Corbyn launches ‘exciting and ambitious’ programme for the future of Britain (and guess what? We can afford it)
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn officially launched the party’s progressive and fully costed manifesto yesterday — receiving praise all round.
Proposals include increasing public investment, a higher national minimum wage, ending the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap, limiting salaries of the highest-paid private and public-sector bosses, and higher taxation on the very wealthy.
Spending totalling £48.6 billion would fund the party’s priorities that include pumping £6bn a year into schools, investing £7bn in the NHS and social care, scrapping tuition fees, and free primary school lunches for all children.
Policies would be funded by increasing taxes on corporations from 19 to 26 per cent by 2021 and individuals earning more than £80,000 a year, to raise the almost £50bn that is needed.
Other revenue-raising plans include a “Robin Hood tax” extension of stamp duty on to derivatives, designed to bring in £5.6bn, and the imposition of VAT on private school fees to raise £1.6bn for free-school meals.
In addition, £250bn would be borrowed over the span of a decade to generate £500bn for infrastructure.
This is to build “a fairer, more prosperous society for the many, not the few,” Mr Corbyn said.
The manifesto commits to a fiscal credibility rule, requiring a Labour government to eliminate the deficit on day-to-day spending within five years and ensure that debt is lower at the end of the next parliament.
Launching the manifesto in Bradford following its leak to the press last week, Mr Corbyn added: “This is a programme of hope. The Tory campaign by contrast is built on one word — fear.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady hailed the package as “an impressive set of pledges.”
She added: “Their commitments to improve workers’ rights and drive up wages would make a real difference to millions of workers … Banning zero-hours contracts would give nearly a million workers the certainty and security they deserve.”
GMB southern region secretary Paul Maloney said members welcomed the move to nationalise water providers.
He added: “The water industry, like gas and electricity, is a natural monopoly. No amount of tinkering with competitive market-oriented models can work in a natural monopoly and should be in public hands.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that it would do other parties well to “take a leaf out of Labour’s book.”
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack welcomed commitments to recruit at least 3,000 new front-line firefighters.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This is an exciting, ambitious vision for a big-hearted, inclusive Britain.”
When Morning Star reporter Peter Lazenby questioned Jeremy Corbyn at the launch over the “shocking bias” shown by the media in Britain, he said that media “diversity” was essential to democracy.
Mr Corbyn praised the courage of journalists in some countries who risked their lives by exposing corruption and criticising dictatorships.
“Free journalists and a free press are intrinsic to a democratic society,” he said.
He said there should be a “multiplicity of ownership” of the media.
“We will protect the diversity of the free press and ensure there is diversity,” he said.
Britain’s national daily newspapers have sales of about nine million a day.
Most titles are owned by five billionaires, including Rupert Murdoch.