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General Election: Labour transport platform to "rebuild Britain" faces test

Lee Baker
19 April 2017
Corbyn: new message for voters on transport
Corbyn: new message for voters on transport


The Labour party's transport policy platform focused on additional investment and taming the private sector faces a test in the General Election.

Jeremy Corbyn is staking his party's chances on a pledge to invest more to "rebuild Britain," a message that comes after commentators claimed in The Guardian that there was a perception in 2015 that Labour was "careless with taxpayers' money" and in The Telegraph that Labour had ducked the need to tackle the deficit. Corbyn has argued that Labour lost because Labour was not radical enough, and has overhauled policies to tackle this.

On transport, the platform is starkly different to what the party offered in 2015: a pledge to not borrow any more to invest has been replaced with extra borrowing to capitalise a national infrastructure bank to embark on a programme of £500bn of capital investment. "Bearing down on public transport fares" has been replaced by the prospect of cutting fares by "insourcing" bus services and nationalising rail services. Labour's message that Britain needs massive new investment will be promoted in an election dominated by Brexit.

The perception that Labour was reckless came as it offered "common sense reductions" in transport and other departments to "balance the books" and the only new investment was £300m of new funding for highway maintenance was paid for by cancelling two road upgrade projects. With the Conservatives having trumpeted their 2015 win as being in part that they were prepared to invest, while managing the economy well, Corbyn will need to work to convince that Britain needs "rebuilding". 

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