Voters have been promised “the most radical and ambitious plan to transform our country in decades” by Jeremy Corbyn who unveiled Labour’s manifesto today – exactly three weeks before December 12’s general election.
The Labour leader pledged “investment on a scale you have never seen before” whilst laying out his party’s plans for government in the manifesto, titled: “It’s time for real change.”
A huge extension of the role of the state through spending on infrastructure and re-nationalisation programmes, a pay rise for public sector workers and a windfall tax on oil companies to address climate issues, were among some of the many headline grabbing plans revealed at the launch in Birmingham this morning.
‘Manifesto of hope’ targets elite
It is billed as “a radical challenge to the wealthy and powerful” who are guilty of “holding people back”.
It signals an attack on society’s “richest and most powerful”, who, Corbyn told supporters: “are unanimous in their hatred of me – and I welcome their hatred.”
The “manifesto of hope” has “popular, fully costed” policies that “will transform the UK” – and include plans to build 100,000 new council houses per year by 2024; a nationalisation programme that will reverse one of Margaret Thatcher’s defining deeds, privatisation, with rail, mail, water and parts of BT (‘free broadband for all’) to be returned to public ownership – if Corbyn wins the keys to Number 10.
A £100 billion transformation fund will create one million new jobs while public sector workers will receive an immediate 5% pay rise and the restoring of their wages to pre-financial crisis levels.
Tuition fees will be scrapped, as too universal credit and the pension age rise beyond 66. will also be scrapped.
Axed bus routes will be restored. So will free dentistry and a cap will be put on public and private sector rents
Day-to-day government current spending will be boosted by £83 billion to pay for these and even more other commitments.
Public investment on infrastructure projects will double, the Labour leader said, “providing assets that will provide a sizeable return to society” – such as council houses, schools and roads.
“The election offers a once in a generation chance for real change – end privatisation, rescue the NHS and get Brexit sorted,” said Corbyn.
The NHS has become as, if not more important to voters as Brexit is, and Labour’s promise to spend an extra £30 billion on the service accounts for just a small fraction of their spending plans.
‘Furious reaction of the richest and most powerful’
Corbyn appealed directly to voters, saying: “Labour is your side and there could be scarcely a clearer demonstration of that than the furious reaction of the richest and most powerful.”
The plans are “fully costed” and will be paid, say Labour, by taking advantage of historically low interest rates for borrowing and increasing taxes on wealthy individuals and business.
These include reversing corporation tax cuts made by the Conservatives during the decade of austerity; a windfall tax on oil and energy companies; a financial transaction tax on banks; and an excessive pay levy and higher income tax for those earning more than £80,000 per year.
There will be taxes on second homes and private school fees while changes to capital gains tax and dividends tax will increase revenue.
Labour will also scrap the research and development tax used by big international companies undertaking high tech research – saving £4 billion, because the state, say Labour, can target direct capital where it is most needed thereby negating the need for tax breaks for massive corporations such as pharmaceutical companies.
£700 billion over five years
Overall, Labour will increase public spending by approximately £700 billion over the next five years, say the BBC, without including the cost of renationalising rail, mail, water and broadband.
By comparison, the Lib Dems policies, the BBC report, will cost around £400 billion, and whilst the Conservatives are yet to unveil their manifesto and pledges, their plans are expected to cost around £300 billion.
All three parties – and the Greens – are justifying their huge public spending promises by pointing to historically low interest rates and Labour say they will be able to balance the current spending budget by 2024, while keeping interest payments at below 10% of tax revenue.
Corbyn told supporters he was “proud” of Labour’s manifesto, and said: “If the bankers, billionaires and establishment thought we represented politics as usual- that we could be bought off, that nothing was really going to change – they wouldn’t attack us so ferociously.
‘Rich and powerful want to stop us’
Corbyn continued: “But they know, we mean what we say, they know, we will deliver our plans. Which is why they want to stop us being elected.
“They know, we will go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses, the big polluters, so that everybody in our country gets a fair chance in life.
“That’s why they throw everything they’ve got at us, because they are scared of real change – because they aren’t on your side.
“We can bring our country together, we can tackle the climate emergency that threatens us all.
“And, we can rewrite the rules of our economy to work for the many not the few.
“Ignore the wealthy and the powerful who tell you that’s not possible – the future is ours to make, together.”