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Britain’s Labour unveils ‘radical’ election manifesto

By AFP   |   16 May 2017   |   10:32 am  

Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer (3R) poses with Labour candidate for Bridgend Madeleine Moon (4R), Labour candidate for Neath Christina Rees (R) and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones (2R) and supporters during a general election campaign event in Bridgend, south Wales, on May 15, 2017. Britain goes to the polls on June 8 to elect a new parliament in a general election. / AFP PHOTO / Geoff CADDICK

Britain's opposition Labour Party pledged to raise taxes on the well-off, renationalise key industries and end austerity in its manifesto on Tuesday, presenting voters with their starkest choice in decades in next month's election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the programme "radical and responsible", saying the country had been run "for the rich, the elite and the vested interests" in seven years of Conservative government.

"It will change our country," he will say in his speech at the presentation of the manifesto in Bradford in northwest England, according to extracts released by the party's press office.

"It will lead us through Brexit while putting the preservation of jobs first," he said.

The manifesto is expected to include a tax increase from 40 percent to 45 percent for salaries of between £80,000 (94,000 euros, $103,000) and £150,0000 a year, according to The Times and The Daily Telegraph.

The current 40 percent tax rate applies to people earning between £31,500 and £150,000.

There would also be a new top rate of income tax of 50 percent, the reports said.

Labour has said the rise would fund increased investment in the state-run National Health Service (NHS) and would only affect five percent of earners.

The Guardian reported that the party was also planning a levy on businesses with staff earning large salaries, set at 2.5 percent on those earning over £330,000 and 5.0 percent on those earning more than £500,000.

Labour will also promise to renationalise the railways, the Royal Mail postal service and water companies, according to various reports.

Labour has also promised it will increase corporation tax to 26 percent by 2022 and impose a "Robin Hood tax" on financial transactions.

"It's a programme that will reverse our national priorities to put the interests of the many first," Corbyn is expected to say.

"This is a programme of hope. The Tory campaign, by contrast, is built on one word: fear."

But Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives immediately slammed the plan as "nonsensical" and not properly costed.

"It's ordinary working people who will pay for the chaos of Corbyn," Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke said in a statement.

The Conservatives currently have a double-digit lead over Labour in opinion polls.
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