Today, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party officially released their 2017 Manifesto. A manifesto, in many ways, designed to woo the disenfranchised youth of today.
Whether you agree with it or not, Labour’s new manifesto is probably the most radical of its kind since Thatcher liberated the markets and private capital in the 1980s … or, more similarly, 1945’s Attlee-led Labour government took war-ravaged Britain into the golden era of social democracy with the creation of the National Health Service and nationalisation of key public utilities and industry.
Regardless, today’s manifesto is a true political revolution.
‘The centre cannot hold’ writes Yeats in The Second Coming, almost like prophecy, as the Thatcher-lite, neoliberal Blairism of the last two decades — hatched within the Labour Party like one of the parasitic creatures from Alien Covenant — is well and truly swept away by a set of policies firmly committed to social democracy and, dare I say… even socialism.
Of course, many aspects of the manifesto aren’t actually that ‘radical’ — despite what the mainstream media will want you to believe.
The so-called ‘political centre’ has been pushed so far to the right in this country that the idea of running our own railways, or adopting the same tax laws as Germany and California, is seen as communist!
But enough yapping. What are some of the manifesto’s key policy pledges and what does it mean for young people?
- The NHS will get an extra £6 billion a year in funding, raised via new taxes on the nation’s top 5 per cent of earners. This will, presumably, give the NHS the ability to tackle the growing ‘mental health crisis‘ sweeping the nation.
- Free parking will be rolled out at all NHS hospitals in England.
- Access to NHS treatment will be guaranteed within 18 weeks.
- Access to A&E treatment will be guaranteed within 4 hours.
- NHS privatisation will be ‘reversed’ and the 2012 NHS and Social Care Act (privatising aspects of the NHS) repealed.
- A £250 million a year fund for children’s health will be introduced — with suggested measures including a ban on junk food adverts before 9 pm to tackle growing obesity and health issues.
TAX & BUSINESS:
- The 45p income tax threshold will be lowered from earnings of £150,000 to £80,000 a year (the top 5 per cent of earners).
- A separate 50p band will be introduced on earnings of £123,000 and over.
- The other 95 per cent of earners in this country will see NO national insurance, income tax or VAT rises.
- Small businesses will be offered new support, including loans from regional development banks that will help young, ambitious entrepreneurs start their own businesses.
- University tuition fees will be completely scrapped. All adult education, as in Scotland, will be FREE.
- Maintenance grants for university students will return.
- Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-to-18-year-olds will also return.
- The 1 per cent pay cap on teachers will be lifted.
- Free school meals will be offered to all primary school children, funded via charging VAT on private school fees.
WORK & INFRASTRUCTURE:
- The railways will be renationalised and the 1993 Railways Act (that privatised the network) repealed.
- The water industry will be nationalised.
- Royal Mail will be taken back into public ownership to reverse the ‘historic mistake’ made by the Tories.
- Rip-off energy industry will have some element of nationalisation with new publicly-owned firms set up in every region of the country to keep prices down.
- An immediate energy bills price cap will stop household costs rising above £1,000 a year.
- Zero-hour contracts will be banned.
- Unpaid internships will be banned.
- Four new bank holidays will be introduced.
- 4,000 new homes for people with a history of rough sleeping will be provided.
- Rent hikes will be capped at inflation and more secure three-year tenancies offered.
- 100,000 new council homes will be built every year for affordable housing prices; something that is bound to help young people get on the housing ladder.
- £30-a-week cuts to disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be reversed.
- The benefit sanctions regime will be scrapped.
- The Bedroom Tax will be scrapped.
- Housing benefit for under-22s will be reinstated.
- The ‘rape clause’ denying benefits to women with a third child unless they can prove the sex was non-consensual, will be scrapped.
COMMUNITY & TECHNOLOGY:
- A ‘Post Bank’ to be introduced in every community, owned by the Post Office, offering reliable banking services to that local community.
- Superfast broadband has been promised in every home by 2022.
- Free public wi-fi in city centres and on public transport.
- Fracking will be banned.
- Trident will be renewed — despite Corbyn’s personal and much-publicised opposition to nuclear weapons.
- Britain will meet the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence.
- 10,000 extra police officers on our streets.
- 3,000 extra prison officers in our prisons.
- The controversial Prevent counter-terror programme will be subjected to a full review to stop it ‘alienating minority communities’.
- Freedom of movement will end when Britain leaves the European Union.
- Bosses who try to undercut wages using migrant workers will face a crackdown.
- The rights of EU citizens living in this country will be guaranteed.
There are many more policies within the manifesto itself — as well as how they will be delivered (costings). You can read the full manifesto here.
Do not forget to get yourself on the Electoral Register to cast your ballot. You have until the 22nd of May to sign up.