Jeremy Corbyn (centre) ahead of the launch of the Labour Party's general election manifesto in Birmingham, UK, on November 21 2019. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DARREN STAPLES
Jeremy Corbyn (centre) ahead of the launch of the Labour Party's general election manifesto in Birmingham, UK, on November 21 2019. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DARREN STAPLES

London — Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will urge voters in the UK election to take down bankers and billionaires who “profit from a rigged system”.

Corbyn will declare war on the wealthiest people in Britain on Thursday when he unveils an election manifesto promising radical change across the economy. Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party will unveil its programme next week.

Speaking in Birmingham, central England, Corbyn will say the fury of the “rich and powerful” at Labour’s policies is the best demonstration that they are on the side of ordinary voters. The plans may include a windfall tax on oil companies, the BBC reported.

“If the bankers, billionaires and the establishment thought we represented politics as usual, that we could be bought off, that nothing was really going to change, they wouldn’t attack us so ferociously,” he will say.

Corbyn’s populist pitch for the December 12 election is aimed at voters frustrated and exhausted by a decade of post-financial crisis austerity. At every turn, he’s trying to define himself against Johnson, styling his opponent as the candidate of wealth and privilege.

The manifesto will also include a windfall tax on oil companies after the party leadership overrode the concerns of union bosses about the potential effect on their members’ jobs, the BBC reported. Both Corbyn and his economy spokesperson John McDonnell have previously supported such a tax, but McDonnell appeared to rule it out earlier this week.

Branding his plans a “manifesto for hope” that are fully costed, Corbyn will promise tax increases that target only the top 5% of taxpayers, while protecting everyone else. He’ll pledge to spend about £75bn (R1,429bn) over five years on social housing and promise to invest £100bn in Scotland over the next decade.

But he will also promise to “go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters,” with a £10 minimum wage, more power for renters, stronger unions, and a levy on the biggest polluters that will be used to tackle climate change.

He’s also promised to take utilities into public ownership, including BT Group’s Openreach unit.

“You really can have this plan for real change because you don’t need money to buy it. You just need a vote — and your vote can be more powerful than all their wealth,” he will say.

Corbyn’s rivals in the Conservative Party attacked his efforts to avoid the issue of Brexit. In a debate with Johnson on Tuesday, Corbyn repeatedly refused to say how he would campaign in a second referendum.

On Thursday, Johnson will visit a housing development in the east of England to highlight the Tories’ plans to help first-time buyers. Home secretary Priti Patel will also announce that she will look at doubling the jail sentence for attacking police and other emergency service workers.

With Thomas Penny

Bloomberg