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The highlights of the Labour manifesto, launched on Monday by Ed Miliband with the slogan “Britain can be better”, include:
Budget responsibility lock: This guarantees that the deficit will be cut every year and that every policy will be “paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing”.
All the main parties will have to submit their tax and spending commitments to the Office for Budget Responsibility for auditing.
Labour will promise to cut the deficit in all its Budgets and that this will be verified by the OBR.
Fiscal rules will be introduced to ensure the national debt falls every year and that there will be a surplus by the end of the next parliament.
Main policies include:
● A 50p tax rate on annual incomes of more than £150,000 and a lower 10p starting rate of income tax.
● Abolition of the non-dom status, which gives tax privileges to mostly wealthy foreigners living in the UK.
● A £2.5bn fund for the NHS. To be paid for by the mansion tax on properties worth more than £2m and a levy on tobacco companies. An extra 8,000 GPs, 20,000 nurses and 3,000 midwives. “You can’t fund the NHS with an IOU and the Conservatives need to learn that lesson,” Mr Miliband said.
● Cap on private profits in the NHS.
● Repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.
● 25 hours of childcare for working parents of children aged three and four and doubling paid paternity leave to four weeks. There will be a new national childcare service, paid for by increasing the banking levy by £800m.
● A new “threshold” for a bank’s market share.
● A cut and freeze on business rates for 1.5m small companies.
● Reducing class sizes for children aged five to seven. Paid for by ending the free schools programme.
● A freeze on gas and electricity bills until 2017.
● A £7.5bn crackdown on tax abuse.
● Ensure that by 2020, homes are being built at a rate of 200,000 a year.
● Abolish the “bedroom tax”.
● Ban zero-hours contracts and raise the minimum wage to “more than £8 an hour by October 2019”. “Everyone who works regular hours will get a regular contract,” Mr Miliband said.
● End winter fuel payments for the richest 5 per cent of pensioners and cap rises in child benefit.
● Cut government ministers’ pay by 5 per cent.
● Cut university tuition fees from £9,000 a year to £6,000.
● Review the rail network franchising model and ensure publicly run operators can take over the running of trains. Rail fares will be frozen for a year, at a cost of £200m, funded by delaying road projects on the A27 and A358. A strict fare rise cap on every route.
● Guarantee an apprenticeship place for all school leavers who meet a required standard.
● An open-ended commitment not to increase VAT or national insurance.
● More powers for Scottish and Welsh parliaments and English towns.
● Extend the right to vote to 16- and 17-year-olds.
● Private schools will have to do more to continue benefiting from state subsidies.