The public were urged to vote for “hope” today (21 November), as Jeremy Corbyn launched a Labour manifesto that would transform the country with an “investment blitz” coupled with higher taxes for big business and the super-rich.
Speaking at Birmingham City University to a crowd of students and Labour activists, Corbyn said the manifesto is “full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation”.
Corbyn added, “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.”
Unite welcomed the manifesto as a “fantastic offer from Labour to the electorate”.
The manifesto is centred on the need to invest in public services, infrastructure, jobs and industry as well as making the top five per cent of earners and corporations pay their fair share.
As well as placing mail, rail, bus and utility services back under public control, Labour would nationalise broadband, provide free prescriptions and dental checks and abolish hospital parking charges.
Public sector pay would increase by 5 per cent next year, in order to rebalance the 1 per cent wage cap that has been enforced over the last few years, while Labour will also build 150,000 more council houses a year and a 1,000 new Sure Start centres.
Funding – fully costed and explained in Labour’s “grey book” published alongside the manifesto – will come from £82.9bn a year levied through tax increases and reforms targeting corporations and the top five per cent of earners.
Anyone earning under £80,000 a year will not be affected, Corbyn said.
He said: “You can have this plan for real change, because you don’t need money to buy it. You just need a vote.”
An £11bn “just transition fund” – to shift the UK onto a green economy and retrain workers in industries that will be impacted so jobs are not lost – will also be created through the taxation of big oil and gas firms.
Corbyn said, “We can no longer deny the climate emergency. We can see it all around us, as the recent floods in Yorkshire and the east Midlands have shown.
“We have no time to waste. The crisis demands swift action, but it isn’t right to load the costs of the climate emergency on to the nurse, the builder or the energy worker.”
Commenting on the manifesto, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, “This is a fantastic offer from Labour to the electorate. I urge all Unite members and the general public to listen to what Labour is saying.
“When Labour wins nurses win, teachers win, manufacturing workers win, car workers win, young people win and pensioners win. When Labour wins, we all win. Come home to Labour.”