Every adult in the UK would get six years of free education to help bring vocational study in line with university degrees under Labor, Jeremy Corbyn is pledging today.
Undergraduate and foundation degrees as well as diplomas in areas such as engineering and nursing will all be offered as part of the promise to be announced officially by the Labor leader and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.
The pair will give a speech in Blackpool, as thegeneral electioncampaign enters its seventh day.
Elsewhere, the Conservatives have sparked a new row over how much Labor’s election plans will cost.
And the Liberal Democrats are calling for a £ 5bnfloodprevention fund to protect vulnerable communities from the sort of torrential rain that struck northern England last week.
Boris Johnson is convening a meeting of the government emergency committeeCOBRAto decide a response to the severe flooding later in the afternoon, following pressure from Mr Corbyn and despite saying over the weekend it was “not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency”.
Campaigning will begin in earnest after a brief moment of unity by party leaderson Remembrance Sunday, with Labor trying to shift focus on to its plan to form a national education service.
It is announcing a move to give low-income adults grants through educational courses, if the party wins a majority when voters head to the polls on 12 December.
Ms Rayner and Mr Corbyn are due to pledge those without an A-level or equivalent qualification would be able to attend college and study them for free.
They will also promise to give adults skills to tackle climate change and stop being shut out of work by automation, aiding their bid for a “green industrial revolution”.
The proposals are estimated by Labor to cost £ 2.6bn on education entitlement, and a further £ 573 m on maintenance grants from 2023 / 24.
It said funding for the pledge will be set out in the party’s manifesto , which will be released in a few weeks. But higher taxes on top earners and reversals to giveaways to big businesses have been hinted at.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson hit back, bringing the debate back to Brexit.
He said Labor was “making promises that it simply won’t be able to fulfil” because its plan to hold another EU referendum means the party “won’t be able to focus on domestic priority like education”.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will get Brexit done and keep our economy strong which means we can focus on the people’s priority like education and the NHS,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Tories claimed Labor’s plans would cost taxpayers £ 2, 400 a year.
Speaking to Sky News , Treasury minister Rishi Sunak said the Conservatives had based their estimate on Labor’s 2017 manifesto and recent pledges from conference and the campaign trail so far.
He said: “We have been clear, we don’t think we should borrow for day to day spending.
” We have had a £ 30 BN surpl us from the OBR and we have spent £ 13. 5bn on the NHS, schools and policing.
“We will responsibly invest in long term infrastructure but the debt at the end of parliament will be lower as a share of GDP than it today. That will not be the case with Labor. “
Shadow Treasury minister Jonathan Reynolds called it” fake news “, as the party has not yet published its manifesto.
It came after the Conservatives faced criticism for not placing a cost on their own policies. When asked to, business ministerKwasi Kwartengtold Sophy Ridge On Sunday he wouldn’t “bandy around figures” .
Sam Coates, Sky News’ deputy political editor, said: “The latest Tory analysis relies on the results of its work on the economic consequences of Labor economic plans released on Sunday.
” The original research was criticized for costing policies that will not be appearing in Labor’s manifesto, such as the financial implications of the abolition of all private schools, and relying on heavily disputed research such as the cost of the four-day working week.
“This analysis hinges on a tweet from shadow chancellor John McDonnell from January which says Labor has ruled out borrowing to fund for Labor’s day-to-day spending plans. They use this to suggest there is a black hole in their spending plans that must be filled with big tax rises.
“Labor is likely to contest what the Tories say constitutes ‘day to day spending’, and will spell out more on their fiscal rules and tax plans next week. “
Lib Dem shadow chancellor Ed Davey has called for both the other two major parties to submit their manifestos to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility to be independently costed, raising the need for “proper scrutiny”.
Their leader, Jo Swinson, has called for a flood defense fund ahead of a trip to Doncaster to meet a charity handling donations for those affected by the water.
“Leaving the EU will mean that we lose access to the EU solidarity fund for flood relief and the EU structural investment funds that help maintain and strengthen flood defences and improve flood resilience, “she said.
” The Liberal Democrats are committed to investing in our flood defences and protecting communities from the devastation we have seen in the last week. “