Labour’s Manifesto: Nationalisation, Huge Spending Increases and a Jobs-First Brexit

Ten Key Pledges

  • Nationalisation of water, energy, railways and the Royal Mail

  • Raising the minimum wage to £10 per hour by 2020

  • A 45p tax for those earning more than £80,000 and a 50p rate on earnings over £123,000 ​

  • Pledging to remain with the EU until a free trade deal can be negotiated

  • Replacing Council Tax with a land value tax

  • An increase in corporation tax from 19% to 26% by 2020 Reintroduction of lower rate for small business

  • A new National Education Service; £6bn investment for schools

  • Abolition Tuition Fees and reinstatement of the maintenance grant

  • £30bn investment in the NHS and scrapping the pay cap

  • Banning Zero hours contracts.

Economy

“We will upgrade our economy, breaking down the barriers that hold too many of us back, and tackling the gender pay gap. Our National Transformation Fund will deliver the investment that every part of Britain needs to meet its potential, overcoming years of neglect. Our industrial strategy will support businesses to create new, high- skilled, high-paid and secure work across the country, in the sectors of the future such as renewables. We will stop our financial system being rigged for the few, turning the power of finance to work for the public good. And we will put small businesses at the centre of our economic strategy.”

Taxation

“We will not ask ordinary households to pay more. A Labour government will guarantee no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year, and no increases in personal National Insurance Contributions or the rate of VAT.”

Industry

“Britain can only be stronger if every nation and region is given the resources and support to succeed. Only a Labour government with a credible industrial strategy can reach this untapped potential and deliver prosperity to every corner of our country, working with devolved administrations.”

Brexit

“We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union – which are essential for maintaining industries, jobs and businesses in Britain. Labour will always put jobs and the economy first.”

“A Labour government will immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in EU countries. EU nationals do not just contribute to our society: they are part of our society. And they should not be used as bargaining chips.

A Conservative Brexit will weaken workers’ rights, deregulate the economy, slash corporate taxes, sideline Parliament and democratic accountability, and cut Britain o from our closest allies and most important trading partners.”

“Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. We will reject ‘no deal’ as a viable option and if needs be negotiate transitional arrangements to avoid a cliff-edge’ for the economy.”

Education

“At a time when working lives and the skills our economy needs are changing rapidly, governments have the responsibility to make lifelong learning a reality by giving everyone the opportunity to access education throughout their lives.

 To meet this responsibility, Labour will create a uni ed National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use. The NES will be built on the principle that ‘Every Child – and Adult – Matters’ and will incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to adult education.”

Housing

“Labour will invest to build over a million new homes. By the end of the next Parliament we will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely a ordable rent or sale.

Labour will establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis and to ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few. Labour’s new housing ministry will be tasked with improving the number, standards and affordability of homes. We will overhaul the Homes and Communities agency to be Labour’s housing delivery body, and give councils new powers to build the homes local communities need.”

“We will make the building of new homes, including council homes, a priority through our National Transformation und, as part of a joined-up industrial and skills strategy that ensures a vibrant construction sector with a skilled workforce and rights at work.”

Health and Social care

“We will guarantee and uphold the standards of service to which patients are legally entitled under the NHS constitution. By guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks, we will take one million people off NHS waiting lists by the end of the next Parliament. We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours. By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy, and we will end mixed-sex wards.”

“The Conservatives’ cuts have led to £4.6 billion lost from social care budgets, despite rising demand. Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. Care in the community has become a cover for unseen neglect.

In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.”

Analysis

It would not be quite right to describe this manifesto as a gamble. Labour do not stand much chance of winning this election - or even increasing the number of seats they hold. However, this was the manifesto that Labour members hoped for when they elected Jeremy Corbyn as their leader.

The headlines will read of £48bn of public sector investment and tax increases: the IFS have already said that Labour’s plans would increase taxation levels to their highest levels for 70 years.

Asked by Nick Robinson on Radio 4 whether this massive spending increase represented a return to the 1970s, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell defended it as necessary. He was, however, unable to cost Labour’s nationalisation plans. The promised “fully-costed” pledges have not materialised. This will seriously weaken their ability to argue their case.

This is not a cautious document but that does not necessarily mean it is a radical document. The new National Education Service, designed in the image of the NHS to offer cradle to grave free education, was heavily trailed in Corbyn’s leadership election campaigns, and the importance of housing demonstrated by the creation of a new Ministry for Housing. They have avoided setting any migration targets but instead offer “reasonable management” of migration levels but pledge the end of free movement when Britain leaves the EU. Perhaps their boldest policy was the suggested new land value tax that would make sure local taxation kept pace with house price rises.

As Labour rolled out its policies before Theresa May called the election, there was some suggestion that all Corbyn was offering was warmed-up Milibandism. This document puts that claim to rest: Corbyn’s Labour wants to see a massive increase in the role of the state.

Opinion polls have shown individual policies are popular, or even that Labour has nudged up by a few percentage points in the last few weeks.

Even the CBI welcomed some of Labour’s proposals. Labour supporters will be smiling but so will the Tories. What will voters make of the whole programme?

Not so much clear blue water but a wide red ocean.

More about the author

About the author

Educated at Durham University and UCL, Graham is Disclaimer's editor and a regular contributor. He has written for numerous publications including Tribune, Out Magazine and Vice. He has also contributed to two books of political counterfactuals for Biteback Media, Prime Minister Boris (2011) and Prime Minister Corbyn (2016).

A democratic republican lefty, he struggles daily with the conflict between his ingrained senses of idealism and pragmatism.

Follow Graham on Twitter.

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