Labour commits to Crossrail 2

Hamish Champ

Party’s manifesto, leaked last week, also confirms it will end leaseholds homes in new developments

The Labour manifesto, published today, has confirmed earlier speculation that the party would spend billions on housing and infrastructure projects if it were elected to power on 8 June.

The document, which was leaked last week, confirms that it would “complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, and then into Scotland, consulting with and – where necessary, compensating – communities”.

A Labour government would link HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North and on to the Durham Freight Centre, as well as a new Brighton train line. It also said it would set up a housing ministry.

And as the leaked document suggested, Labour confirmed it was committed to build at least 100,000 new council homes a year by the end of the next parliament.

It would also back first-time buyers to acquire their first home, and “give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments”.

The total cost of its plans is estimated by the party to be £48.6bn, with all current spending “paid for out of taxation or redirected revenue streams”.

Labour also said those earning more than £80,000 would be taxed at 45p in the pound.

Commenting on the manifesto, Liz Jenkins, a partner at Clyde & Co, said Labour had made “a bold pledge” to address the housing crisis by building 100,000 new council homes within a year. “The problem the country faces with any infrastructure initiative is the ongoing skills crisis. With Brexit round the corner this situation currently looks set to get worse.

“Whichever government is in power come 9 June, it will need to prioritise plugging the skills gap which could severely impact any proposed infrastructure initiatives.”

Jenkins said Labour seemed to have considered that building these homes will need skilled manual labour to be built. “The manifesto mentions that they will work with businesses that need to recruit from abroad, although they are wary of undercutting UK workers. Of course, this will largely depend on how Brexit negotiations play out,” she added.

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