Good to see a bit of fight from Labour – they snuck into the Hammond and Davis presser earlier and handed out this rebuttal document accusing the Tories of “mistakes, misinformation and misrepresentation”. Except, bizarrely, Labour’s rebuttal document completely contradicts Jeremy Corbyn’s public statements over the last year…
Labour says “It is not current Labour Party policy to buy out NHS contracts”. Except in August 2016 Corbyn said Labour would “instruct the Treasury to take control of the PFI situation to ensure the debt burden imposed on so many hospitals across the country is removed”. Is this a u-turn?
The Labour document says “Nursery access for all children” is not current policy. Yet in an interview with the Guardian last year Corbyn committed to “all children getting access to preschool facilities”. What happened to that pledge?
The document says it is a “mistake” to say Labour wants to spend on infrastructure, manufacturing and new industries because this is financed from government capital spend, not revenue spend. Er, capital spending is still money. It has to be funded somehow, whether through cuts, borrowing or taxes.
Labour says it is not current policy to increase benefits for under-25s. This commitment was in Corbyn’s manifesto for young people: “Labour should abolish the different payments in benefits for under-25s, so all people seeking work can claim the same rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance”. Has he suddenly ditched this pledge?
Finally, Labour says reversing savings in the arts budget is not current policy. Eh? This commitment has repeatedly been made by Corbyn, for example: “Labour will reverse Tory real terms cuts to arts expenditure and restore grant in aid funding of the Arts Council” and “The next Labour Government will over the course of the next Parliament aim to increase the proportion of GDP the British Government spends on arts”. Have they dropped this too?
Have Labour announced five policy u-turns in a rebuttal document handed out as a stunt this morning? Or is this another example of non-joined up opposition between the Leader’s Office and the “dark side” at HQ…