Last week, Owen Smith accused Jeremy Corbyn of “offering slogans but not solutions” as he prepared to do battle with the veteran socialist for the Labour Party leadership.
The former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary piled more pressure on Corbyn on Wednesday morning when he announced his own extensive list of policies.
Speaking in south Yorkshire, Smith pledged a set of policies focused on achieving “equality of outcome” rather than “equality of opportunity.”
The MP for Pontypridd promised to introduce a “wealth tax” on the wealthiest 1% of people. This would mean that people earning over £150,000 would be charged 15% on unearned income — on investment, for example.
He also promised a “workplace revolution” which would see zero hour contracts abolished, employees guaranteed a minimum number of working hours, and an end the freeze in public sector pay.
Despite being dubbed as a Labour moderate, Smith describes himself as a socialist and it is clear from looking at his list of policies that his vision for Britain could have some resonance with Corbyn supporters.
Here is Smith’s policy list in full:
1. A pledge to focus on equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity.
2. Scrapping the Department of Work and Pensions and replacing it with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security.
3. Introducing modern wage councils for hotel, shop, and care workers to strengthen terms and conditions.
4. Banning zero hour contracts.
5. Ending the public sector pay freeze.
6. Extending the right to information and consultation to cover all workplaces with more than 50 employees.
7. Ensuring worker’s representation on remuneration committees.
8. Repealing the Trade Union Act.
9. Increase spending on NHS by 4% in real-terms in every year of the next parliament.
10. Commit to bringing NHS funding up to European average within the first term of Labour government.
11. Greater spending on schools and libraries.
12. Re-instate the 50p top rate of income tax.
13. Reverse the reductions in corporation yax due to take place over the next four years.
14. Reverse cuts to inheritance tax announced in the Summer Budget.
15. Reverse cuts to capital gains yax announced in the Summer Budget.
16. Introduce a new wealth tax on the top 1% earners.
17. “A British New Deal”, unveiling £200 billion of investment over five years.
18. A commitment to invest tens of billions in the north of England and to bring forward High Speed 3.
19. A pledge to build 300,000 homes in every year of the next parliament — 1.5 million over five years.
20. Ending the scandal of fuel poverty by investing in efficient energy.
Smith gave an impassioned pitch for why he should replace Corbyn as Labour’s next leader. He said the party had lost a sense of “national mission” and must start providing a “pragmatic” alternative to the Tory government.
He said the party must have “faith that our country can’t just have a brilliant past but a future as bright as its past… Where the fruits of our collective success are shared once more, more equally.”
He added: “To achieve that, we need revolution not evolution. Not some misty-eyed romantic notion of a revolution to overthrow capitalism and return to a socialist nirvana.
“But a cold-eyed, practical, socialist revolution, where we build a better Britain and look the country in the eye and say ‘this is possible’.”
At one stage during the press conference, Smith was asked to explain his choice of language after he said Labour didn’t have the strength to “smash her [Theresa May] back on her heels.”
“I don’t literally want to smash Theresa May,” Owen responded. “I’m not advocating violence in any way shape or form. But I am saying come on let’s smash the Tories back.”
You can watch that moment in the clip below:
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