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Jeremy Corbyn Pledges Investment In The NHS, Housing, And Childcare

"You’ll pay for it through an expanding economy and driving down tax evasion," he told BuzzFeed News.

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Jeremy Corbyn has pledged billions of pounds' worth of investment in infrastructure and extra funding for council housing, childcare, and the NHS as part of a 10-point plan that he says will form the basis of his pitch to the country at the next general election.

The Labour leader made the announcement in Dagenham, where he also insisted the party would not split and said its current poor poll ratings were down to Labour rebels forcing a leadership election.

Asked by BuzzFeed News how he would pay for his billions of pounds worth of pledges, Corbyn said he would increase government revenue by growing the UK economy and collecting more tax.

"You’ll pay for it through an expanding economy and driving down tax evasion," he said. "The whole point of our economic plan is investment: investment to improve the infrastructure. That in turn creates jobs, which creates greater economic expansion, and brings about a greater level of tax income for the exchequer."

Corbyn, who is spending the summer campaigning against challenger Owen Smith to retain the Labour leadership, said he wanted to build a "high-skilled, high-tech, low-carbon economy that ends austerity and leaves no one and nowhere left behind".

He said he was confident Labour could win the next general election, blaming the party's terrible current poll ratings on the leadership contest: "Yes, we are having a leadership campaign that has probably damaged temporarily Labour support. But I think the principles I have set out here today are things that will actually appeal to a very wide range of people in our society."

Instead, the Labour leader insisted he would fight for a different post-Brexit economic settlement: "The ideas that are floating around the Conservative party are of cutting corporate taxation and of cutting taxation at the top end, thus increasing inequality in our society and turning Britain into a bargain-basement Ireland on the shore of Europe, where people will come in and make loads of money on the basis of low wages and an unregulated economy."

He criticised the effect of the "turbo-Thatcherism" of the Tory government: "At the end of the first term of a Labour government we won't be talking about left-behind Britain – we'll be talking about inclusion in Britain.

"This is a preparation for a general election when we can win that general election and produce decency and real opportunity for everyone in our society."

He also mocked journalists who questioned him on his electability, rather than his policies, and insisted the majority of Labour MPs who oppose his leadership would not split and form a new party: "I'm sure no Labour MP would dream of walking away from the family of the Labour party that helped to put them into parliament in order to represent Labour views and Labour values."

Corbyn was introduced to the stage by Fay Hough, a local Dagenham Labour activist who is a carer for her autistic son. She told BuzzFeed News the Labour leader inspired her because he has "empathy" and understands ordinary people: "He's finally a politician I can believe in, you feel it for the first time in a long time. People are fed up. They feel like they're not being listened to. And it's hard to gain people's trust again in politics."

She also dismissed concerns he could not win a general election: "I always say don't believe what you read in the media. It's all scaremongering. Look at the rallies he's done recently and the number of people who attended. The majority of Labour people are backing Corbyn."

Hough said she felt Owen Smith was "not as passionate" and had a stark message for MPs who might continue to oppose Corbyn if he remains as party leader when the result is announced on 24 September: "If you're not going to back your party leader then it's not the party you should be involved with."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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