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Wednesday, 17 May 2017
‘Today we set out to transform Britain’ says Corbyn
AT THE party’s manifesto launch in Bradford yesterday Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Today we set out a vision to transform Britain for the 21st century.
‘This manifesto is the first draft of a better future for the people of our country. A blueprint of what Britain could be and a pledge of the difference a Labour government can make.’ He said that ‘a programme that is radical and responsible’ will ‘put the interests of the many first’ and ‘change our country while managing within our means.’
Highlighting ‘just a few of our key pledges’ he said: ‘We are ruling out rises on VAT and National Insurance and on income tax for all but the richest 5% of high earners. Labour will boost the wages of 5.7 million people earning less than the living wage to £10 an hour by 2020.
‘Labour will end the cuts in the National Health Service to deliver safe staffing levels and reduce waiting lists. Labour will scrap tuition fees, lifting the debt cloud from hundreds of thousands of young people. Labour will move towards universal childcare expanding free provision for two, three and four year-olds in the next Parliament.
‘Labour is guaranteeing the triple lock to protect pensioners’ incomes. And we will build over a million new homes, at least half for social rent. Labour makes no apology for offering new protections to people at work, including ending the scandal of zero-hours contracts. Or for finding the resources to hire 10,000 new police officers and 3,000 new firefighters. And we will do the smaller things that still make a real difference – like ending hospital car parking charges or introducing four extra bank holidays a year.’
He went on to add: ‘Labour will set up a National Investment Bank and regional development banks to finance growth and good jobs in all parts of the UK through major capital projects. Labour will invest in our young people through a National Education Service focussed on childcare, schools and skills, giving them the capacity to make a productive contribution to tomorrow’s economy.
‘Labour will take our railways back into public ownership, to put the passenger first. We will take back control of our country’s water by bringing it into regional public ownership. And we will take a public stake in the energy sector to help keep fuel prices down and ensure a balanced and green energy policy for the future.’
On Brexit he pledged: ‘As we leave the European Union, because that is what the people have voted for, only Labour will negotiate a deal that preserves jobs and access to the single market, preserves rights and does not plunge our country into a race to the bottom.’
He insisted: ‘All this is costed, as the documents accompanying our manifesto make clear. Our revenue-raising plans ensure we can embark on this ambitious programme without jeopardising our national finances. We are asking the better-off and the big corporations to pay a little bit more – and, of course, to stop dodging their tax obligations in the first place.’
The manifesto states: ‘Our manifesto is fully costed, with all current spending paid for out of taxation or redirected revenue streams. Our public services must rest on the foundation of sound finances. Labour will therefore set the target of eliminating the government’s deficit on day-to-day spending within five years.’
It adds: ‘Labour will transform how our financial system operates. Following the successful example of Germany and the Nordic countries, we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power . . .
‘Labour will overhaul the regulation of our financial system, putting in place a firm ring-fence between investment and retail banking that will protect consumers . . . In government, Labour would give more people a stake – and a say – in our economy by doubling the size of the co-operative sector and introducing a “right to own” making employees the buyer of first refusal when the company they work for is up for sale. We will act to “insource” our public and local council services as preferred providers.’
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