Ian Lavery: A manifesto for the many not the few

Ian Lavery

For weeks we’ve told journalists “you’ll just have to wait until the manifesto.”

You’ve probably heard it as many times as May’s uttered her hollow campaign mantra of “strong and stable!”

Now that wait is over.

But the difference between Labour and the Tories is whilst they offer empty soundbites we’re offering fully-costed sound policies that will transform people’s lives.

Such was the intense interest in what we have to offer, an earlier draft of the manifesto leaked on Thursday.

Since then, I’ve been inundated with messages from people genuinely excited about what Labour is offering.

Yes it’s radical. But it’s also credible and responsible.

Labour’s manifesto gives voters a real choice: a fairer Britain, for the many not the few, or a Britain held back by the Conservatives.

I remember 1997 all too well. People waiting an average of 18 months for an operation. Children being taught in supersize classes in crumbling schools and crime on the rise.

We committed to improving our NHS, education, education, education and being tough on crime. And its causes. And we delivered on each of our pledges.

Twenty years on, and it’s time for us to fix the mess again.

Look what Theresa’s Tories have done since 2010.

Working families are on average over £1,400 a year worse off.

The NHS is in crisis: waiting lists have grown and waiting times are up.

A crisis made worse by the Conservatives cutting £4.6 billion from social care budgets, leaving a million vulnerable elderly people without the care they need.

School budgets are being cut for the first time in a generation; over half a million children are being taught in super-sized classes.

Home ownership is down, housebuilding is lower than anytime since the 1920s with homelessness and rough sleeping on the increase.

Personal debt is rising. A million people are using food banks and since 2010 400,000 more pensioners are living in poverty.

And to cap it all, we’re heading for a reckless and rigid Brexit that will damage business, cost jobs and hit you in the pocket.

It’s time for Labour to make things better again.

We’ll make pay work and give Britain a payrise by creating a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020 and lifting the cap on public sector pay.

Labour will invest in Britain by upgrading the economy with a proper industrial strategy and a National Investment Bank, supported by regional banks, to unlock £500 billion of public and private investment.

We’ll literally take back control of our rail, water and Royal Mail by bringing them into public ownership as well as creating regional publicly owned competitors to supply energy.

Tuition fees will be scrapped, class sizes will be cut, there’ll be free school meals for every primary school child and lifelong learning will be provided by a National Education Service free at the point of use.

We’ll extend 30 hours of free childcare to all 2-4 year olds so that all parents have the opportunity to return to work as well as preserving the triple lock on pensions.

We’ll fight for a Brexit deal that protects Britain’s economy and introduce a 20 point plan to preserve and enhance workers rights.

And Labour will provide a tax guarantee: No VAT, national insurance or income tax rise for 95% of all people with only the top 5% of earners paying more. We’ll introduce an excessive pay levy to clampdown on boardroom pay.

Our manifesto shows a better, fairer Britain is possible.

A country where people can lead richer lives, prosperity is shared, hard work is rewarded and public services are protected and improved.

Labour will today spell out a programme of hope that really does put the interests of the many before those of the few.

It is a manifesto to be proud of.

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