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‘End rip-off Britain’

Labour will tackle skyrocketing cost of living, saving families £6700 each year
Hajera Blagg, Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

A future Labour government will tackle the skyrocketing cost of living with a package of fully-costed measures that will save families on average nearly £7,000 each year.


In a pledge to “end rip-off Britain”, Labour published a analysis on Wednesday (December 5) detailing how its policies will lift living standards for millions of people, including through substantial savings on rail, utilities, childcare, and other necessities whose costs have spiralled out of control in the last decade.


Labour estimates that families would each year save £364 on broadband, £108 on prescription charges, and £437 on free school meals by providing all of these services universally free. By nationalising key public goods, households will save £2,194 each year on a pair of season rail tickets, £113 each year on their water bill and £559 on an annual dual-fuel energy bill.


For families with children, a future Labour government would significantly expand childcare by offering 30 free hours each week – a pledge that will save households nearly £3,000 each year.


Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell announced how the party in government would raise living standards in a speech on Wednesday (December 5).


In addition to the £6,700 a year on average households will save on the cost of living under Labour, McDonnell highlighted how an immediate hike of the minimum wage to £10 an hour would put an additional £6,000 more in the pockets of more than 7m people.


The shadow chancellor explained how millions more would benefit from other Labour policies that will boost wages across the board.


“For public sector workers, it’s a boost of 5 per cent in the first year of a Labour Government,” he said. “For others, it’s bringing in trade union bargaining across the economy, to raise wages everywhere. Ending bogus self-employment and investing across the UK in good, sustainable jobs in the industries of the future. A high-wage society is the building block of our vision for a better, more inclusive economy.”


Addressing critics who have said Labour’s plans are unaffordable, McDonnell pointed out that every single one of the party’s policies have been fully costed.


“Of course these things need to be paid for,” he said. “In the Labour Party we know that: our members and supporters are the people who provide the care, who look after our young people, and who dispense those prescriptions. Of course they need paying for. But we believe in a fair society, we don’t leave them to the market so those with the most can afford them while others can’t.


“That’s why Labour has a fair approach to tax: raising income tax rates for the top 5% while closing loopholes and taxing income from wealth the same as that from work.”


He challenged voters to reject the Conservative consensus that a radical transformation of the economy, so that it works better for ordinary people, is not possible.


“It’s understandable that confidence in the potential for a better future has been damaged by a Conservative political narrative that has undermined the hope that things can change,” he said. “That’s why for those of us, who believe that real change is not only necessary but readily achievable, we need to spell out in detail how concretely, step by step that change can be brought about.


“We have done that, through our Manifesto and our Grey Book,” McDonnell added. “And I’ll be saying even more about that theme in the days ahead. So that before polling day people will know not just what we want to achieve.  But also just how we are going to achieve it.”


Unite general secretary Len McCluskey hailed Labour’s latest analysis of the significant material difference a Labour government would make to the lives of millions of ordinary households.


“It’s clear through these commitments that only Labour will tackle poverty and inequality, only Labour will end the scandal of people depending on foodbanks to survive, only Labour will lift children and pensioners out of poverty, and only Labour will transform our economy so that it actually works for the many and not just the few.”


“Only Labour is on the side of working people. Unite members, come home to Labour.”


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