Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Opposition Labour Party to levy tax on UK oil companies

Leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to nationalise certain industries as part of a socialist Britain

Jeremy Corbyn's populist pitch is aimed at voters frustrated and exhausted by a decade of post-financial crisis austerity. Bloomberg
Jeremy Corbyn's populist pitch is aimed at voters frustrated and exhausted by a decade of post-financial crisis austerity. Bloomberg

The British Labour Party set out its policies on Thursday, promising a socialist dream of free housing, more health care and universal state broadband internet.

The £11 billion (Dh52.37bn) tax grab on oil revenues casts a shadow over the country’s output of 300,000 barrels a day, mostly from North Sea wells.

It is likely to be particularly controversial in Scotland, where the party has lost its traditional majority to nationalists, because the industry is a major employer.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says radical change is needed so the state ca provide for the needs of those worst off.

"This is a manifesto of hope," Mr Corbyn told a raucous crowd in Birmingham. "A manifesto that will bring real change. A manifesto full of popular policies that the political establishment has blocked for a generation."

By taxing the country’s highest earners and increased borrowing, Labour says it will invest in the National Health Service and transform affordable housing, including 100,000 new council houses a year by 2024.

Corporation tax would rise to 21 per cent in 2020, 24 per cent in 2021 and 26 per cent in 2022, the manifesto said.

Labour also plans to impose VAT on private school fees.

Mr Corbyn said the policies were fully costed and increases would not affect 95 per cent of taxpayers.

Youngsters hold banners outside the building where Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party attended the launch of Labour's General Election manifesto, at Birmingham City University, England, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Youngsters hold banners outside the building where Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party attended the launch of Labour's General Election manifesto, at Birmingham City University, England, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

“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," he said.

Mr Corbyn also wants to embark on a “green industrial revolution” that would tackle the global climate crisis.

Adam Marshall, the head of the British Chambers of Commerce, said companies would welcome plans to upgrade infrastructure and a more open approach to migration.

"But command and control isn't the way," Mr Marshall said. "Excessive intervention in business governance and sweeping tax rises would suppress innovation and smother growth."

The Institute of Directors said the policies did not give enough incentives to drive investment.

“Many directors will have reservations that Labour’s state-first plans for the economy could crowd out rather than crowd in private enterprise,” said Edwin Morgan, the institute's director of policy.

Mr Corbyn has pledged to nationalise critical services including water, railways, energy utilities and the postal service.

He wants to partly nationalise some of telecommunications company BT and bring country-wide access to free full-fibre broadband.

“We will bring some key services into public ownership and I’m not making any apologies for that,” Mr Corbyn told business leaders last week, saying it was the norm in Europe.

“So I understand your caution about some of our plans but your businesses, your workers, your consumers have been failed by rip-off energy bills and very poor rail and bus services in many parts of the country.”

Mr Corbyn said Labour would strike a new Brexit deal with the EU within six months and hold a second referendum on the UK’s membership.

The ruling pro-Brexit Conservatives hit out at Labour's tax plans and said the party lacked a strategy on leaving the EU.

Updated: November 22, 2019 01:34 AM

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