his party’s leader, said Mr Corbyn “must hang around with some seriously wealthy people if he thinks a £138,000-a-year salary and a house in Islington means he isn’t wealthy”.

The Wolverhampton-born councillor added: “So even the so called ‘left-wing’ leader of the Labour Party doesn’t have a clue what it means to be working-class and struggling to make ends meet in this country.

“He should try living on the income the unemployed steel workers he claims to represent have to survive on.

“Or young people who can’t get jobs let alone buy their own property thanks to the chronic oversupply of labour due to mass migration from the EU.

“Instead he’s at an arts festival, benefiting from the grammar school education he would deny others, probably looking forward to some quinoa-sourdough for supper.

“More pupils from my school went to prison than university and that’s the sort of reality that middle class, wealthy Corbyn is so out of touch with.”

Former Labour MP Tom Harris said: “It is patronising for someone earning almost £140,000 a year to suggest they are not wealthy.

“He should try telling that to someone on benefits living in Glasgow.

“It not only shows out of touch he is but also reflects a condescending Islington attitude that wealth is something to be ashamed of rather than an aspire too.”

An SNP spokesman said: “People listening to Jeremy Corbyn will be very surprised to hear him declaring that his six-figure salary does not make him wealthy, another example of how out of touch Labour is with Scottish voters.”

Mr Corbyn grew up in a seven-bedroom manor house in Shropshire where he attended Adams’ Grammar School.

In May, the Labour leader squirmed when asked whether he thought of himself as middle class on ITV.

He replied: “Yes, every MP has a lifestyle which is, I suppose, more or less, middle class.

“But I see myself as somebody that represents and is proud to represent a community of the poor… and the better off… but above all it is a community which wants to come together to ensure that everybody, everybody, can achieve their maximum in life and in society.”

Mr Corbyn used the final days of this year’s Fringe to claim he would arts “at the heart of policy-making” of a future Labour government.

His plan included restoring £24 million in real terms for Arts Council England, £9.6 million for Creative Scotland and £9.2 million for the Arts Council of Wales.

Mr Corbyn also insisted Labour north of the Border will not split from the UK party if he remains leader.

Its civil war has escalated in recent days with Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale backing rebel candidate Owen Smith.

Mr Corbyn said: “The Scottish party is not going to split off from the UK party.

“The party is the Labour Party in Scotland, it is the Scottish Labour Party, and we have a devolved situation where the leader of the Scottish Labour Party is elected by the Labour Party members in Scotland.

“I’m the leader of the UK Labour Party and obviously I have to work in co-operation with the leader of the Scottish party and I’m very happy to do that.”

Mr Corbyn is tonight expected to attend a campaign rally in Dundee.

It followed a bitter hustings clash with Mr Smith in Glasgow yesterday, in which his rival suggested he had voted Leave in June’s EU referendum.

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