General election: Jeremy Corbyn to pledge housebuilding 'revolution' in manifesto
20 November 2019, 21:09 | Updated: 21 November 2019, 10:27
Jeremy Corbyn is launching Labour's election manifesto with a scorching attack on the "establishment" and the rich and powerful.
He claims Labour faces the hostility of "billionaires, bad bosses and dodgy landlords" because it is on the people's side and promising real change.
The party's latest manifesto pledge is a promise to spend £75 billion over five years on what the party calls a "housing revolution", with the biggest council house building programme for decades.
Labour says the money for the programme - 100,000 council homes and 50,000 housing association properties a year within five years - will come from a social transformation fund paid for by borrowing and tax rises.
It will only take place in England, as housing is a devolved matter for governments across the UK.
Launching the manifesto, titled "It's time for real change", Mr Corbyn will say in Birmingham on Thursday: "This is a manifesto of hope. A manifesto that will bring real change.
"A manifesto full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation. Those policies are fully costed, with no tax increases for 95% of taxpayers."
He is expected to claim "the hostility of the rich and powerful is inevitable" because Labour is "on your side", adding: "They know we will deliver our plans, which is why they want to stop us being elected."
Charities and housing groups widely praised Labour's housebuilding proposal as a "game-changer", while the Conservatives defended their track record.
Official statistics show more than one million households are on waiting lists for council housing.
Other policies in the manifesto will include:
- Negotiating a new Brexit deal with the EU and submitting it to a referendum within six months
- Nationalise BT Openreach, railways, Royal Mail, water and National Grid
- On workers' rights; a four-day week, collective bargaining and the end of zero-hours contracts
- Attempt to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030
In his attack on the 'establishment', Mr Corbyn will say: "Labour is on your side. And there could scarcely be a clearer demonstration of that than the furious reaction of the rich and powerful.
"If the bankers, billionaires and the establishment thought we represented politics as usual, that we could be bought off, that nothing was really going to change, they wouldn't attack us so ferociously. Why bother?
"But they know we mean what we say. They know we will deliver our plans, which is why they want to stop us being elected.
"They know we will go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters so that everybody in our country gets a fair chance in life. That's why they throw everything they've got at us. Because they're scared of real change. Because they aren't on your side."
Mr Corbyn will add: "You can trust us to do all this because we're opposed by the vested interests for standing up for a different kind of society. We'll deliver real change for the many, and not the few. That's what this manifesto is all about.
"And you really can have this plan for real change because you don't need money to buy it. You just need a vote - and your vote can be more powerful than all their wealth."
Polly Neate, chief executive of the Shelter charity, said the plan to build 150,000 homes a year by the end of the next parliament - in up to five years time - would be "transformational for housing in this country".
"A pledge to build social homes at this scale would, if implemented, do more than any other single measure to end the housing emergency and give new, affordable, safe homes to hundreds of thousands currently without one," she added.
The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, hailed the proposals as "a real game-changer".
Chief executive Kate Henderson continued: "The housing crisis is having a disastrous effect on millions of people in England, and we need to build 145,000 new social homes every year if we are to end it."
The Chartered Institute of Housing welcomed the pledge, with chief executive Terrie Alafat saying: "We think the scale of Labour's proposals are a welcome step in ending our housing crisis."
The Tories are also promising more houses, help for more people to buy their own home and a fairer deal for renters.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "The Conservatives have always been the party of homeownership, but under a Conservative majority government in 2020 we can and will do even more to ensure everyone can get on and realise their dream of owning their home.
"At the moment renting a property can also be an uncertain and unsettling business, and the costs of deposits make it harder to move. We are going to fix that."
Tim Farron, the Lib Dems housing spokesperson, said: "It won't be councils denying planning permission for new council homes under Labour, it will be Labour denying entry to the EU workers travelling here to build them.
"10% of our construction industry workforce is made up of EU citizens, but - just like the Tories - Corbyn's Labour has failed to back free movement from the EU. Under Labour, the workforce we rely on will no longer be available in the UK."