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EVERY home in Britain will receive free and fast internet service under a Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn pledged today, vowing to clamp down on corporate “tax tricks” by creating a national broadband service.
Speaking at Lancaster University, the party leader said he would establish a free, fast and reliable internet connection for all houses and businesses within the next decade if he wins December’s general election.
The next Labour government would also seek to bring parts of BT, which is responsible for the “superfast” fibre broadband internet, into public ownership under the name British Broadband.
Mr Corbyn argued that the move would improve quality of life for millions of people across the country, as well as strengthening national security.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said implementation of the policy would require a one-off £20 billion cash injection and would be funded by government commitments and an extra £15.3 billion from a green transformation fund.
The costs of buying the parts of BT — including Openreach, which runs the existing internet network — would be arranged by Parliament and paid for by exchanging bonds for shares.
Mr Corbyn promised that the costs would not be paid by taxpayers, who have “already forked out far too much for rip-off broadband.”
He added: “A Labour government will close down tax tricks used by giants like Google and Facebook, who make millions in this country while paying next to nothing to the public services which they benefit from.”
Labour’s proposals were criticised by BT chief executive Philip Jansen, who said the cost of establishing such a service would be far closer to £100 billion.
However, Mr McDonnell hit back, pointing out that Labour’s figures had come from the government’s own digital infrastructure review.
The shadow chancellor also took aim at major tech companies for non-payment of taxes, saying: “They think they can get away with not paying their share. Well, I’ve got news for them — not anymore.”
Following Labour’s announcement, shares in BT plummeted by nearly 4 per cent and telecommunications group TalkTalk suspended the sale of one of its businesses.
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