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Jeremy Corbyn promises 'People's Rail' & Owen Smith wants to see pay rise for millions

Jeremy Corbyn promises 'People's Rail' & Owen Smith wants to see pay rise for millions

Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

The race to be leader of the Labour Party is heating up: current leader and MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn, has reiterated his pledge to renationalise the railways, while his rival, Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, has promised the “biggest boost to living standards for a generation” if he becomes Prime Minister (PM).

Speaking at a leadership rally in Brighton, Corbyn said: "I want to see Southern back in public ownership. I don't believe it's fulfilling its obligations under the franchise it was given.

“If there’s one thing that can unite this party, and indeed this city, it’s campaigning to get rid of the Southern franchise and bring the railways back into public ownership.  

“Labour will put an end to rip-off Britain.

“Southern has cut 341 services and the government agreed to it. They should have said, ‘if you cut the services, we’ll cut you out’. But that would take a government that stood up for people. What is the point of a franchise agreement […] if a company can walk away from their commitments at no cost?

“So a Labour government will take back the franchises that expire – and any that collapse – and put them into public ownership. And for those that aren’t due to expire anytime soon […] we will seeks to change the law so that failure to meet key performance targets will allow government to take back the franchise.”

He also said it was an “enormous mistake” not to have taken all operating franchises back into public ownership following the 2001 collapse of Railtrack.

Smith, speaking in Milton Keynes, vowed to implement a Living Wage of £8.25 an hour – as recommended by the Living Wage Foundation – for all workers aged 18 and over.

The structure that accompanies this will also ensure that firms do not adapt to the increased costs by reducing overtime or eradicating other perks.

"For the last six years British workers have experienced a perfect Tory storm of falling wages, the watering down of workers’ rights and cruel cuts to social security - resulting in the sharpest fall in living standards ever recorded for low-paid British workers.

"In the face of this onslaught, what's desperately needed is not more slogans, but a clear plan of action which offers solutions. 

"So as the next Labour PM, I would introduce radical plans to deliver the biggest increase in living standards in a generation.

"I am committed to delivering a real Living Wage for everyone over the age of 18 - ending the discrimination of those under 25 - increasing support for low-paid workers through our social security system - cruelly slashed by the Tories - and delivering a revolution in workers’ rights to give people a strong voice at work."