Scottish Daily Mail

Corbyn’s La La Land manifesto

He wants to blow £500bn on plan for ‘21st-century Socialism’

- By James Slack and Jason Groves

JEREMY Corbyn unveiled his blueprint for ‘21st-century socialism’ yesterday with plans for a debt binge and a £9billion hike in business taxes.

Setting out his hard-Left manifesto, the Labour leader pledged to splurge £500billion on a new investment fund and allow Town Halls to borrow billions.

Employers would be clobbered with a corporatio­n tax increase of up to 1.5 per cent to bankroll a ‘national education service’ and re-instate generous grants for students.

Mr Corbyn also pledged to weaken the sanctions regime that sees the jobless lose some of their state handouts if they refuse to take steps to find work.

And on immigratio­n, he refused to put any limit on the numbers pouring in – despite admitting there is pressure on public services.

At the party’s conference, Mr Corbyn told cheering delegates his mission was to deliver ‘municipal socialism for the 21st century, as an engine of local growth and developmen­t’.

But his speech was immediatel­y labelled ‘a prospectus for poverty, unemployme­nt, debt and recession’ – with business leaders warning it would take the country backwards.

Simon Walker, of the Institute of Directors, said: ‘The basic question is, how will he pay for these mammoth spending plans?’

Speaking four days after being re-elected leader, Mr Corbyn told Labour MPs they had

‘Harebraine­d policies that have caused misery’

to end the ‘trench warfare’ in their ranks and work together.

But he set out a manifesto likely to cause alarm among moderate MPs already worried about the party’s lack of economic credibilit­y.

Saying the ‘so-called free market system’ had ‘produced grotesque inequality’, he warned businesses he would jack up corporatio­n tax in order to ‘give an education maintenanc­e allowance to college students and grants to university students so that every young learner can afford to support themselves as they develop skills and get qualificat­ions’.

Mr Corbyn promised a £160million ‘arts pupil premium’ to give children access to music, drama and dance.

And he pledged to lift borrowing restrictio­ns on councils so they could fund housebuild­ing.

This could allow local authoritie­s to borrow billions against their existing housing stock.

The leader also announced a ‘national investment bank’ with £500billion to spend on broadband, railways and housing.

In a speech littered with references to ‘solidarity’ and ‘socialism’, he said: ‘This is the deal Labour will offer to business. To help pay for a national education service, we will ask you pay a little more in tax.’

On foreign policy, he again apologised for the war in Iraq and pledged to end the sales of arms to Saudi Arabia. He also accused the Government of ‘bringing division back’ with plans to allow new grammar schools. But Josh Hardie, of the CBI, which represents businesses across the UK, said ‘artificial­ly hiking wages and changing corporatio­n tax could be investment dampeners, not drivers’ and risked taking Britain backwards.

The Tories said Mr Corbyn’s pledge to build 1million homes – half of them council houses – would cost £13.2billion, while a scheme to re-nationalis­e the railways would hit taxpayers with a £9.3billion bill.

And a pledge for more work rights for the self-employed, such as maternity and paternity pay, would cost as much as £2.2billion a year.

A commitment to spend 3 per cent of GDP on research and developmen­t would cost £26.5billion.

Tory Party chairman Patrick McLoughlin MP said: ‘They would spend, borrow and tax even more than they did last time, support unlimited immigratio­n, and cannot be trusted to keep our country safe.’

Labour’s own former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said the £500billion investment fund would mean an ‘awful lot of either borrowing or extra taxation’. He said: ‘In order to raise it you’d have to double income tax. You’d have to double National Insurance. You’d have to double council tax. And you’d have to double VAT as well’.

Earlier, Mr Corbyn admitted he did not know the cost of borrowing £500billion to fund his national investment bank, but insisted it would be good value.

He told the BBC: ‘The cost is being looked at – the exact cost is being worked out.’

John O’Connell, of the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said: ‘This was a prospectus for poverty, unemployme­nt, debt and recession. It beggars belief that Corbyn wants to pile up the bills for future generation­s of taxpayers even further. These aren’t new ideas, just the same harebraine­d policies that have caused misery wherever they’ve been tried.’

The speech capped a shambolic week for Labour, in which his deputy Tom Watson and London mayor Sadiq Khan warned publicly that Labour would lose if he continued to drag the party further to the Left.

Labour faced fresh turmoil last night with a string of desertions from Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham announced he was quitting the Shadow Cabinet to focus on his bid to become Manchester mayor, while culture spokesman Kelvin Hopkins revealed he had told Mr Corbyn he wants to quit. And communicat­ions director Seumas Milne is reported to be on the verge of returning to The Guardian newspaper.

AS if more proof were needed, yesterday the Labour leader showed himself wholly out of touch – both with his party’s core voters and any semblance of economic reality. In the EU referendum, constituen­ts in seven out of ten Labour-held seats voted for Brexit, with most listing unrestrict­ed migration at the top of their concerns.

But Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t care. Like Tony Blair before him, he made clear he is ‘relaxed’ about migrants, even suggesting the more, the merrier. How’s that for a slap in the face for Labour’s heartlands?

Yes, as this paper has always acknowledg­ed, many migrants make a valuable contributi­on to our country. But the fact remains that millions of the party’s traditiona­l supporters have deep and legitimate worries about the impact on school places, hospital beds, housing, transport, jobs, wages and national identity.

Yet in response, Mr Corbyn rejects controls, muttering that the solution is to ‘harmonise wages’ across Europe – an idea so economical­ly illiterate that it would cause pandemic unemployme­nt in lowwage countries, while forcing down living standards everywhere else.

Meanwhile, he promises to dip into a bottomless bucket of fantasy money to provide tens of millions for a ‘migrant impact fund’ to help areas most affected. Indeed, in Mr Corbyn’s la-la land, there will be no limit to the cash at his disposal: £500billion for a National Investment Bank… a multi-million splurge on state-sponsored research and developmen­t… heaven knows how much more for nationalis­ing the railways, student grants, housing, expanding welfare and increasing the living wage.

As for where these extra billions are to come from, he says only, ‘We will ask you to pay a little more tax’! Otherwise, he will simply borrow, while also allowing councils to run up unlimited debts.

Has nobody told him Britain is already £1.5trillion in the red, paying £43billion a year just to service our loans? Concluding his speech, he quoted the poet Langston Hughes: ‘I see that my own hands can make the world that’s in my mind.’

Heaven help every man, woman and child in Britain if he gets the chance to try to turn his fantasy world into reality.

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