POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Wants To Nationalise The Energy Companies

07/08/2015 09:29 BST | Updated 07/08/2015 09:59 BST
John Stillwell/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn speaks during an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb, in Tavistock Square, London.

Jeremy Corbyn has said a Labour government under his leadership would nationalise the big six energy companies.

The frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest said he would also want public ownership of the gas and national grid. "I would personally wish that the big six were under public control, or public ownership in some form," he said.

According to the Financial Times he explained: "You can do it by majority shareholding; you can do it by increased share sales, which are then bought by the government in order to give a controlling interest."

Today Corbyn rejected the claim by critics he was a "deficit denier" and insisted that cutting services and benefits was not the best way to balance the books.

Writing in the Independent, he tackled some of the charges levelled against him by critics of the anti-austerity message. In a marked contrast to the New Labour philosophy, Corbyn stressed he was "absolutely not relaxed about a few people being filthy rich while others are destitute".

The Islington North MP said: "I detest inequality and injustice. We should not ignore the exploitation of workers, the degradation of our environment – or tax dodging by multinationals, which creates an unfair advantage over local businesses.

"Demanding tax justice is actually a moderate pro-business campaign: it seeks a level playing field for all.

"Many well-off people I speak to, in Islington and around the country, would be quite happy to pay more tax to fund better public services or to pay down our debts.

"Opinion polls bear this out: better off people are no less likely to support higher taxes. A more equal society is better for us all. "

Although Corbyn acknowledged the deficit must be tackled, if the books had not been balanced by 2020 he would not, as a potential Labour prime minister, set an "arbitrary deadline" to get Britain back in the black.

He rejected the suggestion he was "unelectable", highlighting his eight election wins in Islington North, although the constituency is a safe Labour seat.

His plan for success on the more challenging national battleground is to tackle apathy through "straight-talking politics".

"If we had won the support of just one in five of those who didn't vote, then today we might have a Labour government," he said.