To put it mildly, the Labour party’s relationship with the International Monetary
Fund has not always been a happy one. Memories of 1976, when an IMF team forced Jim Callaghan’s government to cut public spending in return for an emergency loan, are powerful to this day.
So when John McDonnell was drawing up the tax plans included in Labour’s general election manifesto, the IMF would have been a long way down the list of organisations from which he might have expected an endorsement.
Yet, in its latest fiscal monitor, that is precisely what the IMF has done. Not explicitly, of course. The report is careful not to say which countries should be thinking about raising the top rate of tax. Still less does it say that the right level should be the 50% proposed by Labour.
But that doesn’t really matter because what the IMF has done is provide some high-level support for Labour’s basic approach.'