Labour unveils big plans to reshape transport

 

At the heart of Labour's manifesto is a £450bn 'National Transformation Fund' of which £250bn will 'directly fund renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration'.

As with the Conservative manifesto, Labour's document deploys both constructive ambiguity and vagueness at times. However there are enough major transport plans to reshape the sector.

”Local
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

'Labour will kickstart a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform our industry, energy, transport, agriculture and our buildings, while restoring nature,' the document states.

Rail

Labour's flagship transport policy is the nationalisation of the railway network, which remains without a price tag as it will gain the value of the asset.

It does not go into detail about how exactly it will secure the assets, though 'franchise expiry' is one option.

'Our publicly-owned rail company will steer network planning and investments. It will co-ordinate mainline upgrades, resignalling, rolling stock replacement and major projects,' Labour said.

The HS2 project would be expanded under Labour, although again there is no cost next to this, with the line running up to Scotland.

'We will also unlock capacity and extend high-speed rail networks nationwide by completing the full HS2 route to Scotland, taking full account of the environmental impacts of different route options.'

The party also plans to 'deliver rail electrification and expansion across the whole country, including in Wales'.

There would also be a long-term investment plan for Crossrail for the North, otherwise known as Northern Powerhouse Rail, as part of improved connectivity across the northern regions.

Buses

Labour has also set its stall out as a saviour of the buses, having previously said it would spend £1.3bn a year on reinstating the 3,000 routes that have been cut, particularly hitting rural communities.

The money is also set to help provide free travel to the under 25s, although this only appears to be given 'where councils take control of their buses'.

'Labour will ensure that councils can improve bus services by regulating and taking public ownership of bus networks, and we will give them resources and full legal powers to achieve this cost-effectively, thereby ending the race to the bottom in working conditions for bus workers,' the manifesto states.

The buses plan is set to be funded with ringfenced spending from expansion of VED hypothecation and this is why it too is left out of the party's costing document.

Roads

Labour has pledged review all tolled crossings, although it does not say whether this would put the price up or down.

It would also invest in 'neglected local roads, pavements and cycleways safer for the everyday journeys of both drivers and vulnerable road users'.

'We will help children’s health and well-being by ensuring street designs provide freedom for physically active outdoor play and by introducing measures to ensure the zones around our schools are safer, with cleaner air,' the party states.

It would also bring forward the Tory commitment to end sales of new combustion engine vehicles by 10 years to 2030.

Aviation

Labour's manifesto says any expansion of airports 'must pass our tests on air quality, noise pollution, climate change obligations and countrywide benefits' - it does specify what these tests are.

Skills

Labour announced reforms to the failing Apprenticeship Levy to make it easier for employers to spend the levy by allowing it to be used for a wider range of accredited training, as well as increasing the amount that can be transferred to non-levy-paying employers to 50%.

There would also be an online matching service to help levy-paying businesses find smaller businesses to transfer their funds to.

Housing

By the end of the Parliament, Labour aims to build at least 150,000 council and social homes a year, with 100,000 of these built by councils for social rent under a £75bn programme.

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