Labour’s manifesto launch on Tuesday was overshadowed somewhat by mass confusion within the party over whether or not it was going to scrap the freeze on welfare.
Jeremy Corbyn gave seemingly conflicting answers when asked if Labour would reverse the Tories’ benefit freeze, introduced last year.
A Labour spokesperson tried to clear up matters by saying the policy would be axed.
In a statement they said: “As our manifesto and costings documents explain, Labour is committed to injecting £10 billion over five years into the benefits system to review and redesign it for the economy we want to create and make it more effective at reducing poverty and supporting people in work.”
This was then contradicted by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry who said it wouldn’t be “reversed entirely” if the party won the election.
In an attempt to clear up matters, Thornberry later appeared on Channel 4 News where she preceded to further muddy the waters.
So if you look at the spending commitments you’ll find the… wait a minute… just let me find it… we’ve got… there!
The freeze means most welfare payments are now capped at their April 2016 level for three years instead of rising with wages, and is estimated to affect 11million families across the UK.
Scrapping the freeze would add billions to Labour’s spending plans, and was not mentioned in its “Funding Britain’s Future” document published alongside the manifesto.
There were also no costings on renationalising the railways, Royal Mail, the electricity board and UK water companies.
Talk on C4 News then turned to how this was all going to be funded.
Conservative Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: “Today confirms what we already knew: Jeremy Corbyn’s nonsensical ideas simply don’t add up. And every single working family in this country would pay for Corbyn’s chaos with higher taxes.
“It’s clear that proposal after proposal in this manifesto will mean more borrowing and debt: from promises on benefits, to promises on prison guards, to promises on nationalising the water network.
A Conservative source added: “This may be Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto – but the costings behind it are pure Diane Abbott.”