Labour today (May 16) launched its manifesto to widespread acclaim as the party pledged to reverse seven years of failed austerity, invest in infrastructure and public services, and rebalance the economy to raise living standards and create shared prosperity for all.
Launching the manifesto in Bradford today, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed those millions across Britain “under pressure, struggling to make ends meet”.
“Our manifesto is for you,” he said. “Parents worrying about the prospects for their children and anxious about the growing needs of their own elderly parents; young people struggling to find a secure job and despairing of ever getting a home of their own; children growing up in poverty; students leaving college burdened with debt; workers who have gone years without a real pay rise coping with stretched family budgets. Labour’s mission, over the next five years, is to change all that.”
Each of Labour’s policies today – including raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020, boosting funding for the NHS and social care, ending tuition fees, offering 30 hours of free childcare for two to four-year-olds, committing to retaining the triple lock on pensions and building 100,000 new council homes, among other measures – were fully funded by a programme of modest tax increases for the top 5 per cent of earners, corporation tax hikes and tax avoidance reform.
Decent jobs, homes, healthcare
Decent jobs, homes, schools and healthcare for all was the cornerstone of Labour’s new vision.
Banning zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships; repealing the Trade Union Act and rolling out collective bargaining; and giving all workers equal rights from day one, whether they were full- or part-time, temporary or permanent, were among the plans Labour put forward to improve the standard of work in a country blighted by job insecurity.
“Labour makes no apology for offering new protections to people at work, including ending the scandal of zero-hour contracts,” Corbyn said.
The party’s pledge to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020 and abolish the lower wage rate for under 25s will boost pay for 5.7m people, while lifting the public sector pay cap will see an end to nurses and other public servants being forced to go to food banks after years of falling wages.
Years of Tory austerity which has slashed public services we all depend and benefit from, such as the NHS, policing, libraries, youth centres and bin collection, will be reversed, empowering local communities to once again flourish.
Corbyn slammed the Tories failed record on investment – and he laid out an ambitious plan to “unlock the country’s potential”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He also promised a better future for consumers with pledges to bring back into public ownership Britain’s railways and water, while taking a public stake in the energy sector to keep bills and train fares down.
‘Offering real change’
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey today (May 16) hailed Labour’s manifesto.
“What Labour is doing today is what Labour does best – offering real change for the many in this country,” he said. “Labour will invest in our people and build a Britain that we can all be proud of.
“For those who want to see our children given a chance, to see that work really pays, that our elderly and vulnerable are no longer degraded by government policy, then the answer is to vote Labour.
“For too long, working people have been at the sharp end of Conservative cuts and disastrous economic mismanagement – and they will be again if that party takes power on June 8.
“The reality of Conservative rule is that for those not protected by power and wealth, life gets tougher,” McCluskey warned.
“In every aspect of life – from an affordable home to a safe NHS, from a decent education for all our kids to a living wage and a decent job – the story of the Tory party is that our communities suffer.
“The Labour party will put a halt to this. Under Labour, working people and their communities will stand tall again.”
Read the manifesto in full here.