The Labour Manifesto: The key points
At an event held in Birmingham yesterday, the Labour party launched its manifesto for the upcoming election.
Pledging to “transform” the UK, the 105 page manifesto includes a variety of spending commitments and nationalisation plans.
In the foreword to the manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn argued that this election is about far more than Brexit, writing: “Some people say this is the Brexit election. But it’s also the climate election, the investment election, the NHS election, the living standards election, the education election, the poverty election, the fair taxes election. Above all, it’s the change election.”
The manifesto, which is emblazoned with the slogan “It’s time for real change”, then goes on to outline Labour policies across a variety of fields, including public service funding, Brexit, “tackling poverty”, defence and their plans for a “Green Industrial Revolution.”
Among the various policy announcements, these are the key pledges:
· Build 150,000 new council homes over the next five years, at a predicted cost of £75 billion
· Replace the current definition of “affordable” with a measure linked to average local incomes
· Introduce a second homes tax
Wages and employment
· An instant five per cent pay rise for all public sector workers, with yearly rises above inflation following this.
· Review the age of retirement for those in hard manual jobs
· Introduce a “Living Wage” of £10 an hour for all workers
· End zero-hours contracts
· Abolish Universal Credit, the two-child benefit limit and the welfare cap.
· Encourage adult education through a £3 billion plan to offer free access
· A cap of 30 on the size of all primary school classes
· Remove charitable status from private schools and impose VAT
· Abolish tuition fees and bring back maintenance grants
· Re-negotiate a new withdrawal agreement with the European Union, with close economic links, and then put this to a second referendum within six months.
· All EU nationals currently living in the UK would be guaranteed the right to remain. The manifesto did not however repeat the pledge to guarantee freedom of movement which was passed at the Labour conference.
· State ownership of rail, mail, water and energy services.
· Part-nationalise BT and deliver free broadband to all homes
· Reverse privatisation and increase funding for the NHS by 4.3 per cent
· Re-introduce free annual dental check ups
· Mental health services to receive £1.6 billion
· Free personal care for elderly people
· Alongside the “Green Industrial Revolution”, which Labour predicts will create one million jobs, the manifesto aims to shift energy usage and industry towards renewable sources
· Establish a £250 billion Green Transformation Fund to help the UK meet its carbon pledges
· The manifesto states the party would “aim to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions” by 2030
Reaction to the manifesto, especially among the business community, has been mixed. In order to pay for these spending pledges, Labour have announced they will raise corporation tax and increase income tax for those earning over £80,000, who they describe as being in the top “5 per cent” of earners.
This came under criticism however from Paul Johnson, the head of the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
He argued it would be impossible to raise the funding necessary through these means, describing the plans as “simply not credible” and stating that “if you are looking at transforming society, which the Labour party is absolutely upfront about doing, then you need to pay for it and it can't be someone else who pays for it, we collectively need to pay for it.”
Caroline Fairbarn, the head of the CBI, welcomed some elements of the manifesto and said the CBI shares Labour’s goals of “a close trading relationship with Europe and a fairer, greener and more inclusive economy at home.”
Despite this, Fairbarn warned that the party’s desire for “state control” will “drag our economy down.”
The full manifesto can be found here.