Tax and spend: UK Labour Party releases its election pledges

Jeremy Corbyn

UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn pledged to raise taxes on businesses and the wealthy to pour more money into health, education and infrastructure.

The election manifesto for the main opposition party published yesterday confirmed many of the promises in a leaked draft last week. It promises 37 billion pounds (USD48 billion) of funding for the National Health Service, the abolition of university tuition fees, and the establishment of a National Investment Bank to lend 250 billion pounds over the next decade.

Labour plans to raise 48.6 billion pounds from taxation to pay for the extra spending. There will be an increase in income taxes on those earning more than 80,000 pounds a year – and another one on earnings over 123,000 pounds – a hike by a third on corporation tax and a new levy on companies paying staff more than 330,000 pounds a year.

On June 8, voters will be electing a new government almost a year after a slim majority of the country chose to pull Britain out of the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap vote, citing the need to strengthen her hand for Brexit talks, and polls show her Conservatives handing Labour its worst defeat since at least 1983.

A slew of nationalizations in the rail, water and energy industries capped Labour’s pitch with Corbyn offering a “radical and responsible” plan to contrast with May’s oft-repeated selling point of “strong and stable” leadership.

The party said it accepts last year’s referendum result for Britain to withdraw from the EU but it would scrap May’s negotiating position, prioritizing continued access to the single market and customs union.

Labour would immediately guarantee the rights of some 3 million EU citizens living in Britain, rather than making that contingent on a reciprocal guarantee for Britons abroad. It also drew a line under its vacillation over immigration, saying it accepts that the free movement of EU nationals to Britain would end after Brexit. Bloomberg

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