Month: April 2017

A Labour Party Manifesto

Europe: ‘Partnership not Exit’. Labour will respect the wishes of the British people but we will not seek a hard Brexit as our opponents will. We seek a new partnership with Europe committed to free trade and freedom of movement but we will retain the supreme right of our Parliament to make law and the Supreme Court to protect it. We will respect European legislation and within Europe we will comply with it but within our own shores will retain the right to support industry, to encourage commerce and to ensure security in our own way. Instead of making it difficult for our industry to trade with Europe, we will create a unique environment encouraging manufacturers to settle here and to trade with the EU.

Immigration: ‘Free Movement Which Is Earned’. We understand the contribution made to our culture and economy by people from other countries and we deplore racism in all its forms. However, our benefits system and welfare state was never devised to subsidise immigration. Under Labour, benefits will be earned and five years in employment within the UK will be required in order to seek state benefits. Immigrants from outside the EU will be expected to be moving to the UK to work and will be required to prove this. Free movement will allow the passage of workers from within the EU back and forth between the UK and Europe but our requirement to prove entitlement to benefits will mean that new workers earn their place in our society. Our new model of earned benefits will also apply to young people who will not automatically be entitled to unearned employment, housing or social benefits.

The NHS: ‘A Public Health Service’. We will protect the NHS by moving it to a contributory model with a visible taxation levy where employment will earn the benefits. There will be safety nets but no giveaways. Immigrants will be expected to provide their own health insurance or pay health insurance to the NHS until they have earned the entitlement to free use. Labour will continue to provide a public health service which is free at the point of delivery and with the capacity to expand in relation to the needs of a population which is growing older.

Education: ‘Less Selection, More Opportunity’. Education policy will evolve without recourse to selection and with an emphasis on improving all schools. Schoolchildren and their test results will not be used as a way of measuring the effectiveness of the system. Instead, an annual sampling of performance related to world and European measures will replace endless testing to no purpose. We will retain high level qualifications for the brightest pupils but we will radically improve educational opportunity for all of our children with a new emphasis on post-14 work-related training, and basic skill training in literacy and numeracy which relates to life and work and provides a workforce to create a new skilled manufacturing sector for the 21st-century. Student loans will be phased out but a regionalised university system will be encouraged with two-year degree courses related to research, development and employment.

Work: ‘A Planned Economy’. We will specifically encourage the development of skilled manufacturing and technology as a sector of our economy and will also expand and encourage world financial services to base themselves within the UK. We will support British heavy industry and agriculture which creates a self-sufficient model for our country. The condition for support in all of these industries will include a collaborative workforce environment and decent pay and conditions for all workers. As part of this, the minimum wage will be raised and wage gaps will be narrowed.

Our Government and Young People: ‘Rights and Responsibilities’. Society has changed and we will give all 16-year-olds the right to vote. We will also modify the House of Lords within the space of a Parliament so that the upper chamber is created on a list basis and reflects the percentages of support obtained by political parties at an election. This means that every person’s vote will count and to make this work we will introduce a compulsory ballot for general elections. We will allow online voting ‘on the day’ but scrap the postal voting system which is increasingly discredited. Constituency reform will be gradual and designed to secure approximately equivalent numbers in each constituency while respecting established local boundaries.

Social Care: ‘Compassionate Care’. Care for the elderly will come under the remit of the NHS and will be funded by a local taxation levy which is visible and transparent and subject to local scrutiny. Pensions will increase but will include a contribution to local social care to which all will be entitled. Statutory retirement ages will be discouraged so that people can continue to work for as long as they wish or retire without penalty.

Our Constitution: ‘A Changing Society’. Moving out of Europe creates the need for a new constitution and a new model of rights and responsibilities. We will consult on the shape and form of this within the first Parliament and will consider the role of the new Upper House, removing the constitutional role of the monarch and disestablishing the Church of England to reflect our social democracy and our multicultural society. These changes will not happen overnight and will be widely discussed but our direction of travel will be to create a new constitutional model for the United Kingdom.

Scotland: ‘Supporting Self-Determination’. We understand the wishes of a large number of people in Scotland to be more autonomous and we appreciate that there is not a clear majority for independence. In our constitutional changes, we will seek with our Scottish partners to find solutions which will satisfy all of the people of Scotland. As part of this and as part of our constitutional reform, it will be necessary to assign more rights and responsibilities to the Scottish parliament and to no longer have Scottish constituency MPs within the House of Commons. The Scottish parliament will be seen as the Government of Scotland within the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland and Wales: ‘Supporting Regionalism’. We will encourage the devolution of power to the Northern Ireland parliament and respect the structures which emerge through an extending and growing democracy.

Defence: ‘Protecting the UK’. We will recognise the changing nature of the world and while retaining a nuclear deterrent we will not seek to expand or modernise it. We will commit to build, within the UK, ships and planes designed to secure our borders. We will retain a highly effective, highly mobile military capacity which can be rapidly deployed anywhere that it is required. However, our foreign policy will be to support global democracy without interference and the first principle will be our own protection so that we allow other nations to be self determining. Britain has become associated with regime change and failed interventions in other countries. We will realign our foreign policy to provide support not intervention but, if it is necessary for our protection, we will work with our allies and not take unilateral action.

Spending and Taxation: ‘Fair and Transparent’. We will not be the party of high taxation. The NHS will receive an identified share of national taxation and social care will be additionally supported by local taxation. We want to make taxation visible. We expect to make savings in the nuclear defence budget and on vanity projects such as the high-speed train link. We will consult on replacing council tax with some other form of local taxation but we consider it is right in principle that local government expenditure, local policing and social care should be locally managed.

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