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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
# uk election
'Radical' or 'nonsensical'? Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto takes aim at high-earners
A rise in UK corporation tax and no hard border with the North: Labour’s manifesto is good news for Ireland.

General Election 2017 Danny Lawson / PA Images Danny Lawson / PA Images / PA Images

BRITAIN’S LABOUR PARTY has pledged to raise taxes on the well-off, renationalise key industries and end austerity in its manifesto released this morning, presenting voters with a stark choice in next month’s election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the programme “radical and responsible”, saying the country had been run “for the rich, the elite and the vested interests” in seven years of Conservative government.

“It will change our country,” he said in his speech at the presentation of the manifesto in Bradford in northwest England.

“It will lead us through Brexit while putting the preservation of jobs first,” he said, appearing in front of Labour’s election manifesto: “For the many, not the few.”

Corbyn promised a Labour government would immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens in Britain and during Brexit negotiations would aim to maintain access to the European single market.

The manifesto also says there should be no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

What’s in the manifesto?

General Election 2017 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

The manifesto included a tax increase from 40% to 45% for salaries of between £80,000 (€94,000) and £123,0000 a year, above which there will be a new 50% top rate of income tax.

The current 40% tax rate applies to people earning between £45,000 and £150,000.

Labour has said the rise would fund increased investment in the state-run National Health Service (NHS) and would only affect 5% of earners.

There are also plans to introduce maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and companies bidding for public contracts and ban zero-hour contracts.

The party also plans a levy on businesses with staff earning large salaries over £330,000.

Other aspects of the Labour manifesto include:

  • Renationalise the railways, water companies and part of the energy sector
  • Scrap university tuition fees, a pledge met with huge cheers from supporters gathered to hear him speak at Bradford University
  • Increase corporation tax to 26% by 2020
  • Build more than one million new homes, including at least 100,000 public homes a year. Cap rent rises and ban letting agency fees
  • Recruit 10,000 more police officers, 3,000 more prison officers, 3,000 new firefighters and 500 more border guards

General Election 2017 Isabel Infantes / PA Images Jeremy Corbyn glances at his colleague Diane Abbott. Isabel Infantes / PA Images / PA Images

  • On Scotland, oppose a second referendum on independence, as called for by the nationalist government in Edinburgh
  • Support the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent, but work with international partners towards a nuclear-free world
  • Immediately recognise the state of Palestine
  • Introduce four new public holidays.

Such changes are among the measures to boost the state coffers by the £48.6 billion needed to meet the commitments outlined in the Labour manifesto.

Talk the talk

“It’s a programme that will reverse our national priorities to put the interests of the many first,” Corbyn said.

This is a programme of hope. The Tory campaign, by contrast, is built on one word: fear.

General Election 2017 PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

The director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, said Labour’s tax changes would mark a significant shift.

“Tax burden already heading upwards. If Labour could raise the £49bn it claims we would have highest tax burden in 70 years,” he wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives immediately slammed the plan as “nonsensical” and not properly costed.

“It’s ordinary working people who will pay for the chaos of Corbyn,” Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke said in a statement.

The Conservatives currently have a double-digit lead over Labour in opinion polls.

© – AFP 2017

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