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Labour promises budget responsibility

Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband waves as he arrives to speak at the launch of the party's election manifesto in Manchester, England.  

The Labour Party is the first party in these elections to release its manifesto with a lead promise for a set of ‘budget responsibility lock’ guarantees that would ensure that its promises on spending are fulfilled if the party is elected to power.

The manifestos are released by parties well into the campaign period, and usually come after parties and party leaders have already made public the key promises and commitments of their governments if elected on May 7.

In choosing to emphasis the budget responsibility lock in the manifesto of his party released today, Labour leader Ed Miliband took head-on the criticism that the Conservatives throw at Labour at every forum and platform. This is the claim that Labour simply does not know how to run a government, fingers pointing at past Labour governments that were allegedly profligate in their spending, and generally inefficient in the way national finances were managed.

“Every policy in this manifesto is paid for,” Mr. Miliband pledged on Monday. “We will legislate to require all major parties to have their manifesto commitments independently audited by the Office for Budget Responsibility.”

He also made a promise on cutting the deficit every year, pinning the commitment with a promise that the Office of Budget Responsibility will independently verify the claim. The manifesto, titled “Britain can be Better”, was delivered by a prime ministerial-hopeful far more confident than he has hitherto came across. Mr. Miliband, who used to trail behind his polished and ebullient Conservative rival David Cameron in the opinion polls, is now closing that credibility gap.

Mr. Miliband’s manifesto says it will “reverse David Cameron’s tax-cut for millionaires to help pay down the deficit” that it will crack down on hedge funds who don’t pay their share, and call tax havens to account.

Some of Labour’s tax announcements have already been made, creating the splash that the party hoped. The announcement on imposing a mansion tax is one such. Another is Mr. Miliband’s recent announcement that his government will abolish the special tax status enjoyed by ‘non-doms.’ British residents who do not pay tax on their overseas property and revenues, the ‘non-domiciled’ are perceived as rich and unfairly privileged. The promise to abolish it was received with enthusiasm and seen as just and fair.

He has also been successful in projecting Labour as the party of the National Health Service — a precious national institution for the British — with the promise that it will remain a free public asset. In addition to a range of social welfare benefits, the manifesto promises raising the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour by October 2019, banning exploitative zero hours contracts and promoting the Living Wage.


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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 6:11:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/labour-promises-budget-responsibility/article7099681.ece

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