Labour manifesto leak: Renationalise rail, buses, energy and Royal Mail

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour is poised to pledge to re-nationalise energy companies, railways and the Royal Mail in its most left-wing election manifesto in a generation, reports Sky News.

Leaked drafts of the manifesto also reveal Jeremy Corbyn is committed to achieving a “nuclear-free world” and “extremely cautious” about using Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

And in a pledge that will be attacked by Tory ministers, the manifesto says the Labour leader will only send the armed forces into combat if “all other options have been exhausted”.

The manifesto also says Mr Corbyn will scrap tuition fees, rule out a “no deal” Brexit and refuse to set a migration target, but keep Trident despite Mr Corbyn’s personal opposition to its renewal.

The leak came on the eve of a meeting to agree the manifesto to be attended by Labour’s national executive, shadow cabinet, policy forum, trade union leaders and backbench committee of MPs.

The proposals, already being dismissed by critics as a return to the 1970s, include:

  • A pledge to nationalise energy firms, railways, bus firms and Royal Mail
  • Income tax increases for those earning more than £80,000 a year
  • Ensuring 60% of the UK’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2030
  • Companies with government contracts would only be allowed to pay their highest earner 20 times more than the lowest
  • Fines for businesses that pay their staff high wages and a business levy on profits

The draft manifesto, which runs to 43 pages, also contains promises of £6bn-a-year extra for the NHS and £1.6bn-a-year for social care.

University tuition fees will be abolished entirely and town halls ordered to build 100,000 new council houses a year under a new Department for Housing.

Thousands of homes will be offered to rough sleepers and private rent hikes capped at inflation.

A new Ministry of Labour will oversee the biggest boost to workers’ rights in decades, while planned hikes to the pension age beyond 66 will not go ahead.

It also contains measures already announced including £5bn to end “Tory schools cuts”, 10,000 extra police officers and a £250bn capital investment programme to upgrade British infrastructure.

Despite the big spending pledges, the manifesto includes a commitment to get rid of the deficit and balance Britain’s day-to-day budget by the end of the next Parliament.

The extra spending will be almost entirely funded by new taxes for big corporations and rich individuals, the manifesto suggests.

The manifesto will delight Labour left-wingers who have spent decades calling for the party to be more radical, but critics are bound to compare it to the Michael Foot manifesto of 1983, notoriously dismissed by the late Gerald Kaufman as “the longest suicide note in history”.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn told Sky News: “We do not comment on leaks. We will announce our policies in our manifesto, which is our plan to transform Britain for the many, not the few.”

Labour’s election co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne told Sky News the party should turn the leak into an “opportunity”.

He said: “It gives us an opportunity to point to a vision of a different kind of Britain, a fairer Britain, a more equal Britain, a Britain on the side of the many, not the few.”

Pressed on whether the party’s commitments would mean more borrowing, Mr Gwynne said he would not “spell out chapter and verse as to how we are going to fund everything” ahead of the official launch.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told Sky News: “If you look at Labour’s manifesto, it takes us back to the past, things that have failed before – nationalisation, excessive borrowing.

“We’ll be setting out in our manifesto a plan for the future – negotiating a successful Brexit from the European Union and building a stronger, fairer Britain with the stable leadership that Theresa May offers.”

For the Liberal Democrats, Tom Brake said: “This manifesto became meaningless the day Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to vote with the Conservatives and UKIP to give Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit.

“Labour supporters should have hope that someone will stand up to Theresa May’s divisive Brexit deal, but it won’t be Jeremy Corbyn.”