Corbyn Vows Nationalization of BT Broadband: U.K. Campaign Trail

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(Bloomberg) --

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is pledging free broadband for all with a 20 billion pound ($26 billion) plan to nationalize BT Group Plc’s Openreach unit, eclipsing Boris Johnson’s attempts to woo voters at down-at-heel towns with measures to boost high streets.

It’s Labour’s biggest new pledge in the election campaign. The party already plans to nationalize the postal service, the railways and water and energy utilities. Meanwhile, Johnson’s Conservatives want to cut business rates for shops, pubs and cinemas, along with restoring local rail stations closed down as a result of 1960s reforms. He’s trying to win over Labour constituencies in central and Northern England that have been “left behind.”

ELEC for more on the U.K. election

Coming up:

  • Labour’s Corbyn is due to announce more details of his digital policy at 11 a.m.
  • Liberal Democrats finance spokesman Ed Davey will give a speech on the party’s economic plans at 3 p.m, including a pledge to spend an extra 100 billion pounds over 5 years to tackle climate change.
  • Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage will campaign in Wolverhampton after 7 p.m.
  • Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf speaks on crime in Glasgow.

The Polls:

  • A YouGov poll found more Britons identify themselves by their Brexit stance than by political allegiance. Some 86% of people identify themselves as remainers or leavers, versus 68% who identify themselves with a political party.
  • Here’s a summary of recent polls.

Catching Up:

The Markets:

  • The pound rose on Thursday after the Brexit Party said on Twitter they would make a “big” announcement at 11 a.m, before slipping again when Farage said he wouldn’t stand candidates down in Labour-held seats.
  • Sterling was little changed in early trading on Friday.
  • Pound traders are bracing for swings of as much of 3% on the result of December’s election.
  • Ben Melkman, a prominent money manager who oversees $1 billion in assets, is betting on a stronger pound.
  • The likelihood of a Conservative majority edged higher on Thursday, according to betting markets. There is now a 64% chance of such a result, according to Betfair Exchange, up from 62% a day earlier.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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