A row has erupted between Labour and the Conservatives after it was claimed that a Jeremy Corbyn government would cost an extra £1.2tn over the next five years.
The calculation has been made by the Tories rather than the Treasury – and the figure is based on Labour’s 2017 manifesto, alongside additional spending pledges made since then.
Chancellor Sajid Javid has claimed Labour’s proposals could leave the UK’s economy on the “brink of bankruptcy”.
However, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has dismissed the claims as a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news” – and he said the figures have been formulated from “an incompetent mish-mash of debunked estimates and bad maths”.
Sky News’ political reporter Rob Powell said that the £1.2tn figure should be treated with “extreme caution”.
He added: “There’s no doubt Labour wants to spend far more than the Tories, but this figure includes policies that probably won’t make it into the final manifesto and some of the costings used are factually questionable.
“It’s worth noting that the figure applies to five years, not the usual one. It’s also not compared to the Tories’ increased spending plans and contains no details of how Labour intends to raise money.”
Commenting on Labour’s spending plans, Mr Javid said: “Now is the time for responsible investment not reckless borrowing.
“We simply cannot afford Corbyn’s spending spree that would saddle our children with huge amounts of debt and undo all the hard work of the British people in recent years.
“A vote for Corbyn’s Labour would mean the chaos of another two referendums and frightening levels of debt that would take us decades to pay off.”
The Conservatives say Labour’s 2017 manifesto would cost £600bn and that other promises amount to another £590bn “on top of what the government already spends”.
Included in that is renationalising the rail, energy, water and postal services – which the Confederation of British Industry puts at £196bn.
Among the other costs it lists is £30bn for a pledge to install energy-saving measures in nearly all UK homes, and £7bn for free bus travel for under-25s.
The Tories say £85bn would also need to be spent over five years for the shadow chancellor’s promise to cut the average working week to 32 hours within a decade with no loss of pay.
It bases that figure on a Centre for Policy Studies estimate.
The party says that paying for all Labour’s plans equates to funding the NHS for nine years and that the cost could increase when its new manifesto is released.
The Tories are also planning to increase government spending if they win the election and have unveiled plans to boost investment spending – money for new hospitals schools and transport – by £20bn a year.
Mr McDonnell said his party would “tax the rich” to pay for its spending pledges.
He added: “We will also use the power of the state to invest to grow our economy, create good jobs in every region and nation and tackle the climate emergency.
“The Conservatives will be able to read all about these plans – and how much they actually cost – when we publish our fully costed manifesto.”
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A row has erupted between Labour and the Conservatives after it was claimed that a Jeremy Corbyn government would cost an extra £1.2tn over the next five years. The calculation has been made by the Tories rather than the Treasury – and the figure is based on Labour’s 2017 manifesto, alongside additional spending pledges made since then.