Britain should not be afraid of debt or borrowing money to fund investment, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
The Labour leader responded to Theresa May’s jibes that he wants to “bankrupt Britain” by insisting that taking on debt can save money in the long-run if it is used to invest.
Mr Corbyn said a Labour government would provide a “new economic settlement” which would involve investing to support tens of thousands of high-skilled, high-paid, high-productivity jobs and to decarbonise the economy.
Urging the Tories to “stop dithering” and start investing, he told the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno: “Last week, the Prime Minister twice accused me of wanting to bankrupt Britain by borrowing money to fund investment.
“But as every businessperson knows there is a world of difference between borrowing for capital spending and borrowing to fund the payroll and day-to-day trading or service delivery.
“And as any home owner who has ever had a mortgage knows, taking on huge debt can save you money in the long run.
“We should not be afraid of debt or borrowing.
“At the end of the Second World War, the Labour government of Clement Attlee didn’t say, ‘oh dear, debt is 250% of GDP - let’s park those grand ideas about public ownership; a National Health Service, building council homes, or creating the protection of social security’.
“No. They built a country to be proud of. They established the institutions that made our country fairer, more equal and stopped people being held back.”
Mr Corbyn also called for unity following the Westminster terror attack.
“Our values of unity and solidarity are needed now more than ever,” he said.
“We know from previous occasions that some sick people have tried to sow division and hate.
“So please, look after each other, help one another and think of one another.”