UK Politics

Jeremy Corbyn outlines Labour's vision of a 'new economics'

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright EPA

Labour will seek to distribute the rewards of growth more fairly, Jeremy Corbyn has said, as he set out his party's plans for the economy.

Addressing activists, he called for a "mixed economy of public and social enterprise... a private sector with a long-term private business commitment".

He said a Labour government would break from the "failed economic orthodoxy".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would build 100,000 council homes a year and boost home ownership.

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At Labour's "state of the economy" conference in west London, Mr Corbyn set out his desire to reform capitalism and said his party needed to "deliver the new economy that this country needs".

"An economy that starts by tackling the grotesque levels of inequality within our society," went on Mr Corbyn.

"An economy that ensures every young person has the opportunities to maximise their talent and that produces the high-skilled, high-value, secure jobs they need. An economy that delivers new, more democratic forms of ownership and a zero-carbon economy that protects our environment."

'Bold ambition'

Mr Corbyn said a proposed National Investment Bank would boost the UK's infrastructure.

"Building an economy for the future requires bold ambition, he said. "A new economics."

He said: "Wealth creation is a good thing: We all want greater prosperity. But let us have a serious debate about how wealth is created and how that wealth should be shared."


Analysis

By Chris Mason, BBC News political correspondent

Having survived, so far, the rumblings of mutiny among fellow Labour MPs, both the party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell are determined to begin setting out their economic pitch.

Mr Corbyn called it "a new economics". Mr McDonnell described his aim as being no less than the "fundamental business of reforming capitalism".

So today was big on vision, but short on new detail. Perhaps no surprise with the next general election, in all likelihood, not until 2020.

No one can doubt their ambition: "I want us to surpass even the Attlee government for radical reform," the shadow chancellor said, a reference to the administration that founded the NHS.

But to do that, they have to win the next general election.

Will Labour MPs put up with them for long enough so they can fight that election? And if they do, can Messrs Corbyn and McDonnell sell such a left wing, socialist pitch to the electorate?


In his speech, Mr McDonnell said Labour would not win the next election unless it showed it was a responsible custodian of public money.

"We can reject the dreadful choice of austerity and maintain solid government finances," he said.

Councils would be given the power to limit "skyrocketing" rent increases, he added, pledging to help people "at the mercy of an unforgiving, unrestrained housing market".

'Intervention needed'

The measures put forward at the conference will be subject to consultation, and will not immediately become party policy.

They include powers to regulate private rent rises - similar to those pledged by former Labour leader Ed Miliband in the party's unsuccessful general election campaign - below the rate of inflation for the duration of a tenancy.

Critics previously said Labour's pre-election proposals would reduce investment in housing stock.

Mr Corbyn said government intervention was needed to solve the housing crisis.

Media captionJohn McDonnell: "Slowly but surely, we're rebuilding economic confidence in the Labour party"

The "local rent regulation" suggested by Mr McDonnell would be available to councils in each area, rather than set nationally.

The National Landlords Association welcomed Labour's focus on making housing more affordable but warned the party not to "pull the rug from under the feet of responsible landlords", while new Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, told the BBC he did not favour rent controls in the capital.

Addressing the Labour proposals on housing, a Department for Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said the government was "creating a bigger and better private rented sector".

"These proposals for excessive state regulation would destroy investment in new housing, push up prices and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent," she said.

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