Labour spending plans ‘rebalancing 10 years of austerity’ – Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn has insisted his spending pledges are necessary to right a decade of austerity as he pledged to slash regulated rail fares in England by a third from next month.

Labour intends to bring the railways back into public ownership if the party wins the 12 December election and then cut regulated rail fares by 33% from January 2020.

The party estimates the policy would save the average commuter more than £1,000 a year, in what it described as the biggest ever reduction in rail fares.

General Election 2019
Labour estimates Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would save the average commuter more than £1,000 a year (Aaron Chown/PA)

The policy announcement came after the UK’s train companies confirmed over the weekend that they will hike prices by an average of 2.7% next year.

Children aged 16 and under would receive free rail travel under Labour’s plans, while part-time workers would be guaranteed “fair” fares.

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Corbyn officially launched the policy outside London’s Finsbury Park station in the Islington North constituency he has held since 1983.

“They are not giveaways, they are rebalancing what we had, which was 10 years of austerity in which living standards have often fallen, income levels have been static, and in some cases fallen, and public services have been damaged and reduced,” he told reporters.

“And if all of our spending commitments, the whole of our manifesto, is carried out to every last letter we still barely reach the levels of public services of France or Germany and that’s how far behind we’ve fallen because of the strategy that’s been followed.”

General Election 2019
Jeremy Corbyn said his election spending pledges are ‘not giveaways'(Aaron Chown/PA)

The cold Monday morning saw Corbyn receive a warm reception from both activists and constituents as he was lavished with praise, offers of good luck and posed for multiple selfies, including with rail workers.

His party has also pledged to deliver a simple, London-style ticketing system across the nation – with “islands” within which zonal rail fares will apply across all modes of public transport.

There would be a daily price cap so travellers can pay as they go using bank cards or mobile phones.

Labour estimates that the policy will cost £1.5 billion per year and would come from existing Department for Transport budgets, drawn from Vehicle Excise Duty, commonly known as road tax.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described the policy as “another desperate attempt” from Labour to distract voters from “their inability and unwillingness to be straight with people on where they stand on Brexit” and over taxes.

“The Conservatives will improve punctuality by integrating parts of the rail network, make ticketing and pricing more transparent and will invest £500 million in reopening branch lines closed under Labour,” Mr Shapps said.

General Election 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn party has pledged to deliver a simple, London-style ticketing system across the nation (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Rail Delivery Group, which supports train operators, said fare levels “will always be a matter for elected politicians in deciding the balance of farepayer and taxpayer funding”.

“Rail companies have been calling for some time for changes in regulation to enable an easier-to-use, better-value range of fares, but it’s a red herring to suggest that reforming fares needs a change of ownership,” a spokesperson said.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, welcomed Labour’s pledges as having the potential to “transform travel for the future, increasing rail passenger numbers and rail jobs to help fight the climate crisis”.

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  • Show Comments
    1. “Rebalancing” might better be described as reimbursement to the population at large of communal wealth arrogated by a collection of unsavoury individuals to dig them out of a pit of their own making consequent upon boundless avarice, incompetence, rampant corruption, and eye watering display of ‘entitlement’.

      “Rebalancing” ought be only the first stage of ‘restructuring’. That is, banishing neo-liberalism and all its selfish works, and restoring a mixed economy proportionately rewarding honest endeavour and ensuring all citizens (sorry, I meant subjects of HM) receive a share of aggregate wealth generated by our economy, the production of which is enabled by communal physical infrastructure and a legal framework protecting legitimate enterprise.

    2. When the tories came to power and inflicted austerity upon the middle class and lower class of our country, the national debt stood at 650 billion. After a decade of absolute terrible economic mismanagement by the party that brags its the best for the countries finances. We as a country have a national debt of a ridiculous amount of 1.7 Trillion (yes that’s Trillion) costing 40 billion a year in interest alone. So let’s get these facts out there, none of the Tories friends and donors suffer when austerity is introduced they get richer. Now in my city the libraries have closed, less dustbin collections less police on our streets, nothing at all for young people from poor families. Where I live was absolutely destroyed by Thatcher and I mean destroyed. Shipyards with full order books that were profitable closed. One of the countries superpits also producing grade A coal and ran at a profit closed. Which are described in encyclopedias as being shut down for political reasons. Basically an always labour voting city was decimated out of spite. The social costs have been undescibable. My city was the worlds biggest ship building producer, can you imagine how many families were destroyed by this spite. All of the steel workers all of the other suppliers and the shipyards workers. Then on top of that a massive superpit. No one in this country can say their town or city has suffered more under the Tories. So when we see the Tories spending billions at the trop of a hat on cross Thames underground on a city with already fantastic public transport it’s a little annoying. Then they spend untold billions on the HS2 and brag they’ll extend it to Manchester what the hell can our massively neglected region do. All of the national roads and motorways from Manchester southwards are what we can only dream of. Now I’m not stupid they should represent the size of population in the area where upgraded. Now the metropolitan Borough I live in while it’s not a massive area its very heavily populated. I’ve been recently working in the S/W of England. Can anyone anywhere explain to me how my heavily populated region still hasn’t got and there’s no plans for a 3 lane motorway to my area yet the very sparsely populated S/W has the M5 all the way to Exeter. So no roads, no rail upgrades how the hell can we be an attractive prospect for any investment?. These imbalances in our society need to be addressed and very quickly. There’s not even a dual carriage way from my region to Edinburgh. Last time I looked at a map Tyne and Wear and Edinburgh could fit Exeter into a small suburb. No wonder the Scots want another Referendum, I honestly wish with all my heart that Scotland could become independant and take my region with them. England has failed us massively and being English under a Tory government is a prospect not worth thinking about. I really wish I could sit in front of the cabinet and ask them how many peoples lives do they think their party has cost my region through their spite. How much child motility rates have increased, poverty, drug dependence, alcoholics, crime rates, job prospects, derelict rundown housing, derelict factory’s. How satisfied has spending that much money on a fast train made them.

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