The Labour party has outlined its newest set of plans for the economy. The economic plans were detailed at the “State of the Economy” Labour conference, held recently in West London. Details were largely revealed by party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who vowed to move away from a “failed economic orthodoxy” and to “deliver the new economy that this country needs.”
Corbyn spoke of tackling “grotesque levels of inequality” through its economic policies. In particular, he pointed to job creation, especially for young people looking to get onto the career ladder for the first time. The Labour leader said that there need to be “high-skilled, high-value, secure jobs” for young people that will give them “the opportunities to maximise their talent.”
Another priority for any future Labour government, according to shadow chancellor John McDonnell, would be tackling the housing crisis. The party would, McDonnell said, introduce measures to boost home ownership and construct around 100,000 new council homes. The shadow chancellor also said that the Labour party would like to see councils given power to reign in “skyrocketing” rent increases within their jurisdictions.
Some of the party’s plans for the housing market, particularly plans to regulate rent increases resemble policies from Labour’s unsuccessful campaign in the run-up to the last general election. At the time, these policies were welcomed by some but others feared that they would reduce housing investment. Similar sentiments have now been expressed by the National Landlords Association. The Association praised Labour for its focus on the need to make housing more affordable, but said that the party should be careful not to “pull the rug from under the feet of responsible landlords.” From within the Labour party, Sadiq Khan, newly-elected Mayor of London, responded to the views expressed in the conference by saying that he was not in favour of introducing rent controls for London.
Corbyn also referred to proposals for a National Investment Bank. Such a bank would, he claimed, be beneficial for the infrastructure of the UK.
Environmental sustainability was also touched on in the plans outlined at the conference. Corbyn spoke of “a zero-carbon economy that protects our environment.”
The priorities and plans spoken of at the conference are not yet official Labour policy. Rather, the proposed economic measures will now enter a period of consultation before it is decided whether they should be fully adopted as the party’s policies.
Summarising Labour’s approach to the economy, Corbyn said: “Wealth creation is a good thing: We all want greater prosperity. But let us have a serious debate about how wealth is created and how that wealth should be shared.”
McDonnell, meanwhile, said that Labour had to show that it could be a responsible holder of the public purse if it is to succeed in future elections. “We can reject the dreadful choice of austerity and maintain solid government finances,” insisted the shadow chancellor.