From promises to policy

As the hype surrounding Corbyn’s election as Leader of the Labour Party starts to settle, we take a look at what this might mean for Labour’s future policy on housing, energy and Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse.

There is no doubt that tackling the housing crisis will top Corbyn’s agenda in opposition. Indeed, it was his opening question from ‘Marie’ in his debut at this week’s PMQs, asking what the Government intends to do about the chronic lack of affordable housing. In Corbyn’s analysis, the lack of affordable housing is the root cause of high rents from private landlords. His plan to address the housing crisis focuses on giving local authorities the right to commission new homes, scrapping the ‘bedroom tax’, linking private rents to local average earnings and giving tenants the right to longer tenancies.

An advocate of wind and solar energy and a fierce opponent of fracking and new nuclear power plants, Corbyn’s energy policy is unsurprisingly at odds with the current Government’s, but also conflicts with many in his own party. He wants to end the ‘era of fossil fuels’, calls for the socialisation of our energy supply putting ownership into the hands of ‘local authorities, communities and small businesses’, and seeks to create one million green climate jobs.

Corbyn has been an outspoken critics of the chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse vision, branding it a ‘cruel deception’ which involves little more than devolving powers to make spending cuts. He’s also an opponent of HS2, concerned it will turn Northern cities into ‘dormitories for London businesses’. His arguably radical alternative calls for reindustrialisation of the UK, with regional investment in public transport across the North of England rather than focusing on connectivity with the capital. Interestingly this stance contrasts with the pre-election Labour leadership’s support for the Northern Powerhouse pledging to extend this approach across England.

It is no secret that Corbyn’s election leaves the party with an internal divide over policy and his challenge now will be translating his election rhetoric into solid, workable policy for the Labour party.

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