By Daniel J. McLaughlin
For politicos, it was like the morning of their birthday or Christmas day. After shaking their presents, guessing its shape and size, and having a sneak peek the night before, they had to practice their most convincing look of surprise - feigning shock as Labour launched their manifesto. Since the leak last week, politicos knew the 'what' - it's the 'how' they have been waiting for.
Labour's manifesto, 'For The Many, Not The Few', is estimated to cost £48.6 billion to implement, if Jeremy Corbyn is given the keys to Number 10 after the general election. The children (and young people) are the future with the party promising to spend £11.2 billion on removing tuition fees and restoring maintenance grants; £6.3 billion on schools; £5.3 billion on pre-school; and £2.5 billion on free FE tuition, equalising 16-19 funding, and restoring EMA.
A Labour government will also spend £5 billion on healthcare and £2.1 billion on social care. To raise the funds for their promises, the largest sum will come from changes to corporation tax which will raise £19.4 billion, the Huffington Post reports. While the Tories want to reduce the corporation tax from 19 per cent to 17 per cent by 2020, Labour want to raise the tax by 26 per cent in three years.
They also want to raise a further £6.4 billion by reintroducing the 50p tax rate for those earning £123,000 a year and introducing a 45p rate for those taking home more than £80,000.
Like your aunties all buying you the same combination of "socks, jocks and chocs" for Christmas, they have all been to the same shop again and bought you the same gift: nationalisation. Labour want to fund the nationalisation of rail, energy, the Royal Mail, and water companies; the latter, they claim, will reduce household bills by £100 a year.
The bike shaped gift covered in wrapping paper upon being opened, however, actually turned out not to be a bicycle after all. The Telegraph highlights the changes from the leaked draft to final manifesto: on Trident, both copies mentioned Labour's support of the renewal of the nuclear deterrent, but it has since removed the original suggestion that Prime Minister Corbyn would be “extremely cautious” about using Trident.
The manifesto also removes the suggestion that Labour would reverse the Tories' cuts to Universal Credit and tax credits, instead looking to "reform and redesign UC". On immigration, they make clear a Labour government will not scapegoat immigrants for economic failures. From draft to publication, they have "tried to ratchet up its position on immigration", stating it will end free movement following Brexit.
With 22 days to go until the general election, will the Labour manifesto be the party's gift to the electorate, or is it a fanciful wish list?