Jeremy Corbyn was accused of taking a ‘sledgehammer to the UK economy’ today as he unveiled a massive £83billion manifesto splurge funded by hikes to death duties, ‘supertaxes’ on higher earners, and milking businesses.
The Labour leader vowed to overhaul the ‘political establishment’ as he set out his vision for a ‘radical and ambitious’ lurch to the hard Left – with the middle classes set to bear the brunt of the socialist assault.
Labour’s tax plans in full: Massive hikes on the wealthy and big business
Labour is proposing sweeping changes to the UK’s tax system in order to fund its massive day-to-day spending plans.
Here is a breakdown of the party’s own calculations setting out how much money each change would generate.
Inheritance tax: The manifesto does not spell out exactly what that means, but the threshold for couples paying 40 per cent death duties was raised from £660,000 to £1million in 2015. Prior to the coalition government it was £325,000.
It means those who own property – particularly in the South East – are almost certain to be caught by the duty.
Income Tax: Labour would lower the threshold for paying the 45p additional rate from £150,000 to £80,000. A new ‘Super-rich rate’ of 50p would be introduced for those earning more than £125,000. Amount raised: £5.4bn
Corporation Tax: Reverse cuts to corporation tax to make small profits rate 21 per cent and the main rate 26 per cent. The main rate is currently 19 per cent. Amount raised: £23.7bn
Taxing the wealthy: Labour said it would tax income from wealth more ‘equitably and efficiently’. It has pledged to tax capital gains at the same rates as income tax. Currently if you are a higher or additional rate taxpayer you pay 28 per cent on gains from the sale of residential property. Under Labour that would increase to at least 40 per cent. It would apply the same principle to taxing dividends. Amount raised: £14bn
Financial Transactions Tax: Extend stamp duty reserve duty on trades made in the City. Amount raised: £8.8bn
Tackling tax avoidance: Labour has pledged to launch the ‘biggest ever crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion’ through the introduction of a Fair Tax Programme. Amount raised: £6.2bn
Miscellaneous: Reverse inheritance tax cuts and levy on banks, impose VAT on private school fees, scrap the Married Persons Allowance and introduce a second homes tax. Amount raised: £5.2bn
Total amount raised through tax changes: £82.9bn
The party claims its hikes in day-to-day spending – the running costs of services – amount to £83billion a year, although critics say that is a low estimate.
But that figure is dwarfed by the proposals for an escalation in capital outlay – adding to the country’s long-term debt pile – which look to total more than £500billion.
Mr Corbyn insisted that his massive agenda can be financed by hiking taxes solely for the top 5 per cent of earners and big companies. An £11billion one-off windfall tax is being levied on oil firms.
However, the costings for the manifesto make clear the party will raise billions of pounds by ‘reversing’ inheritance tax cuts brought in under the Tories.
It does not spell out exactly what that means, but the threshold for couples paying 40 per cent death duties was raised from £660,000 to £1million in 2015.
Prior to the coalition government it was £325,000.
It means those who own property – particularly in the South East – are almost certain to be caught by the duty.
Marriage tax allowance, which is worth £250 a year and can only be claimed by people on less than £50,000, is also set to be scrapped.
Those earning more than £80,000 will be subject to a new ‘additional’ tax rate of 45p in the pound – while incomes over £125,000 will be subject to a 50p rate.
VAT will also be added to private school fees – although the party has backed off a policy of banning them altogether.
Mr Corbyn vowed to spend £75billion on new council houses, as well bringing swathes of the economy back into state ownership.
Huge chunks of BT will be nationalised to provide free broadband for everyone, a move experts says would cost £100billion by itself. Labour insists it wants to introduce a four-day working week, as well as bolstering the powers of unions.
In another controversial measure, the manifesto commits Labour to ‘protecting’ EU freedom of movement rights whether or not the country leaves the bloc.
And again Mr Corbyn flatly refused to say whether he would back Leave or Remain in a referendum on a new deal with the EU that he has pledged to negotiate.
The Tories said the blueprint showed Labour had ‘no credible plan’ for Brexit, would allow ‘unlimited and uncontrolled immigration’ and ‘take a sledgehammer to the British economy’.
The shadow cabinet posed with copies of the manifesto – a red book emblazoned with the message ‘It’s Time for Real Change’ – as they arrived at Birmingham University this morning.
There was a small protest outside the venue over Mr Corbyn’s handling of the wave of vile anti-Semitism wracking Labour.
The announcements come as polls suggest Labour is still trailing a long way behind the Tories with just three weeks to go until the election.
Labour frontbenchers told MailOnline it has been ‘hard pounding’ canvassing on the doorstep in Leave-leaning Northern constituencies – where Boris Johnson is hoping to make inroads.
A YouGov survey has suggested there is also significant scepticism about the party’s ability to deliver on its bold promises, with just 13 per cent saying they believe the four-day working week will happen.
The Labour leader delivered the call for a lurch to the hard Left as he bids to kick-start his stuttering campaign by launching the ‘radical and ambitious’ programme
Labour leader vowed to overhaul the ‘political establishment’ as he set out his vision for a ‘radical and ambitious’ lurch to the hard Left
Mr Corbyn compared himself to post-war US president Franklin Roosevelt – saying he is ready to be attacked by the rich and powerful to bring about ‘real change’
The housing announcement was a key plank of the most Left-wing Labour manifesto since Michael Foot’s ‘suicide note’ of 1983.
Mr Corbyn’s policy plans include:
- Nationalising huge chunks of BT – and potentially Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky – to provide free broadband in a move experts believe will cost over £100billion. Rail companies, the Royal Mail, water firms, and the power grid would also be brought into public ownership.
- A massive increase in trade union power, including a return to collective bargaining, Workers will have to make up at least a third of the board on companies;
- Plans to snatch shares from big firms and crack down on excessive executive pay, with a £350,000 cap on salaries for top executives at firms with public sector contracts
- Higher taxes for almost two million people earning more than £80,000 a year, and a windfall tax on oil firms;
- A renegotiation of the Brexit deal, which would be put to a second referendum within six months – against the option of Remain. But Mr Corbyn has dodged saying whether he would back his own deal in that national ballot.
In extraordinary scenes at the launch, Mr Corbyn had to stop Labour activists booing the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg as she tried to ask a question.
Mr Corbyn also faced a grilling over whether he was ‘patriotic’ after decades condemning the actions of the British state – including opposing the Falklands War and inviting IRA terrorists to Parliament after the Brighton Bombing.
‘Yes I do support this country,’ Mr Corbyn said. ‘I am patriotic about this country, I am patriotic about the people of this country.’
He compared himself to post-war US president Franklin Roosevelt – saying he is ready to be attacked by the rich and powerful to bring about ‘real change’.
The centrepiece of Mr Corbyn’s ‘class-war’ election blueprint was the largest council housebuilding programme since the days of Clement Attlee just after the Second World War.
The ‘housing revolution’ will fund the construction of 100,000 council houses a year within five years, together with another 50,000 affordable homes for rent.
Labour’s free-spending election policies
Rail companies, Royal Mail and utilities including energy supply networks and water to be brought back into public ownership. The CBI estimates this would cost £196billion, although Labour disputes the figure. Labour also wants to effectively nationalise broadband, which experts have suggested could cost another £100billion.
Introduce an average 32-hour working week within 10 years with no loss to workers’ pay. The Tories claim this will ‘cripple’ the NHS because of the cost of employing extra staff. Voters are sceptical it can be delivered. |It also plans the ‘rapid’ introduction of a living wage of at least £10 an hour for workers aged 16 or over, plus repeal of ‘anti-trade union’ legislation.
Big businesses face an ‘excessive pay levy’ for executives and companies must hand 10 per cent of their shares to workers over 10 years. Labour will also impose a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to raise £11 billion.
Top 5 per cent of earners to pay more to fund public services. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says this would affect up to 1.9million people and could even cost the Treasury £1billion a year if high earners cut their pre-tax income. Reverse inheritance tax cuts introduced by George Osborne, introduce a tax on second homes and hike corporation tax to 26 per cent by 2022.
Broker a new deal with Brussels within three months to keep UK in customs union and with access to the single market, then hold a second referendum by next summer. A No Deal Brexit would not be allowed. Jeremy Corbyn has refused to say if he would back Leave or Remain in any new referendum.
Labour’s annual conference backed a motion vowing to ‘maintain and extend’ freedom of movement of people. But the manifesto says that FoM would only automatically happen if the referendum backed Remain. If the UK voted leave again it would be ‘subject to negotiations’, but EU nationals would have the automatic right to continue living and working in the UK.
An extra £26billion to rebuild hospitals and improve patient care, and make NHS dental check-ups free, something the British Dental Association says will cost £450million a year. EU workers, ‘other migrants and refugees’ would also be able to access it for free.
University tuition fees scrapped and every adult offered six years of free study with the return of maintenance grants at a net cost of £7.2billion. Private schools forced to charge VAT on their fees. But a conference motion demanding the party close all non-state schools was not included in the manifesto.
Major building programme to construct 150,000 council and social homes a year in England within half a decade using £75billion of borrowing over five years.
Billions of pounds to upgrade every home to be energy efficient, plus £3 billion to invest in new electric car models and technology. Labour will seek to make the economy carbon neutral by an as-yet unknown date.
Scrap the government’s flagship Universal Credit scheme and has promised a £3billion emergency bailout of the system in the short term. It would be replaced with ‘an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect’ via a ‘guaranteed minimum standard of living. The so-called ‘bedroom tax’ would be axed and maternity and paternity rights would be extended, all at a cost of £8.4billion.
Free personal care to the over-65s to help with daily tasks such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and washing. The King’s Fund has estimated free personal care could cost £6billion a year in 2020/21.
Introduce votes for ‘all UK residents’ – including foreign nationals – and lower the voting age to 16. Plus a system of ‘automatic voter registration’. There would be an extra £5billion of funding for councils, on top of social care spending.
They would remain free for people aged 75 and over, at a cost of £750million.
But the proposals have raised alarm about concreting over acres of green belt, while the respected IFS think-tank warned that it would merely prevent new homes being built in the private sector.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner conceded this morning that there are not currently enough skilled workers to build the homes – but she dismissed the idea that it could not happen in the next Parliament.
She also insisted it ‘doesn’t matter’ that Mr Corbyn is refusing to say whether he wants the UK to leave the EU or not.
On free movement, the manifesto states: ‘If we remain in the EU, freedom of movement would continue.
‘If we leave, it will be subject to negotiations, but we recognise the social and economic benefits that free movement has brought both in terms of EU citizens here and UK citizens abroad – and we will seek to protect those rights.
‘In accordance with our values and domestic laws, we will uphold the right to a family life for British, EU and non-EU residents alike.
‘We will end the deportation of family members of people entitled to be here and end the minimum income requirements which separate families.’
Labour is also announcing it will axe the right-to-buy policy that helps tenants buy their council houses at a discount.
Launching his manifesto in Birmingham, Mr Corbyn said he accepts ‘the hostility of the rich and powerful is inevitable’ because Labour is ‘on your side’.
‘They know we will deliver our plans, which is why they want to stop us being elected,’ he will say. ‘This is a manifesto of hope.
‘A manifesto that will bring real change. A manifesto full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation. So I accept the implacable opposition and hostility of the rich and powerful is inevitable.
‘I accept the opposition of the billionaires because we will make those at the top pay their fair share of tax to help fund world-class public services for you. That’s real change.’
He added: ‘You can trust us to do all this because we’re opposed by the vested interests for standing up for a different kind of society. We’ll deliver real change for the many, and not the few.’
Labour’s housebuilding programme will be paid for with funding from a new ‘social transformation fund’. Labour says the new homes will be built to the highest design and environmental standards.
Housing spokesman John Healey said: ‘The next Labour government will kick-start a housing revolution, with the biggest investment in new council and social homes this country has seen for decades.
‘Labour’s transformational housing plans will mean thousands more genuinely affordable homes for people on ordinary incomes in every area of the country.’
The Tories said the last Labour government had ‘decimated’ social housing.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘Under the Conservatives we’ve delivered 450,000 affordable homes, increased housing supply to its highest level for almost 30 years and increased housebuilding by 93 per cent in the last six years.
‘We’ve committed £9billion to deliver a further quarter of a million more affordable new homes whilst continuing to build more homes.’
Ms Rayner said it ‘doesn’t matter’ whether Mr Corbyn would support Leave or Remain in another referendum.
Pushed on which side Mr Corbyn would support, she said: ‘Well, I can’t tell you what’s in the manifesto.’
Ms Rayner added: ‘Jeremy stands on the side of the people.’ She continued: ‘That’s the important thing, it’s that people understand that we’re respecting that they have the final say.
‘It doesn’t matter what Jeremy Corbyn votes or not, it matters what he’s going to do for the country, and he’s going to make sure that he delivers for the people of this country and they get the say.’
Dr Kristian Niemietz, of the right-leaning Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘There is no specific shortage of social housing in the UK, rather a shortage of inexpensive housing in all forms.
‘Parties should reform our planning system and make sensible tax changes, which would strengthen incentives for local authorities to permit development.’
Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said: ‘Labour’s plan would be transformational for housing.
‘A pledge to build social homes at this scale would, if implemented, do more than any other single measure to end the housing emergency.’
Security minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘The publication of Labour’s manifesto has just confirmed what we already knew, Jeremy Corbyn simply doesn’t have a plan for Brexit. And without a plan to get Brexit done he has no credibility on anything else.
‘Corbyn’s Labour can’t win a majority, so his only chance of getting into power is to do a deal with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.
‘That would mean that 2020 would be lost to the chaos of another two referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
‘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.’
Jeremy Corbyn pictured arriving for the Labour manifesto launch on his battle bus in Birmingham today
Labour is trying to kick-start its stuttering campaign by unveiling the ‘radical and ambitious’ hard-Left programme
Labour pledges house building ‘revolution’ as Jeremy Corbyn promises to build 150,000 new council and social homes every year
A Labour government would build up to 150,000 new council and social houses every year as part of a proposed construction ‘revolution’, Jeremy Corbyn announced today.
If implemented the plan would represent the largest council house-building programme since the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.
Labour has insisted the ambitious building plans are ‘absolutely deliverable’ but the Tories insisted Mr Corbyn could not be trusted on the issue.
The council and social housing building programme would be paid for using half of a proposed £150 billion ‘social transformation fund’ of borrowed cash over a five year period.
Labour is proposing to build 100,000 council homes a year by the end of its first parliament, which it has claimed would represent an increase of more than 3,500% compared with what is currently happening under the Tories.
Official housing statistics have shown more than one million households are on waiting lists for council housing.
Meanwhile, a further 50,000 ‘genuinely affordable homes’ would be built each year through housing associations by the end of the same period.
Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in Birmingham at Labour’s manifesto launch today, has promised to build 150,000 social and council houses a year if he wins power on December 12
The building programme will only take place in England, with housing being a devolved matter for governments across the UK.
Mr Corbyn said: ‘Housing should be for the many, not a speculation opportunity for dodgy landlords and the wealthy few.
‘I am determined to create a society where working-class communities and young people have access to affordable, good-quality council and social homes.’
Tory Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick defended the Conservatives’ track-record on house building and said: ‘Under the Conservatives we’ve delivered 450,000 new affordable homes, increased housing supply to its highest level for almost 30 years and increased house-building by 93% in the last six years.
‘After the last Labour government decimated social housing numbers we know there is more to do.’
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said this morning that the pledge to build 100,000 council houses a year by 2024 is ‘absolutely deliverable’.
Labour’s £100bn broadband nationalisation plot that poses risks to the pension pots of millions of workers
Labour has unveiled plans to nationalise broadband services to ensure everyone has access to high-speed connections for work and lesiure.
The highly controversial plan to take over the Openreach web division of BT would be funded by punitive taxes on online tech giants.
But critics warned that the scheme could cost as much as £100billion and put at risk the pension pots of millions of workers.
Labour insists it will cost £20billion, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying last week rollout would begin with communities that have the worst access.
They would be followed by towns and smaller centres, and then by areas that are currently well served.
And he even suggested that smaller broadband providers – Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk – could be nationalised.
Mr McDonnell said: ‘British Broadband will not represent a return to the 1970s in how it operates. They didn’t have broadband in the 1970s, this is public ownership for the future.’
The highly controversial plan to take over the Openreach web division of BT announced by Jeremy Corbyn would be funded by punitive taxes on online tech giants
Labour insists it will cost £20billion the rollout beginning with communities that have the worst access
Afterwards provider Talk Talk put the sale of its full-fibre broadband business on hold.
Boris Johnson described the plans as ‘crackpot’ and derided it as a ‘crazed communist scheme’.
After the Labour announcement, £715million was wiped off the value of BT at one stage.
BT chief executive Philip Jansen told the BBC that Labour’s plans were ‘very, very ambitious’ and challenged the party’s figures.
‘It needs funding, it is very big numbers, so we are talking £30 billion to £40 billion, and if you are giving it away over an eight-year time frame it is a another £30 billion or £40 billion. You are not short of £100 billion.’