What is the political character of the manifesto, and what does it’s leak mean
NO ONE knows who leaked of the UK Labour manifesto last night (10 May), but it has revealed a manifesto which bucks the trend of party policy since the 1980’s.
Leaked simultaneously to several media outlets including the Telegraph, the Mirror and the BBC, figures close to leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn are blaming his opponents on the right of the party.
Regardless of the circumstances of its leak, it is a radical departure from decades of neo-liberal policies which focus on the importance of the private sector in producing wealth and on restricting the size and influence of the state in economic and social life.
Taken together, the policies represent an attempt to reverse decades of growing inequality between the wealthy and the working class majority of the UK population.
This involves raising taxes on the largest companies and bringing essential parts of the economy like energy and transport under greater public control.
Critics maintain that the policies will expand public debt and scare away job and wealth producing corporations. Advocates argue that the neo-liberal model has only undermined most people’s living standards and weakened the economy, while making the UK less socially just.
The manifesto that was leaked was a draft, and it is expected to be amended and costed before it’s official launch in coming days.
CommonSpace looks at the headline policies from the leaked draft Labour manifesto
Economy: A 250bn investment in infrastructure, based on borrowing. A £10 per hour minimum wage
The Conservatives are likely to attack these polices for growing public debt. Labour say infrastructure spending is necessary so the economy can grow its way out of debt.
Taxation: Labour wants to raise corporation tax from 19 to 26 per cent, and increase income taxes for earners of more than £80,000.
The Conservatives say this will scare business and higher earners away from the UK economy and disincentivise business. Proponents point out that even with these rises the UK would have low taxes. Leading global economies like the US and Germany have far higher corporation taxes, as did Thatcher when she left office.
Nationalisation: Bring rail back into public ownership. Local socially owned energy companies, and public control of some parts of the energy industry.
Opponents will argue this is expensive and inefficient compared to private ownership. Labour thinkers argue that these are natural monopolies (where the market has eliminated competition) and that many countries have public ownership in these areas.
Education: Spend £25bn to establish a national education system. Phase out university tuition fees introduced under the last government.
Criticism will likely focus on the costs. Labour argues that education will improve the productivity of the workforce and social mobility.
Housing: Build 100,000 houses per year, including thousands of houses and other accommodation offered to the homeless.
Constitution: Oppose Scottish independence. Respect the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum, but with a parliamentary vote on the final deal, unilateral right to remain for EU citizens and a plan to retain membership of the single market.
This may prove the most controversial part of the manifesto for voters on the left, as in Scotland many support independence and across the UK some want to remain in the EU.
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