Britain’s Opposition Labour party today officially released its general election manifesto, days after a leaked draft of the document has made headlines about the party’s widespread re-nationalisation plans. Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn described the party’s pledges as a “radical and responsible” plan for a Labour-led government, should it be voted in on June 8. While the Conservative Party dismissed the plans as unrealistic as the “sums don’t add up”, the Labour Party claimed it will offer the electorate a strong alternative to the Theresa May led government’s “fear-based” election campaign.
“People want a country run for the many not the few. For the last seven years, our people have lived through the opposite, a Britain run for the rich, the elite and the vested interests. Labour’s mission, over the next five years, is to change all that,” Corbyn said at the launch at Bradford University today. “It’s a programme that will reverse our national priorities to put the interests of the many first. It will change our country while managing within our means,” he said. The party claims its plans will raise an extra 6.4 billion pounds from income tax as the rate would be increased for people earning over 80,000 pounds, with a new 50p rate for those on more than 123,000 pounds.
Labour said the total extra tax take, which also includes corporation tax rises and a crackdown on tax avoidance, would be 48.6 billion pounds. The party’s manifesto includes plans for an “excessive pay levy” on salaries above 330,000 pounds, more hours of free childcare and the nationalisation of railways, Royal Mail and England’s water companies. The water industry had been sold off in 1989 by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. Under Labour plans, it would be taken back into public ownership to cut water bills. The party also plans on increasing corporation tax by 19 per cent to 26 per cent, a so-called “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions to benefit the poor and asking the top 5 per cent of high earners to pay more to fund its multi- billion-pound spending commitments on health, education and policing.
Companies paying staff more than 330,000 pounds will pay a 2.5 per cent surcharge while salaries above 500,000 pounds will be charged at 5 per cent, in an attempt to discourage firms from paying excessive salaries and widening the pay gap. The Conservative Party said UK taxpayers would have to foot the bill for Labour’s unfunded spending commitments. “Jeremy Corbyn’s economic ideas are nonsensical. It is clear that Labour would have to raise taxes dramatically because his sums don’t add up,” UK Treasury Minister David Gauke said.
The manifesto is an attempt to win back voters as a new survey indicated the ruling Tories were making inroads in Labour’s heartlands in the north of Britain, following the collapse of the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP). The latest YouGov survey on which way people are likely to vote on June 8 shows that the Tories are now more popular in nearly every region of the UK than they were in the 2015 general election.
The Tories polled 33 per cent at the last election but are now on 43 per cent while Labour polled 39 per cent two years ago, dropping to 38 per cent now. Meanwhile, Labour support has fallen in every region apart from the South West and South East where the party has always done poorly. Support for the Liberal Democrats is also up overall.