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Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour digital manifesto

Labour leader pledges a digital revolution, with a £25bn investment in high-speed internet, digital citizen passports and open source software

As part of his leadership campaign, Labour leader Jeremy Corby has launched a digital democracy manifesto, promising high-speed broadband and mobile network across the country and a people’s charter of digital liberty rights.

In a speech on digital democracy, Corbyn set out plans to harness digital technologies in Labour’s campaign for the next general election and promised to “democratise the internet in order to rebuild and transform Britain”.

His plans include a “universal service network that will deliver high-speed broadband and mobile network to everyone in Britain”.

Corbyn said he did not think it was fair that people living in London could get 4G anywhere when people in Wales and Cornwall “can’t even get a single bar reception”. He promised to invest in developing the network at a cost of up to £25bn as part of a £500bn infrastructure investment.

“We see that as a very important investment by a proposed national investment bank,” he said.

The national investment bank, along with regional branches, will also help to finance social enterprises that create websites and apps to minimise “the costs of connecting producers with consumers” across a range of industries.

Corbyn also announced plans for a voluntary digital citizen passport – a scheme that sounds very similar to the Government Digital Service’s Gov.uk Verify identity assurance platform.

The digital citizen passport would provide British citizens with a “secure and portable identity” that could be used when interacting with public services such as health, welfare and housing, said Corbyn.

He also said that under his leadership, Labour would launch a public consultation to create a digital bill of rights, as well as requiring all publicly funded software and hardware to be released under an open source licence, allowing anyone to use it.  

Read more about Labour and digital

Ahead of the last general election, Labour’s manifesto placed digital technology at the heart of many of its policies for growth, education and public sector reform.

The Labour leader has now gone one step further and vowed to change the party’s campaign ahead of the next general election to harness digital technologies.

“We have lost two successive general elections,” said Corbyn. “We have plans for what we would do in modern Britain, but we need to win an election. Our leadership campaign is leading the way in harnessing and advancing digital technology.

“The creativity of the networked young generation is phenomenal. We have thousands of young volunteers on our campaign taking part in this digital revolution.

“We will channel this new energy and creativity into Labour’s general election campaign whenever it comes, it’s in this way that Labour can get back into government.”

Corbyn said that under his leadership, Labour would utilise technology to “mobilise the most visible general election campaign ever”. .............................................

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