They say the best things in life are free, but Labour’s manifesto, packed with offers of free stuff, comes with a heavy price tag. Before its publication, I rattled off a list of the freebies I could think of: broadband; university tuition; personal care for the over-65s; dental check-ups; prescription charges; hospital parking and more free childcare.
Reading the manifesto, there were more: shares for workers; bus travel for under-25s; lifelong learning; school meals for all primary pupils and TV licences for over-75s.
Many items on this wish list are popular, as are Labour’s nationalisation plans. The list is longer than the party’s 2017 programme, and thus much more expensive. The Resolution Foundation think tank says Labour is “doubling down”: its proposed extra spending jumps from £70bn two years ago to £135bn – £55bn from higher investment (with climate change a bigger priority) and £80bn on day-to-day spending.
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