LONDON - Although weekends may be restful for some, Labour’s campaign machine showed no sign of slowing down as they launched their innovative and forward-thinking youth manifesto whilst criticising The Conservatives’ ‘manifesto for billionaires.’ Labour continue to gain in the polls whilst both the Lib Dems and Brexit Party are struggling.
Hitting Fat Cats Hard
Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights Laura Pidcock demonstrated that they are not afraid to tackle corporate targets, launching their ‘fair tax’ programme outside an Amazon warehouse in Yorkshire, on Saturday.
Labour has pledged to tackle tax dodging by introducing unitary taxation of multinationals to stop tax-avoiding profit shifting from place to place. The measure will bring in an additional £6.3bn by 2023-24. Money that can be taken from tax dodgers and used to invest in a more equal society.
The bold package of measures includes:
- Clamping down on the enablers of tax dodging
- Increasing HMRC targeted audits
- Establishing an inquiry into the finance sector
- Introducing a 20% Offshore Company Property Levy, on top of existing stamp duties and surcharges
- Scrapping non-dom status
- Requiring greater scrutiny of MPs tax affairs.
In comments issued ahead of the visit, Corbyn said:
“Huge multinational companies often act as if the rules we all live by don’t apply to them. They use loopholes to claim they don’t owe tax and cynically push their workers to the limit. I don’t want to live in a country of a few billionaires and millions of stressed people, worried about making ends meet every month.”
Jon Trickett solidified that Labour are the party of the people by calling on the Conservative Party to immediately publish full details of meetings held between its super-rich backers and senior government ministers.
Jeremy Corbyn continued by launching Labour’s youth manifesto; The Future is Ours – in Loughborough. The document commits the party to giving 16-year-olds the right to vote, and to investing an additional £250m to build up to 500 new youth centres. Labour has announced an additional £1bn in annual expenditure for youth services, twenty times the £50 million previously announced by the government. This will build a properly funded, professionally staffed National Youth Service, and will guarantee every young person has access to local, high-quality youth support.
Tory policies have made life hard for young people, there are surging housing prices, stagnating wages, rising student debt, escalating knife crime and a deepening mental health crisis. The Tories have also failed to take meaningful action against the climate emergency, leading to greater uncertainty and fear for young people.
In Labour’s youth manifesto the party has pledged to tackle intergenerational inequality and deliver real change for young people. The manifesto outlines radical steps to ensure that every young person has the support they need to fulfil their potential and feel secure in their future.
Labour’s commitment to improving the lives of young people was echoed by Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, who when responding to an NEU report that shows teachers are seeing a 62 per cent increase in child poverty since 2015, said:
“This is yet more shocking evidence that an entire generation of children are paying the price for Conservative cuts.
“Children cannot learn properly when they are hungry. Shamefully it is our schools and teachers that are being left to deal with the consequences of these cuts, while the Tories have looked after the wealthiest.
“Labour will make tackling child poverty the priority it should be, giving all primary school pupils a free healthy meal every day, introducing a real living wage of at least £10 per hour, and transforming our social security system so that it is there for everyone who needs it.”
Investment in the future was highlighted again today when Corbyn promised £1bn of new investments in the arts and committed to put this support at “the heart of Government.” Labour’s ‘Arts for All’ policy charter sets out a comprehensive programme of support for Britain’s arts and culture sector, promising to radically expand access and increase funding for the arts. It is being supported by Emeli Sandé, Mark Rylance, Lily Allen, MIA, Clean Bandit and Ken Loach at its launch.
Building on their key values of fairness and decency, Labour’s radical stance towards immigration was praised by Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, who said:
“What I would say is different about Jeremy [Corbyn] – and myself as home secretary – is we want to talk about values,” she said. “Because it flows from your values, actually, if you hold them genuinely, what sort of immigration system that you have.”
Labour has pledged to abolish existing rules that mean the partner of a British resident can face deportation if they fail to meet an income threshold.
Serious questions over undeclared electoral interference were raised today. The Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) distributed leaflets on Friday, in an apparent attempt to turn voters in the London constituency of Walthamstow against the pro-choice Stella Creasy, who is standing for re-election.
The anti-abortion group are under investigation by the police for harassment towards Creasy, who is due to give birth next week. Creasy said the development raised serious questions over undeclared electoral interference and has sent the leaflet to the local returning officer. She said: “CBR UK have never registered themselves as a political campaigning organisation but are clearly trying to influence an election.”
On Sunday the Conservative Party finally launched their manifesto. Corbyn dubbed it a “manifesto for billionaires” stating: “Boris Johnson has launched a manifesto for billionaires. They bought it and you’ll pay for it.
“After a decade of the Conservatives cutting our NHS, police and schools, all Boris Johnson is offering is more of the same: more cuts, more failure, and years more of Brexit uncertainty.
“Boris Johnson can’t be trusted. Older people face a triple whammy as he has failed to protect free TV licences for over 75s, refused to grant justice to women unfairly affected by the increase in the state pension age, and not offered a plan or extra money to fix the social care crisis.
“In contrast, Labour’s manifesto is full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation.
“Labour will deliver the real change Britain needs, so that no one is held back and no community left behind.”
The flaws in the disastrous manifesto were pointed out by others in Labour with Andrew Gwynne calling it a “a no-hope manifesto, from a party that has nothing to offer the country.” The Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Tom Watson, also criticised the manifesto. Commenting on the confirmation that the Tories won’t save free TV licences for over-75s, he said:
“This is a complete betrayal by the Conservatives. Last election they promised over 75s that they would keep their free TV licence. Now we know the truth – under the Conservatives, millions of older people, many of whom are housebound and live alone, are going to lose out. Only a Labour government will protect older people and save free TV licences.”
Demonstrating this commitment to protecting pensioners, Labour today pledged compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories. Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, announced that Labour are offering pay-outs of up to £31,000, with an average payment of £15,000.
David Cameron’s coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women’s state pension age to 65 in November 2018 – followed by 66 in October 2020. McDonnell said the pay-outs were a “historic debt of honour” to the women.
The Conservatives continued their track record of half-truths and lies about the NHS by pledging to recruit 50,000 nurses. It later emerged that 19,000 of them would be ‘retained’ staff and 12,000 would be from overseas. The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “The Conservatives’ claim on nurses is frankly deceitful – the sums simply don’t add up. First, we had Johnson’s fake 40 new hospitals, now we have his fake 50,000 extra nurses.”
For the Many Not the Few
The weekend’s events show that the Labour juggernaut is not slowing down. The current campaign is a positive, forward thinking programme of initiatives that will reverse the damage caused by austerity. The next Labour government will undo the current government’s failings; tackling fat cat tax dodgers and using the reclaimed funds to invest in Britain’s future.
The turnout for the election is set to be high, benefiting the Labour Party, following a push to gain new voters. On 22 November 308,000 thousand people registered to vote. Corbyn said:
“Yesterday Labour got behind National Voter Registration Day – unlike the Conservatives – because we want you to have a say in the future of our country.”
More from the campaign trail tomorrow.
(Written by Kirsty-Anne Jasper, edited by Michael O'Sullivan)