New Britain
People's Britain

Communist Party General Election Manifesto

Printer: Farleigh Press Ltd. (T.U.), Watford, Herts.—CP/A/84/3/66
Date: March 1966
HTML Markup: Pierre Marshall, April 2021

Cover of the manifesto

What is the real issue in this election?
Britain needs a new policy, one which would modernise the country in the interests of the people.

The aim should be good housing for everyone at low rents; higher wages and longer holidays; stable prices; better education for all the children; decent pensions and proper care for the old; an end to poverty; and an assurance of peace.

All these things can be achieved if the government solves the economic problems and sets out to use the country’s wealth for the common good.

The Tories will never do this. They are discredited and will be defeated in this election.

Labour says—we have begun to build the new Britain, give us time to complete the job. But with its present programme, Labour will never build a new Britain, however long it governs.

An Independent Policy

The government must act independently and refuse to give way to the pressure of British and foreign bankers. It must get rid of the enormous financial burden of maintaining troops and bases overseas, and cut down the huge investment abroad which drains away resources needed to modernise our own industry. The arms programme costing £2172 million a year should be halved. This would release scientific manpower and skilled labour to help rebuild Britain. For this we need an independent policy for peace and disarmament.

There must be a radical reconstruction of the country’s economy to open the way for rapid economic expansion and planning, and the full use of science and technology. This means curbing the power of big business.

The Communist Party puts forward practical, immediate policies to solve the country’s problems. Britain has all the resources to carry them out; and they could be operated within the lifetime of the coming Parliament.

What in brief do we stand for in this election?

This we explain in detail and show how it can be won.

Our proposals differ radically from those of all the other parties because they challenge the power and interests of big business. It is this power which stands in the way of progress and prevents the country’s resources being used to build a new Britain. Ours is the only Party with policies that put the people’s needs first.

We do this because our aim is eventually to replace the present capitalist system—which is based on the drive for ever increasing private profit—by a socialist system in which the people own the factories, land, banks and other resources and develop them for the common good.

We appeal to all who believe that Britain needs far-reaching changes of a socialist character to study our policy, decide to vote Communist and help elect Communist MPs.

Reject the Tories

The Conservative Party is the party of the richest and most powerful industrial, financial and landed interests. The Tories will never build the new Britain for the people. Their main concern is the pursuit of private profit, as much as they can get.

They are naturally trying to make capital out of the errors and omissions of the Labour Government. But they cannot conceal the black record of thirteen years of Tory rule.

Their election policy is an arrogant ruling class charter. They want to shackle the trade unions; change the social services so that the means test will be more widely used and the scope of the services cut down to the benefit of the great insurance companies; they support a bigger arms budget; they are clearly drawing closer to advocating the recognition of the white racialist regime in Southern Rhodesia.

The Labour government’s record

The Labour Government came to power on the crest of a campaign whose theme was the building of the new Britain. They were “to create a dynamic, just and go-ahead Britain”.

No one expected them to do this in eighteen months, especially as they were faced with an extremely serious balance of payments crisis bequeathed them by the Tories.

From the very beginning the government went out of their way to assure big business and the City of their goodwill and understanding and their desire to co-operate.

They have it is true introduced some social reforms such as the Rent Act, the abolition of prescription charges, the Redundancy Payments Act and the 1965 social insurance benefits increase. There is to be a measure of rates relief and some help with mortgages for owner-occupiers with low incomes.

But housewives are faced with rising prices; rents and fares have gone up, and the modest increase given to the pensioners has been eaten into by higher costs of living.

At the same time the government has made the attack on wages and salaries the very centre of its programme. For this purpose they brought in the incomes policy, designed to hold back wages while profits remain untouched.

Shackling the Trade Unions

To enforce this policy they introduced into the last session of Parliament legislation which would shackle the trade unions, undermine the whole basis of free wage negotiations, and face workers fighting for higher wages with the threat of crippling fines and imprisonment.

All major measures of social advance have been postponed for an indefinite period. They are dependent we are told on our achieving a 4 per cent annual growth in the economy. Labour’s policies, however, far from leading to economic growth, have resulted in economic stagnation.

The guaranteed minimum income which was to have been the main instrument for raising the lowest living standards, has been shelved. National Assistance, with its means test, will continue for years to come to be the main method of alleviating the worst poverty, although its name will be changed. The policy of half pay at retirement has been postponed.

Why has the Labour Government’s policy brought it into increasing conflict with so many who voted Labour in the last election?

Because the methods it adopted to tackle the crisis were very much the same as those which had been tried by the Tories when they were in office, and which had proved unsuccessful—the credit squeeze, attacks on wages and salaries, restriction of social expenditure.

Balance of Payments Crisis

There were two main causes of the balance of payments crisis which the Labour Government was faced with: overseas military expenditure (£350 million a year in foreign currency) and long term private capital investment abroad (£275 million a year).

If drastic action had been taken to cut these two items the crisis would have been solved. But this would have meant tough measures against the industrialists and a foreign policy no longer based on maintaining troops abroad to protect private British business investments overseas.

Instead arms spending has gone up to the colossal figure of £2172 million a year.

What is this enormous arms bill for? It is certainly not for the defence of Britain. The Labour Government had told us that there is no threat of aggression from Russia. They have said too that if war did start in Europe it would inevitably become a nuclear war— and we know that in such a war we would be destroyed.

A great part of the arms expenditure is for Labour’s East of Suez policy to hold down national liberation movements and protect the City of London’s investments.

In return for American support for this policy Britain has slavishly supported America’s shameful aggression in Vietnam, despite nation-wide protests, and the danger of the war escalating and threatening the peace of the world.

Communist policy for Britain

Our aim is to set Britain on the path of socialist change. That is the only way to achieve a good life for the people.

There are no technical limits today to the improvements we can bring about with the help of science and technology if they are properly used.

What stands in the way are the powerful industrial and financial concerns that run the country and control the nation’s wealth.

Real planning for the common good is impossible while their power remains. Real prosperity depends on better living standards for the great mass of the people.

Our policies aim to bring about these changes.

1. Stop price increases
Improve living standards
Defend Trade Union freedom

It is high time that something was done to stop the soaring cost of living. The government should introduce a national price stop and force the big firms to cut profits so that prices are maintained at their present level. It should investigate the prices of those firms which are the price leaders in various industries; and stabilise the price of food, using subsidies where necessary. Cut purchase tax on all except luxury goods.

The trade unions must press ahead with all their strength for increases in wages, and use their organised power to end the incomes policy. It is an unwarranted interference with the unions’ right to improve wages and conditions by collective bargaining, and it hits especially hard the low paid workers.

It aims to hold down wages and salaries below the level of what could be won from the employers in collective bargaining through the strength of trade union and professional organisations.

The Labour Government, determined to hold back wages, tabled legislation which would make it possible legally to prevent the operation, for up to four months, of agreed settlements for wage increases and improved working conditions. Trade unionists, using their organised strength, whether by strike or any other means, to secure a speedy carrying out of settlements, would be threatened with fines and jail sentences.

If this compulsion becomes law the next step of the government could be to make the findings of the Prices and Incomes Board binding on all trade union and professional organisations.

End Incomes Policy

The incomes policy, the wages and salaries legislation and the Prices and Incomes Board should be abolished.

The unions should press ahead for wage increases, reductions in hours, longer holidays and improved fringe benefits. It is the increased wage rates, earnings and salaries won in the recent period which have maintained the purchasing power of the people, and prevented the credit squeeze of the government leading to more unemployment.

The plight of the lower paid workers calls for special attention. They must be helped to organise and win wage increases far higher than the so-called norm; and the government must be made to operate its policy of equal pay for women.

All working people must help to defend the unions from the attacks of the employers who are pressing the Royal Commission on Trade Unions to endorse proposals for limiting trade union rights. The employers want new legislation that will make the unions vulnerable to ruinous law suits, and make possible the imposition of monetary penalties on strikers for every day that they remain on strike.

For generations the trade unions have fought for higher wages and better conditions for their members and won many advances, which have brought great benefits not only to trade union members but to the whole working population. In recent years trade union activity has been growing fast among professional workers too. All the people must defend the unions as their own democratic institutions, and urge all Parliamentary candidates to oppose the antitrade union legislation.

2. Eliminate poverty
Expand the social services

It has recently been estimated that today one in every seven of the population of our country live in great poverty. They are those who can least fend for their rights—the old, the sick and the children in the large families of low paid workers.

It is a shocking criticism of our society and cries out for bold measures to be taken. Here is a top priority for which money must be found and found speedily.

What should be done?

Pensions, unemployment and other social and sickness benefits should be immediately increased to £5 for a single person and £9 for a couple, with an additional 30/- for each child. And we must look forward to a further speedy rise in which pensions would be a higher proportion of average male earnings.

Family allowances should be extended to cover the first child in the family and should be raised to 15/-.

Married women paying the same contributions should receive the same unemployment benefit as single women. The earnings rule for pensions and the wage stop rule for National Assistance should be entirely abolished.

The unions must give special consideration to raising the wages of lower paid workers.


The Labour Government’s legislation has so far done nothing to ease the shortage of homes or bring down the cost of housing to the majority of tenants and to owner occupiers.

Rent increases are one of the main factors in the rising cost of living. Existing rents of council houses must be pegged as a first step: and the government must assist all local authorities to prevent rents and rates from rising by providing loans at no more than two per cent interest rates.

The Rent Act should be amended to prevent any increases for private landlord tenants; to enable rents of tenants decontrolled by the Tories to be substantially reduced; and give protection against landlords seeking to use loopholes in order to harass and evict tenants.

A crash programme

There should be a crash programme to clear the slums and provide every family with a separate dwelling within ten years. To do this we will need to build half a million houses a year, four-fifths of which should be put up by public authorities. The most modern methods of industrialised and standardised building should be concentrated on house building.

Owner occupiers should be provided with mortgages at three per cent.

The annual rate increases must be ended. The Exchequer should bear a larger share of the cost of the local services and loans should be provided for schools and other social development at 2 per cent.

These measures should be a preliminary to replacing the rating system by a local income tax.


If Britain is to play a full part in the tremendous scientific revolution taking place today we need to provide the best education for our children.

We must spend £200 million a year on school building, and vastly increase the teacher training programme to reduce classes to 30 in a reasonable time.

The pledge to abolish the 11 plus and all forms of selection must be implemented, comprehensive education established and the leaving age raised to 16 by 1970. Greater resources must be provided for the primary schools.

Labour has denied the councils the money and resources needed to improve the schools and the training college building programme has actually been cut.

The private fee paying sector of education must be abolished without delay, and its buildings handed over to the local authorities and the government.

Further education by day release or its equivalent should be compulsory for school leavers to the age of 18. This will require a big increase in the number and size of technical colleges.

We should create a unified system of higher education, with institutions of equal status and conditions. Our aim is 500,000 full time students by the early 1970s and the abolition of all fees and the provision of higher student grants.

The salaries and conditions of all who work in the educational service should be substantially improved, and a much larger share borne by the Exchequer.


There will have to be intensive building of new hospitals; at least £100 million a year should be allocated for this purpose.

A network of health centres should be built, fully equipped and staffed. The doctors working in them should be paid by salary. There should be close co-operation between the health centres, the hospitals and the local authority services. Existing surgery premises should be improved to a minimum agreed standard.

The government should provide the money necessary to establish an adequate national cervical cancer screening service in order to end the unnecessary suffering and loss of life caused by this preventable disease.

Child care facilities should be greatly expanded as more married women go out to work.

The entire health service must be available to all, free of charge, and all remaining charges must be abolished. Attempts to set up a private fee paying service must be opposed and an end made to a practice of giving preferential treatment to those who can pay for it.

3. Modernise Britain for the people

Any plan really designed to develop the nation’s resources for the improvement of living standards would have to include measures to break the grip of the millionaires on industry and finance and curb the drive for private profit.

But Labour’s National Plan is based on co-operation with the wealthy industrialists and indeed calls for the creation of new monopolies. The government made available £150 million to encourage mergers.

At the same time there is no intention of taking over privately owned industries or firms, and steel nationalisation has been postponed. Nor does Labour propose to carry through a redistribution of incomes or wealth in favour of the people.

There can be no real modernisation and planning of the economy and resources until the key sectors of the economy are nationally owned.

The most pressing first step is to nationalise the steel industry which is the basis of all our industrial development. Because of the backwardness of the steel industry it continues to handicap our entire economy. Without massive assistance from the state the privately owned industry cannot keep up to date. The government must nationalise the steel industry with the utmost speed.

An integrated national transport plan is urgently needed, based on rails, the renationalisation of long distance road haulage and nationalisation of the docks and all civil air transport.

The country also needs a genuine fuel and power plan with full opportunity for development of the nationalised coal industry.

Agriculture must be expanded to save imports strengthen our independence and enable us to make a contribution to easing the world food shortage. For this adequate resources must be provided to ensure technical progress, and a much improved standard of life for agricultural workers and small farmers. The guaranteed price system must be maintained. Evictions from tied cottages must be ended.

The discrimination against the co-operative movement must be ended.


On the list for future nationalisation, the government should place such industries as chemicals, building, aircraft and sections of engineering and shipbuilding. In general there should be the strictest limitation of compensation charges.

Planning for the people’s needs can never be carried through while the land remains in private hands. This makes necessary the nationalisation of all urban land other than that of owner occupiers and all land about to be developed for housing, industrial or social purposes.

The existing nationalised industries should undergo radical reorganisation and their scope be extended wherever possible. For example they should undertake the manufacture of their own requirements in plant and machinery where this can be done.

Nationalisation must be made to serve the people instead of big business as it has done in the past. To enable it to do this the very heavy interest charges will have to be drastically cut. The governing boards should be made up of workers and technicians from the industry and the representatives of the employing class removed.

These measures are only first steps, since effective planning in the interests of the people is only possible if the power of the great monopolies is broken.

4. Eliminate the payments deficit
Social justice in taxation

The Labour, Tory and Liberal parties in Britain take the view that taxation of the rich has reached its limit, and that all further social advance must be financed by a rising standard of productivity of the economy.

We have no doubt whatever that such a rise in the power to produce wealth is absolutely necessary, though we insist that it cannot be achieved under parties whose present policies are based on the defence of big business interests and on government co-operation with them.

We do insist however, that wealth and income are still so unequally divided that there is plenty of scope for greater taxation of the rich to provide the money for expansion of the social services.

The corporation tax should be increased beyond the 40 per cent contemplated and the capital gains tax should be increased. A 1% annual wealth tax should be imposed on great personal fortunes.

The arms budget should be cut by half. This would make a great contribution to the improvement of the economy and the balance of payments and would provide considerable resources for social development. Wasteful expenditure of public money would also be reduced by lower interest charges and land nationalisation.

The present £400 million deficit in the balance of payments could be turned into a surplus even without increased exports if the £350 million of overseas military expenditure abroad in foreign currency was ended and the £275 million net outflow of long term capital investments was drastically cut.

5. End the US war in Vietnam
End Colonialism
Make Britain a power for Peace

Britain still has a vast chain of foreign bases. Their purpose is to defend the still extensive financial interests of the British capitalists even in independent ex-colonial countries.

In order to maintain this policy the Labour Government has tied Britain closer than ever to the U.S. which is pursuing a similar policy on a greater scale, a policy aimed at suppressing the liberation movement all over Asia and Africa—the struggle of people for the right to run their own countries and decide their own future.

The Labour Government has echoed American hostility to the Chinese People’s Republic and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Leading Ministers have hinted that not only are bases and troops in Asia needed for military action against China, but that it is also necessary to keep British nuclear weapons in reserve for this.

No other European state takes up a similar attitude or is engaging in such massive military expenditure in Asia. Britain alone is playing a “world role”—in reality a subservient role—in relation to the U.S. In so doing the Labour Government has placed enormous obstacles in the way of Britain’s economic revival.

Dangerous Policies

By clinging to Nato and by its support for an Atlantic Nuclear Force which would bring West German fingers closer to the nuclear trigger the government has contributed to the maintenance of dangerous tensions in Europe.

These policies are opposed by ever increasing sections of the labour and progressive movement, but have been fully supported by the Tories.

In Southern Rhodesia the government has allowed Smith to get away with UDI and would not take the necessary measures to remove the white settler dictatorship. It has refused to support sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and allowed military equipment to be exported there. In Aden and British Guiana a State of Emergency has been imposed.

Britain must stand firmly on the side of peace. The first essential is to condemn the U.S. invasion of Vietnam, demand the withdrawal of all American, Commonwealth and other foreign troops and allow the people of Vietnam freedom to settle their own affairs. The Geneva Agreement must be implemented.

The present colonial wars in Malaysia and elsewhere must be ended; all bases should be closed down and the troops brought home.

Undemocratic policies pursued by the British Government in the Middle East and in British Guiana should be abandoned.

In Southern Rhodesia all necessary measures should be taken to end the white settler dictatorship, suspend the Constitution, secure the release of the political prisoners. A new Constitutional Conference should be called with representatives of the main parties, to prepare a new democratic constitution based on one man one vote. This would pave the way for genuine independence.

The “East of Suez” policy, involving enormous, wasteful expenditure and bringing us into conflict with the people of Africa and Asia, must be completely abandoned. The Chinese People’s Republic must be given her rightful seat in the UN.

Renounce Nuclear Weapons

British influence must be used to secure an international agreement on disarmament. The government should renounce British nuclear weapons and work for an international ban to cover all testing, use, manufacture and export of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Polaris base and all other American bases in Britain should be closed down, and all facilities ended for West German military forces to train in Britain. All plans to give West Germany direct or indirect access to nuclear weapons should be opposed.

The Nato alliance and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation should be dissolved and replaced by a European Security Treaty.

6. Defend and extend democracy

As well as working for new economic and social policies, it is very important that the whole labour and progressive movement should be on guard to defend hard won democratic rights and secure a great extension of democracy.

Democracy would be strengthened by the introduction of proportional representation. The £150 deposit required of all candidates in general elections should be abolished. Votes should be granted at 18. These measures would ensure the genuine expression of the political opinions of the people.

Democracy also means that the democratic organisations of the people, particularly the trade unions, are free to act in defence of their members, and are not hampered by restrictive legislation and regulations.

Instead of the House of Lords being strengthened it should be abolished and Parliaments established for Wales and Scotland.

Democratic rights are undermined when the television authorities and the Labour, Tory and Liberal parties get together to carve up television and broadcasting time and deny other parties their rightful share, especially during elections.

Television Time

Television is now the main means of communication between political parties and the electorate. To deprive a party of a fair share of it, or deny its right to use it, is to diminish its democratic right to participate fully in elections. It is a brazen attempt on the part of these three main parties to restrict political debate.

On democratic grounds full rights on radio and television should be given to the Communist Party and other properly constituted democratic parties, both during and in between elections.

The greatest restriction on democracy is the power of the handful of people who own the nation’s resources and run the great industrial and financial concerns of the country. They take decisions affecting the well being and future of the whole of the ordinary people.

Our earlier proposals therefore to curb their power and bring the people into the real management of industry will provide not only economic and social progress and security, but a great extension of democracy as well.

7. Racial equality

The Tories have found that racial propaganda can win votes in certain areas and are exploiting racialist feeling in a most unscupulous fashion.

The right wing of the Labour Party has surrendered to this prejudice, toned down its Race Relations Act and continued to operate the Commonwealth Immigrants Act introduced by the Tories. The Labour Government’s notorious White Paper of August 1965, introducing a very limited official quota for coloured immigrants is a further concession to the racialists.

In spite of the obvious labour shortage and the fact that more people are leaving Britain than are coming into it, the important contribution made by immigrants to British industries and services is being deliberately ignored.

Racialism must be opposed and defeated. The Commonwealth Immigrants Act should be repealed and the White Paper withdrawn. The Act against race discrimination and incitement to race hatred should be strengthened and strictly enforced. It should be extended to cover discrimination in respect of employment and housing, and deliberate acts of discrimination should be made a penal offence.

The Communist Party has concentrated, in putting forward these policies, on the immediate problems facing the country. They should be supported by the widest sections of the people and the labour movement. In all the constituencies where there is no Communist candidate, we urge the electors to vote Labour and press these policies on the Labour candidate.

Vote Communist

If you are convinced that the way forward is along the lines we have set out here and you live in a constituency where a Communist candidate is standing, the only logical thing for you to do 1s to vote for this policy—vote Communist.

The bigger the Communist vote the clearer the demand for far reaching changes.

As a party we shall do our utmost to bring about a crushing defeat for the Tories. During the thirteen years in which they ruled the country staggered from one crisis to another. Their present policies, if they were given the opportunity of operating them, would be even more ruinous to Britain.

Britain’s problems can only be solved by a new, different policy of progress and peace. That will be achieved all the more quickly if there are Communist MPs to advocate it and work for it in Parliament.

Communist MPs would work with Labour MPs to promote progressive policies. They would be the best guarantee that the real problems underlying the crisis would be brought into the open for debate, and that solutions would be put forward in the interests of the people.

Shadow Boxing

The shadow boxing and noisy argument over trivialities which occupy so much Parliamentary time are a cover for the broad agreement between the three other parties on all the main questions. It lowers the prestige of Parliament and prevents full democratic discussion of the things that matter.

Communist members of Parliament would use Parliament to show the people more clearly what are the problems that face us. They would do this inside Parliament and outside, in meetings all over the country, helping to inspire united action by the people for thoroughgoing changes.

Our fifty-three candidates have already proved their outstanding ability as champions of the people. In factories, trade unions, professional organisations, in localities they have been elected to positions of trust and responsibility because of their loyalty and devotion to the interests of their fellow workers and professional colleagues.

Together with other Communists they are already deeply involved in the struggle to get new policies. Now they are asking you to give them the opportunity to work for this where it is greatly needed, in Parliament.

Loyalty to Principles Communist candidates put forward policies that are in the true interests of the people. This means that they stand for the best principles of the labour and progressive movement. It is loyalty to these principles that counts, not unquestioning loyalty to leaders, irrespective of what they do.

Between 1945 and 1951 Labour leaders misused their supporters’ loyalty to carry out wrong policies and opened the way for the Tories to come back to power. We are still paying the price in economic instability, shortage of housing and educational opportunities.

In this election those who are loyal to the socialist principles of the labour, trade union and progressive movement should vote Communist if they have the opportunity to do so. In voting Communist they will vote for policies which would help to put Britain on the path to socialism.

Every vote for a Communist candidate is a blow struck for the new Britain.

The more people who vote Communist the clearer the signal to the profiteers and speculators that the days when they can enrich themselves at the people’s expense are numbered. And the greater will be the inspiration and strength of all who strive for a Britain worthy of its people, whether they work in the factories, pits, offices, schools or laboratories.

Make a Real Change

The world is changing rapidly. Tremendous possibilities now exist of raising high the standard of living of the people, because of the new productive forces that science has developed.

To do this calls for new ideas and new ways of running the country, for socialism, the way of life of the future that puts the common good first.

It is time that Britain took the path of real change, ended the waste, the poverty, selfishness and injustice of capitalism, and moved on to socialism.

If you want this kind of change, vote Communist to get it.