JEREMY CORBYN has vowed to take on ‘vested interests’ in society as he set out a ‘radical’ programme to invest in public services, tackle climate change and re-nationalise key utilities.
Launching Labour’s General Election manifesto in Birmingham, Mr Corbyn said they were offering an agenda for ‘real change’ with policies the ‘political establishment’ had blocked for a generation.
The 105-page document set out plans for what the party said was the ‘largest-scale investment programme in modern times’ to fund the jobs and industries of the future.
It includes a ‘green industrial revolution’ to tackle climate change with a shift to renewables and creating a million jobs; bringing back rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership and delivering full-fibre broadband free to everyone in the country; providing additional funding for the NHS and reversing a decade of cuts for the police; getting Brexit ‘sorted’ within six months, giving the public the final say in a referendum.
Mr Corbyn said: ‘This manifesto is the most radical and ambitious plan to transform our country in decades.
‘In an election offering a once-in-a-generation chance of real change we can end privatisation and rescue our NHS.
‘We can get Brexit sorted and bring our country together.
‘We can tackle the climate emergency that threatens us all. And we can rewrite the rules of our economy to work for the many, not the few.’
In a combative performance, the Labour leader acknowledged that their plans would put them at odds with ‘the bankers, billionaires and the establishment’.
‘They know we will deliver our plans, which is why they want to stop us being elected,’ he said.
‘They know we will go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters so that everybody in our country gets a fair chance in life.
‘That’s why they throw everything they’ve got at us. Because they’re scared of real change. Because they aren’t on your side.’
The manifesto said a Labour government would ‘re-write the rules of the economy’ by taxing ‘those at the top’ to properly fund public services.
It would reverse cuts to public sector pay with above-inflation pay rises year-on-year, paid for by an increase in taxes for those earning more than £80,000 while freezing rates for everyone else.
Labour is pledging to embark on a council and social housing ‘revolution’ by constructing up to 150,000 homes a year in what the party says is the biggest building programme in decades.
On climate change, the manifesto stops short of a commitment to make the economy carbon neutral by 2030 as the party conference had called for.
Instead it promises a ‘green new deal’ which would aim to achieve ‘the substantial majority of our emissions’ reductions by 2030.
The manifesto also stops short of supporting continued freedom of movement if the country were to vote again for Brexit in a referendum.
If the UK does leave the EU, it says future policy would be ‘subject to negotiations’ while recognising the social and economic benefits free movement had brought.
For the Tories, home office minister Brandon Lewis said the manifesto showed that Mr Corbyn had no plan for Brexit.
‘Without a plan to get Brexit done he has no credibility on anything else,’ he said.
‘A Labour government would mean unlimited and uncontrolled immigration putting pressure on our public services and a reckless spending spree which would take a sledgehammer to the British economy and cost every taxpayer £2,400 a year.’