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Labour manifesto: Jeremy Corbyn pledges to improve rail and bus services by putting Government and councils in charge

Taking bus and rail services back into public control is a key part of Labour's manifesto, which also includes £48.6bn extra spending every year

Jeremy Corbyn is promising better bus and rail services if Labour wins the general election , his manifesto says.

Labour's election manifesto, launched by the party leader in Bradford, highlighted plans to put the Government back in charge of railways, instead of firms like Virgin Trains.

And local councils would set up their own bus companies, replacing existing privately-run services.

The manifesto says this would mean rail fares are capped, limiting the annual increase in ticket prices.

There would be free wi-fi across the rail network.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn holds a copy of the manifesto as he arrives with Deputy Leader Tom Watson prior to the launch of the Labour Party Election Manifesto, at Bradford University

The Government would ensure "safe staffing levels" on every train - reversing the current trend of having driver-only services.

And there would be better access for people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, councils would have new powers to regulate privately-run bus services, or to set up their own bus companies "publicly run for passengers not profit" if they prefer.

And a Labour government would protect bus services that serve local schools, hospitals and remote rural areas.

Labour would also continue with the present Government's plans to build the HS2 high speed rail line between London, Birmingham and Manchester.

But it would go further and link it to a new line between the North East and North West, which Labour calls "Crossrail for the North".

Mr Corbyn said: "One of our key commitments is a Crossrail for the North, from Manchester across to Newcastle".

Letting the Government and local councils take control of transport was just one of a wide range of measures in Labour's election manifesto.

Labour also set out plans to spend £48.6 billion a year more than the present government, including axing the bedroom tax, increasing public sector pay by £4 billion, spending £6.3 billion a year extra on schools and £5 billion extra on health.

Jeremy Corbyn at the launch in Bradford of the Labour Party manifesto for the General Election.

The education funding would protect areas - like Birmingham - which are set to lose money from the Conservative Government's present plans to change the school funding formula. Prime Minister Theresa May has said this plan, which would cost Birmingham schools £20 million a year, is a consultation rather than a firm decision.

But the biggest single item of spending in Labour's proposals is £11.2 billion a year to axe university tuition fees and restore student grants.

While this is likely to be extremely popular with students, critics will argue that it is a boost for people who are likely to be relatively privileged in later life.

The £48.6 billion spending is funded largely through extra taxes on business and the wealthy, including increasing corporation tax paid by employers by £19.4 billion a year, charging 45% income tax on earnings above £80,000 and charging 50% income tax on earnings above £123,000.

A Labour government would also spend £250 billion a year on infrastructure over ten years, including the new northern rail line, the manifesto said.

It was unclear how much of this money, or cash for Labour's plan to nationalise the water industry, would be funded through borrowing.

Labour also plans to create a new Minister for England.

Launching the manifesto, Mr Corbyn challenged Conservative leader Theresa May to face him in a televised debate - something she has so far refused to do.

He said: "Prime Minister, come out of hiding and let’s have that debate on television so millions can make up their minds.

"What are you afraid of? It’s not too late

"Let’s debate our two manifestos

"Have the argument.

"I am confident that once the British people get the chance to study the issues, l ook at the promises, t hey will decide that Britain has been held back by the Tories.

"That the few have prevailed over the many for too long.

"And that they will decide it is now time for Labour.

"Our country will only work for the many not the few if opportunity is in the hands of the many. So our manifesto is a plan for everyone to have a fair chance to get on in life, because our country will only succeed when everyone succeeds."

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto, 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.

"It is simply not worth taking the risk of this shambles being in charge of our economy and our Brexit negotiations in 3 weeks’ time. For strong, stable leadership through Brexit and beyond there is only one choice at this election: Theresa May and her Conservative team."

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