LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party has pledged to increase business investment, overhaul the country’s energy infrastructure and crack down on fraud, fleshing out its policy platform before a national election expected next year.
Here are some of the policies announced at their annual conference in Liverpool:
Labour has pledged to raise business investment as a share of economic output to 11%, up from 10%, and to create a national wealth fund to leverage private investment.
Labour said it would fast-track planning processes for priority growth areas such as battery factories and 5G infrastructure.
It also announced a plan to overhaul the National Grid and reduce delays companies face to connect to the energy network.
A Labour government would replace the so-called “non-dom” taxpayer status enjoyed by some wealthy individuals in Britain that means they can enjoy tax-free status on foreign earnings for up to 15 years.
This could raise more than 3.2 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) in tax each year, according to research published last year by the University of Warwick and the London School of Economics. FEE-PAYING SCHOOLS
Labour says it will start charging Value Added Tax on fee-paying schools, and full business rates on those in England.
CUT GOVERNMENT COSTS
Labour says it will crack down on ministers’ use of private jets, slash spending on the use of consultants, and will appoint a COVID corruption commissioner to recoup money that has been lost to waste, fraud and flawed contracts during the pandemic.
A spokesman for Labour’s finance policy chief Rachel Reeves said the plans would save the government 4 billion pounds.
INFRASTRUCTURE ACCELERATION UNIT
Labour said it would set up a cross-departmental infrastructure acceleration unit. It comes after the government last week cancelled the northern leg of the costly HS2 high-speed rail project.
The unit would be responsible for ensuring crucial national infrastructure projects are delivered on time and on budget.
Labour would introduce an Energy Independence Act to deliver some of its pledges around establishing a new state-run energy company, GB Energy, and providing 100% clean power by 2030.
Leader Keir Starmer announced a target of building 1.5 million new homes over the course of the next parliament, which will last around five years. The pledge is similar to a government aim to build 300,000 houses a year by the mid-2020s, though lawmakers say the government is unlikely to hit that target.
Starmer also pledged to build new towns. Councils will be asked to bid if they would like a new town in their area. Starmer’s spokesman said Labour had already had indications from areas which want to build new towns.
The proposals will also see the planning system overhauled and give new powers to mayors, with fast-tracked approval on so-called “brownfield” sites that have been previously developed.
The plans include a government-backed mortgage-guarantee scheme for young people looking to buy in new developments.
Labour said it would invest an extra 1.1 billion pounds to provide NHS staff overtime to work evening and weekend shifts to deliver an extra 2 million operations in its first year in order to reduce lengthy hospital waiting lists.
Labour said it would turn existing further education colleges for 16-18 year olds into Technical Excellence Colleges, which it said would align skills and training more closely with the needs of employers.
Labour said it would empower the water regulator Ofwat to ban the payment of bonuses to water bosses who are found to pump significant levels of raw sewage into rivers, lakes and seas.
Labour announced a Community Policing Guarantee, promising increased patrols and 13,000 more neighbourhood police.
It also announced a young person initiative aimed at helping to halve knife crime and youth violence in a decade.
($1 = 0.8185 pounds)
(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Andrew MacAskill and Elizabeth Piper; editing by William James, Bernadette Baum and Gareth Jones)