Let the rich pay for society: Breakdown and Scrutinisation of Labour’s 2017 Manifesto

Over the upcoming few weeks, politics will dominate the media and we the consumer will become saturated by facts, figures and a whole load of soon-to-be false promises from all parties. As each party releases their manifesto, I will be analysing, scrutinising and breaking them down, questioning every point they make and playing devils advocate to try and find the truth and hidden lies.

 

3adKV8CCLabour Leader: Jeremy Corbyn – “For the many, not the few.” 

Summary: Labour have short term goals and want to spend. They are interested in ‘cure not prevention’ with wanting to fix present problems, instead of finding the reasons behind the problems, and putting measures in place to prevent them from happening in the future. Funding: tax the very rich to pay for everything in society!


Key Policies:

Economy

Extra tax, in total £48.6bn – £6.4bn from income tax from the top 5% – to help fund the public services

According to Gov.uk the overall budget for the NHS for 2016/17 was around £120.4 billion set to rise to £133.1 billion by 2020/21.

Extra £19.4bn from corporation tax, £6.5bn from tax avoidance programme

Income tax rate 45p on earnings of £80,000 and above – and 50p to be reintroduced on earnings above £123,000

Currently those earning £80,000 have over £25,000 of their yearly earnings taken off them, with Labour suggesting to increase the income tax to 45p. It is dream-able to earn £80,000 or more, you may have your own business, or a really successful job that you have had to work hard for and make sacrifices, to then have so much of it taken away. Why can’t there be more of an equal income tax rate across the pay brackets? So everyone is taxed more or less the same amount, regardless of wages everyone pays in? 

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Boost wages of 5.7m people earning less than minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020

So by “protecting small businesses by reintroducing the lower small profits rate of corporation tax and excluding them from costly plans to introduce quarterly reporting and take action on late payments” you in turn expect them to pay their staff £10 an hour?

Will we see businesses no longer offering time and a half, double time on bank holidays or night time premium if the basic wage is £10 an hour? What purpose will the national living wage then have? 


Workers Rights 

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An end to zero-hours contracts to guarantee workers a “number of hours each week”

Having worked in several jobs with zero-hour contracts, for high school students and university students, zero-hour contracts are personally the best to have for those in education, no commitment to having to work a certain amount of hours when you have exams. 

Introduce four extra public holidays each year to mark national patron saints’ days.

Have you told all the companies and business across the UK that they are expected to pay an increased bank holiday premium wage for all their staff and allow them to take another day(s) off? 

Legislate to ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when one workforce is used against another.

This will hopefully close the gap in divide between nationalities in the UK and this common myth that “foreigners are taking our jobs.” There are plenty of jobs out there, just depends if you are willing to do the work. 

Ban unpaid internships

Good idea, I am currently on an all-unpaid internship and I am managing only because I have a part-time job and still in education. Unpaid internships are unfair, and can promote exploitation, setting the standard of what a job requires on no pay. 

 

Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent.

Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies.

There is already Shared Paternal Leave in place – where the father/spouse can take some of the maternity leave from the mother to extend theirs? Although it is a nice idea that Labour has suggested. 


Education

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Reintroduce maintenance grants for university students and abolish university tuition fees.

Firstly not everyone should be encouraged to go to university as if it is the only option to be successful in life. I don’t need a journalism degree to be a journalist and I agree with Labour that “no one should be put off educating themselves for lack of money or through fear of debt” but I categorically disagree that all “education should be free.” 

Who is going to pay for the maintenance grants?  And who is then going to pay for the new developments, buildings, software, equipment, bus services, lecturers, funding of the universities if we scrap tuition fees? 

Instead: all university fees should be equal across all governments, eg. Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, no abolition, but a significant decrease in the price of tuition fees, because specialist education needs to be paid for! There also needs to be financial support for those taking Masters and Post-graduate courses too!

Decrease in wages for the hierarchal staff that run the universities – with university vice-chancellors receiving an average salary package of £277,834 in the last academic year according to the University and College Union. 

If maintenance grants were to be brought back – they need to be strict and rigorous in checking the details and criteria for those that get the different pay brackets. It is unfair for students those with higher income parents to get the lower amount of grant and have it expected for their parents to subsidies them whilst those from lower income backgrounds are living the highlife off £7,000 a year. 

Extend schools-based counselling to all schools to improve children’s mental health, at a cost of £90 million per year.

Nice idea – what age bracket of schools will be seeing this funding for counselling? Important for high schools especially. Can we not see mental health and social well-being lessons going on the curriculum as well?

Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds.

Point blank no – children should not be paid to be encouraged to go to school! From witnessing several people be given this money – which is meant to be used for buying school essentials, like books, transport to and from, school uniform – I know a few people who spent it on TV’s, holidays – unessential items. Why not give EMA in the form of vouchers, for school books and uniform etc? 

Overhaul existing childcare system and extend 30 hours of free childcare to all two year olds

Good idea – how are we going to pay for the 30hour free childcare? Are you then going to be encouraging the parent(s) to get back into work? 

Class-Size-Matters-1-zk3e4ePromise to reduce class sizes to “less than 30” for five, six, and seven-year-olds

Not necessarily an issue regarding younger children – perhaps focus on those doing GCSE’s in high school  and reducing class sizes along with creating a better system for the different levels of ability – tailor classes to the needs of the students and abilities. 

Free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees

Wait your saying that “education should be free” but your charging those who choose and pay to send their children to private schools, and through taxing them you want to pay for primary children’s school lunches? Proposing VAT tax on private school fees, means you’re no where near “restoring your principle” and achieving your aim of “education should be free.” 

As the Lidl advert promotes (other supermarkets are available) it can only cost £3.37 per child per week (5 days) for lunch for a child that a parent has to pay for, not really breaking the bank?! If you can’t afford to sustainably and long-term feed your children, think twice before having them!


Public Services

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We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours.

I wouldn’t like to witness the backlash of tweets that Corbyn could receive if he gets into government and someone waits 4 hours and 1 minute in A&E! It is all good suggesting this idea, but patients are put into a category of priority and unfortunately if there are people needing immediate care eg. a car crash victim compared to you with your broken toe, then you could be waiting more than 4 hours – but don’t complain because it is a FREE service. 

End hospital car parking charges by increasing the tax on private medical insurance premiums.

This is only for those car parks in England – why not everywhere in the UK and why can’t we just abolish car parking charges all together? Or how about we keep them, and they contribute to funding the NHS?! 

Mental health

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With it being such a big issue in the UK, I am glad to see they are proposing to tackle it, more money does need to be put into funding and increasing services for those suffering with mental health – ideally this should be partnered not only with ‘curing and dealing’ with mental health suffers but also ‘preventing’ mental health issues arising through education, discussion and acceptance. A good idea to start with, needs to be developed into a long-term plan, focussing not just on health services being provided. 

NHS will receive more than £30bn in extra funding over the next parliament through increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance.

As previously mentioned above, according to Gov.uk the overall budget for the NHS for 2016/17 was around £120.4 billion set to rise to £133.1 billion by 2020/21. Will Labour keep on “increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and increasing tax on private medical insurance” as the cost of the NHS increases every year? Or where do they propose to find the rest of the money as the cost of the NHS increase year on year? Could they not be promoting private health care to decrease the pressure on public services? 

Increase levels of policemen and women

What are we going to be paying them – Diane Abbott? 


Social Security and Pensions 

Reinstate housing benefit for under-21s

Guarantee state pension triple lock, as well as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes.

“Rejects” proposal to increase state pension age further

With people living longer and the cost of living increasing year on year, I’m not surprised if the state pension age was to be increased, although not increasing it is a nice suggestion from Labour. But Labour should also be encouraging the younger generation to be saving for their own personal retirement fund and pension as well, due to the points above. 

Increase Carer’s Allowance by £11 to the level of Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Looking after our elderly is a huge issue in the UK, with people living longer and the access to more radical health care, we are seeing an academic of families choosing to be the sole carer of elderly family members. For some, it is their full-time job and they should be paid a fair wage. 


Energy 

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Ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.

A ban on fracking

Why not increase tax on fracking instead? It could have the potential to provide 74,000 jobs and £100,000 to each local community site. (facts from UKOOG)

Nuclear power “will continue to be part of the UK energy supply”

Introduce an immediate emergency energy price cap to ensure the average dual fuel household energy bill remains below £1,000 per year


Housing

Build over one million more homes, with at least half for social rent

Shouldn’t you be encouraging people to get onto the property ladder and not depend on social housing? 

Guarantee help to buy funding until 2027 and give locals buying their first home “first dibs on new homes built in their area.”

Make 4,000 additional homes available for rough sleepers to end homelessness.

How about they look into the reasons for people being made homeless and try to tackle that issue to – I have spoken to many homeless people and several say it is due to job losses.


Transport

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Extend high speed rail link HS2 to Scotland and Build Crossrail 2 – to run north-south through London between Hertfordshire and Surrey – “to ensure our capital continues to prosper”

Recognise the need for additional airport capacity in the South East

Are we ignoring the expansion of Heathrow? The increase in jobs and businesses it could bring in? The extra money it would put into the British economy? Best if we ignore that hey? 


Brexit and the EU

Accept the EU referendum result

“By scrapping the Brexit White Paper, and create a whole new set of rules” – will this be a regular occurrence every time the government changes political hands? 

Prioritise British produce

It is good to hear they they will “protect our farmers” and “not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to undercut our farmers and flood Britain’s food chain with cheap and inferior produce.”

Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union. Britain’s immigration system will change.

You don’t tell us how the immigration system will change – are closing the door fully? And what happens to those that are living in the UK illegally as immigrants? Where you putting those? Giving them a citizenship and allowing them to stay or going back home?

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Overall conclusion / opinion

Some very valid arguments and points made by the Labour party, with myself agreeing with a few of them.

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My biggest issue is having the rich pay for all the spending that Labour are so predominately well-known for – with Blair and Brown seeing a boom in overspending in their last government.

And the only mention of Benefits was his gigantic U-turn on the proposition of Tories freezing Benefits. There needs to be some serious digging into those who are being given benefits and making sure they are fairly and properly received and not just being taken advantage of.


Disclaimer:

For the reader to understand the stance I have taken on writing this article, I presently remain unbiased to all political parties, although it should be noted that I have previously supported the Conservative party. However my current political position is that I don’t believe any party leader is fit to do the job, therefore I am scrutinising all manifestos  published and my position on voting remains wholly undecided. 

I am in no means a political advocate for any party, nor am I an expert in the Labour Manifesto 2017 released today. These are just my points and views regarding the arguments made by Labour. 

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