Labour’s £196 billion bill to nationalise key firms as Jeremy Corbyn’s next election manifesto is expected to contain a pledge to take Royal Mail and train operators into public ownership
- Corbyn’s wholesale renationalisation pledge would cost ‘at least £196billion’
- Employer group CBI warn it could push state debt levels to 94 per cent of GDP
- The Labour Party leader wants to nationalise rail, mail, water and the energy grid
Labour’s plans for wholesale renationalisation will cost at least £196billion, business leaders warn today.
The party’s next election manifesto is expected to contain proposals to take Royal Mail, train operators and water and energy firms back into public ownership.
The CBI employers’ group said this could increase public debt by 10.7 per cent, pushing it above £2trillion.
The Labour party leader said vital services had been ‘carved up and fleeced by their private owners’. The party’s next election manifesto is expected to contain proposals to take Royal Mail, train operators and water and energy firms back into public ownership.
The upfront cost would be the equivalent of taking every penny of income tax paid by British citizens for a whole year.
‘The price tag for Labour’s renationalisation plans is beyond eye-watering – close to £200billion,’ said Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist.
‘And that’s only the starting point. It doesn’t take into account the maintenance and development of the infrastructure, the trickle-down hit to pension pots and savings accounts, or the impact on the country’s public finances.
‘There are so many other genuine priorities for public spending right now, from investing in our young people to the transition to a low-carbon economy and connecting our cities and communities.
‘These issues are what keep businesses up at night and what they want to see the Government get on with addressing.’
The upfront cost would be the equivalent of taking every penny of income tax paid by British citizens for a whole year. Royal Mail vans are pictured above
Jeremy Corbyn confirmed in a speech last week that Labour wants to bring ‘rail, mail, water and the energy grid into public ownership, run by and for the public, not for profit’.
The party leader said vital services had been ‘carved up and fleeced by their private owners’.
He added: ‘The privatisation of our utilities, which are natural monopolies, has been a failure.
‘People are sick of paying through the nose for a poor service while billions are handed over to shareholders.’
But the CBI said renationalisation could push state debt levels to 94 per cent of GDP, the highest point since the 1960s.
And it claimed savers and pensioners could suffer a £9billion hit on their holdings.
The analysis noted that the Government’s assets would increase and there would be the potential for revenue from utility firms. However the study did not try to identify any benefits.
Labour disputed the figures, saying it did not agree with the value the CBI had put on the companies, including a 30 per cent mark-up.
A spokesman said: ‘This is incoherent scaremongering from the CBI, which is bizarrely attacking Labour for compensating shareholders both too much and too little.
The CBI said renationalisation could push state debt levels to 94 per cent of GDP, the highest point since the 1960s. And it claimed savers and pensioners could suffer a £9billion hit on their holdings
‘It is disappointing that the CBI seems incapable of having a grown-up conversation about public ownership, which is hugely popular, and common across Europe.’
Mr Corbyn yesterday appeared to row back on Labour’s conference pledge to abolish private schools.
The Labour leader said his party’s policy was simply to strip them of their charitable status, a more minor step.
He told Sophy Ridge on Sky News: ‘Labour policy is to make sure that private education is not a charity but pays tax just like anybody else and the local education authority has far more influence over the way in which education operates.
‘Obviously we will be deciding exactly what goes into the manifesto but the key point will be a national education service. Private schools are often seen as an elitist thing, children only go there because their parents can afford it or are prepared to make the sacrifices to try to get them there.
‘What I’d much rather is investment in the public sector schools where all children get an advantage.’
n Families affected by IRA attacks have demanded that Mr Corbyn apologise for ‘giving succour’ to terrorists.
In an open letter to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1984 Brighton bombing, they call on him to condemn the campaign waged by Irish republicans.
Mr Corbyn has so far failed to do so, saying only that he condemns ‘all bombing’. The letter was signed by 38 people who lost family members or were injured themselves.
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