Labour manifesto fact-checked

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn guarantees that the Party’s manifesto with the slogan “For the many not the few” is a “draft for a better future” and represents a plan that includes advantages for all generations. Five key issues in the document are analysed and fact-checked below.

Economy

“A Britain for the rich and the elite and the vested interests. They benefited from tax cuts, bumper salaries and millions have struggled at the same time.” 

In his speech at the manifesto launch, Jeremy Corbyn spoke of the division between “the rich” and “the poor”, without specifying which tax payers he referred to. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), wealthy individuals with low current incomes and high-income people who have accumulated little wealth need to be considered. In fact, the discrepancies between income and wealth among the richest people are higher than among the rest of the population.

The impact of tax and benefit policies will hit the poor the hardest in the long run, according to the IFS.

Migration

“Labour will develop and implement fair immigration rules and protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity.”

Labour claims that both public and private sector employers are dependent on immigrants and that they will not “denigrate those workers”.

The Party intends to provide extra spending for areas, in which immigration has placed a strain on public services.

Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, criticised Corbyn in an official press statement saying that the Labour Party is likely to “lose control over immigration altogether”. He accused Labour of ignoring the issue of mass migration to the UK and claimed that “the specific measures mentioned in the manifesto]are likely to increase it”. He further explained that “we simply cannot continue with massive levels of immigration as this would place a huge strain on our society”.

On the other hand, while Dr. Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) expressed feelings of concern over certain Labour policies such as high personal taxation, he applauded the Party’s aim to give EU workers in the UK the guarantee to stay. This is of high priority “for many thousands of firms that employ them,” he said.

Education

“No one should be put off educating themselves for lack of money or through fear of debt.”

The Labour party has come under fire for their plan to abolish university tuition fees and bring back the maintenance grants.

The plan, which Labour estimates would cost £11.2bn, has been criticised for being mainly beneficial for pupils from families of high earners rather than the ones from low-income households.

The policy has also been accused of not being as progressive as it appears to be. In general, the number of state school pupils in the UK who apply for higher education has dropped since the fees increased to £9,000. However, according to statistics published by the university admissions service UCAS in 2015, the gap between the poorer and richer applicants has shrunk in the last years and was “at the lowest level recorded”. Similarly, the application for 18-year-olds in the UK living in disadvantaged areas have “increased to the highest levels recorded”.

Childcare

“Extend the 30 free hours to all two-year-olds and move towards making some childcare available for one-year-olds and extending maternity pay to 12 months.”

According to The Daily Telegraph, economists and childcare experts have criticised the £5.3bn a year that is spent on childcare. Labour’s manifesto would increase the cost significantly.

Furthermore, the manifesto doesn’t specify the details on how the system would function, which has sparked confusion among experts and the public alike.

Rights at work

Raise the minimum wage to the level of the living wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over.”

As part of the 20-point plan for security and equality at work, the Labour manifesto promise would take minimum wage to a historic high.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), a higher minimum wage may be effective at boosting the wages of low earners. However, it also claims that the ones advantaging the most from the increase are middle-income families, not the lowest.

Labour’s plan to extend the £10 minimum wage to all workers aged 18 and over could also result in reducing employment, says the IFS.

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