Blog

Renting.jpg

We need to tackle a modern housing crisis, because a severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market, and left many who want to buy living in private rented accommodation. 

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition has presided over the lowest peacetime level of housebuilding for almost a century, with the lowest rate of home ownership for 30 years, and fostered a market where buy-to-let landlords and foreign investors are snapping up properties before local people get a chance. 

Too many people are struggling to meet the costs of putting a roof over their heads.  Some are saving for a deposit year after year, while the dream of owning their own home seems further and further away.  Others find they have to move home frequently, sometimes unwillingly uprooting themselves from their work or friends, even having to change their children’s schools. 

The biggest house building programme in a generation

  • Labour’s plan will start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020, to deliver our promise of getting 200,000 homes built a year,
  • to try to ensure that developers build on land rather than hoarding it, there will be “use or lose it” powers for councils, who will be given the right to levy Council Tax on sites which remains undeveloped
  • a series of new garden cities
  • wider reform of the housing market.

A greater number of affordable homes, plus more social housing 

  • A greater number of affordable homes will be built year-on-year by strengthening affordable housing obligations (greatly diluted by the coalition) on developers, by prioritising capital investment, and by allowing Labour’s £5 billion Future Homes Fund to invest in housing associations developing affordable homes

Putting first-time buyers first

  • Help with a first home:  Labour will reduce Stamp Duty to zero for first-time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 – a saving of as much as £5,000 for people seeking to get on the property ladder.
  • First Call:  Labour will give to first-time buyers, who have lived in an area for more than three years, the “first call” on up to half of homes built in their area.
  • Local First:  Labour will stop foreign buyers buying up properties before local buyers get a look in, by ensuring homes are advertised in local areas, and by increasing taxes paid by foreign buyers, and by increasing Council Tax for empty homes.  

Tenants 

Labour will help working people who rent privately.  The term “Generation Rent” is used to describe those who are being are priced out of the housing market, such as young people, and families with children, and middle income earners.

Labour will seek to ensure that the homes which local people want to buy are in fact built; and we will not turn our backs on Generation Rent, so we want to encourage those responsible landlords who provide decent homes for people and stable income for themselves.  

Our country needs a stable, decent, prosperous private rental market, where landlords and tenants can succeed together.  To this end, the next Labour government will introduce legislation in its first Queen’s speech to:

  • secure three-year tenancies for all people who want them, so landlords will no longer be able to terminate rental agreements simply to put rents up
  • cap rents, so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during those secure three-year tenancies
  • require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rent levels charged to previous tenants, so that householders can negotiate the best possible deal at the start of their contract
  • a national register of landlords, which will enable rogue landlords to be identified and judge whether their property meet basic standards. 
  • penalise rogue landlords by reducing buy-to-let tax relief for those who own properties which do not meet basic standards a ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants, saving the average tenant-household £625 over the next Parliament

Rob Marris, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Generation Rent: a better and more secure future

We need to tackle a modern housing crisis, because a severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market, and left many...

From: Hospital Consultant
Sent: 20 April 2015 10:04
To: Rob Marris
Subject: Re: NHS privatisation

Dear Rob

Many thanks for this (= http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-struggling-to-monitor-the-safety-and-efficacy-of-its-services-outsourced-to-private-providers-10187339.html), which I had not read or come across.  While I knew of the high profile scandals e.g. Winterbourne, West Country GP services etc., the data on the lack of monitoring and inspection are new, even to me.  It does not surprise me however.

Clinical Commissioning Groups each consist of 12 GPs doing commissioning part time, plus 1 lay person, plus 1 nurse; plus 1 Consultant from outside the area doing commissioning as an add-on.  That's it!

Whilst Monitor has over 300 staff, in 2014 a Public Accounts Committee report found that only 7 of them are healthcare professionals

Meanwhile, the Care Quality Commission has had to halve its inspections this year – because of lack of human and financial resources.

Outsourcing is required as a last resort, if local or adjacent NHS providers can't deliver.  However it brings massive extra risks for patients and loved ones – and taxpayers.

Having been a General Medical Council specialist Assessor for several years until 2013, I am well aware of the considerable limitations of the regulators (e.g. GMC, HCPC, NMC, etc.) which are due to lack of human and financial resources.   Healthcare professionals who are able to regulate must still be in active practice, and their NHS employer, colleagues, and patients can't spare them much time; ditto for lay assessors, who often still actively work in other sectors

Therefore, much of the "regulation" is done voluntarily, unpaid, at night and weekends, with such healthcare professionals and lay assessors reading the papers sent to them by GMC, NMC, HCPC, about a doctor/nurse/midwife about whom concerns have been raised.

Conversely, NHS providers have a whole lattice of governance, monitoring and, most importantly, peer feedback and scrutiny which the private providers may well lack.

Some private providers do offer excellent service for patients.  However, as someone who now is more worried about my own future healthcare, and that of my loved ones, than anything else, my view is that NHS providers should be the providers of first choice when commissioning healthcare

Very best wishes

 

Dr_Illustartion.jpg

A hospital consultant writes...

From: Hospital Consultant Sent: 20 April 2015 10:04 To: Rob Marris Subject: Re: NHS privatisation Dear Rob Many thanks for this (= http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-struggling-to-monitor-the-safety-and-efficacy-of-its-services-outsourced-to-private-providers-10187339.html), which I had not read or come...

Labour is the only party that has committed to retaining language qualifications.  Crucial languages qualifications face the axe under the Tories. 

Here’s Labour’s video promising to save these subjects. You can watch and share the video via this link: http://youtu.be/Cv5TYCct4dg

Mr Tristram Hunt, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education says:  For Britain to succeed in the world, we need to be an outward looking nation, harnessing the age-old British spirit that has always sought to further our place in the world, not close ourselves off from it.

“With Labour, we will not shy away from our proud tradition as an internationalist party.  That is why I have been very clear on the language qualifications facing the axe: not on my watch.  Labour is the only party committed to saving these crucial language qualifications.  Losing them would limit our place in the world.”

A future Labour government is committed to saving these language qualifications.  Labour’s commitment is a stark contrast to Tory Minister Nick Gibb’s dismissal of the “small numbers” of people undertaking these important qualifications.

The move from Labour comes as the major examination awarding bodies called OCR and AQA have decided to scrap dozens of qualifications in foreign languages, including Punjabi, Gujarati, Polish, Bengali, Modern Hebrew, Turkish, and Portuguese.  This decision comes at a time when the Confederation of British Industry has identified the growing need for more foreign language skills by UK companies who want to break into new fast-growing markets.

This decision only emerged stealthily when OCR and AQA published information about the new qualifications which they will start to offer, in response to Mr David Cameron’s government’s deadline for the introduction of new qualifications.  The awarding bodies published lists of subjects which they would discontinue under the new examination changes that have been rushed through by David Cameron’s Government.

During a debate in the House of Commons just before the start of the General Election campaign, the Conservative /Liberal Democrat coalition government minister Mr State Nick Gibb dismissed the “small numbers” of uptake in these subjects.  Whilst he did admit that “British firms will increasingly demand staff who are fluent in languages such as Polish and Turkish as they seek new markets and opportunities”, he then refused to commit his coalition government to securing a future for qualifications in less studied languages.  Both Mr Cameron and his education spokesperson Ms Nicky Morgan have refused to make a commitment to saving these qualifications.

You can access the list of qualifications that AQA will discontinue here: http://www.aqa.org.uk/supporting-education/policy/gcse-and-a-level-changes/structure-of-new-a-levels and here http://www.aqa.org.uk/supporting-education/policy/gcse-and-a-level-changes/structure-of-new-gcses. You can access the list of qualifications that OCR will discontinue here: http://www.ocr.org.uk/news/view/%20redeveloping-gcses-and-a-levels-for-2017/

The CBI annual Education & Skills Survey 2014 found that two thirds of firms (65%) identified a need for foreign language skills as they seek to make inroads into fast-growing markets:  http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2014/06/more-firms-demanding-language-skills-to-break-into-new-markets-cbi-pearson-survey/

Coalition government minister Mr Gibb’s remarks during the House of Commons Debate can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150324/debtext/150324-0004.htm#15032473000009

Rob Marris, Labour candidate for wolverhampton South West

Only Labour will save crucial language qualifications: Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Modern Hebrew, Polish, and Turkish.

Labour is the only party that has committed to retaining language qualifications.  Crucial languages qualifications face the axe under the Tories.  Here’s Labour’s video promising to save these subjects. You...

Labour has launched its manifesto for women, setting out how Labour will enable women to fulfil their potential, as part of a plan to raise living standards for all.

Labour will help grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren, by consulting on allowing grandparents to share in parents' unpaid parental leave, thereby enabling them to take time off work without fear of losing their job.

Parents often rely on other family members – particularly grandparents – to help them juggle work and childcare.  More than half of all mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to employment after maternity leave.  Correspondinlghly, two-thirds of grandparents with grandchildren aged under 16 provide some childcare.

Yet public policy hasn't kept up with the reality of families' lives, with 1.9 million grandparents giving up a job, reducing their hours, or taking time off work to look after their grandchildren.  70% of grandparents say the caring contribution they make is not currently recognised.

To assist grandparents to help their families and to stay in their jobs, Labour will consult on what flexibilities would make the system work better for families and businesses, given changing patterns of care.  This could include allowing grandparents to share in parents' unpaid parental leave. So those grandparents can be more involved in caring for their grandchildren.

Labour's women's manifesto also sets out measures to:women_manifesto.jpg

  • lessen low pay, by increasing the Minimum Wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
  • address the gender pay gap, with new pay transparency rules for all large employers.
  • extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, funded by increasing the Bank Levy. 
  • guarantee access for parents of primary-age children to wraparound childcare 8am-6pm through primary schools.
  • protect the Sure-Start budget, and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.
  • double paid Paternity Leave from 2 to 4 weeks, and increase that pay to the equivalent of a full week’s work at the National Minimum Wage, so that more families can afford to take up their entitlements.
  • support healthy relationships, by introducing age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education.
  • tackle violence against women and girls by appointing a new commissioner to enforce national standards on tackling domestic and sexual abuse, and by strengthening the law.
  • provide more stable central funding for women's refuges and for rape crisis centres.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Women’s Equality - Labour's women's manifesto

Labour has launched its manifesto for women, setting out how Labour will enable women to fulfil their potential, as part of a plan to raise living standards for all. Labour...

Labour’s manifesto starts from the idea that UK only succeeds when working people succeed. By securing the nation’s finances, we will be able to improve the finances of the people of Britain.

The manifesto is different from manifestos which Labour has published in the past.  Instead of a list of new spending commitments, the very first page of this Manifesto sets out Labour’s plan to secure the country’s finances – with a Budget Responsibility Lock guaranteeing that every manifesto policy is paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing.

People want change, and a better future, but understandably they want to know that Labour can and will make progress while securing the country’s finances.  This manifesto answers that question with a plan for big reform, not for big spending.

That responsible approach contrasts with an increasingly desperate Conservative campaign.  Not only have they increased the National Debt by well over 50% in the last 5 years (failed austerity:  all the pain, but none of the gain), but they are now making promises for which they have no idea how they would pay.  There is nothing more dangerous for the NHS than saying you’ll protect it yet having no idea from where the money is coming.  It is an approach which would lead to yet more broken Conservative promises (remember their promise 5 years ago not to re-organise the NHS … !):  either they will put up taxes, or break their NHS promise.

So Labour’s manifesto and this election campaign show that we are the party of change and the party of sound public finances as well.

Labour’s plan is more ambitious, because we start from a clear commitment to balance the books, but it does not stop there.  On the foundation of a plan to secure the nation’s finances, we will improve the finances of the working people of UK by:

  • rewarding hard work – by raising the Minimum Wage, banning exploitive zero hours contracts, capping energy bills, and backing small businesses
  • sharing prosperity – by guaranteeing apprenticeships, cutting university tuition fees, getting 200,000 homes built a year by 2020, and devolving powers to every part of UK.
  • building a better UK – ensuring that the NHS has time to care, opening up our politics, and being a confident, outward-looking country once again. 

In short, it’s time to restore hope.

Securing government finances with a Budget Responsibility Lock

The very first page of Labour’s manifesto sets out our plan to secure the country’s finances, with a new Budget Responsibility Lock which will guarantee that:

  • every policy in this manifesto is paid for, and does not require additional government borrowing.
  • a Labour government will cut the deficit every year.
  • we will try to get National Debt falling with a surplus on the current budget as soon as possible in the next parliament. 

 

Every policy in this manifesto is paid for, and does not require additional borrowing 

This manifesto sets out a detailed plan to build a better UK, but without one policy that requires additional borrowing.  Where policies do cost money, we have set out how they are paid for.  For example:

  • a £2.5bn NHS Time to Care fund, from a Mansion Tax on properties over £2m, a levy on tobacco firms, and closing a hedge fund tax avoidance loophole.
  • 25 hours of childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, paid for by increasing the Banking Levy by £800m.
  • capping class sizes for 5, 6, & 7 year olds, from ending the Free Schools programme.
  • cutting Business Rates for small business properties, from not going ahead with another cut to Corporation Tax.

Labour’s approach is to address the root causes of problems, by implementing big reforms which do not require additional spending.  Instead of simply spending taxpayers’ money to support households, we will:

  • help with energy costs by capping energy bills, and by reforming the broken, rip-off energy market.
  • make work pay, by banning exploitive zero hour contracts, and raising the Minimum Wage to £8 an hour by 2020.

In contrast, the Conservatives are making a growing list of commitments for which they have no way of paying, and so they would be bound to break their promises on:

  • £10bn of unfunded tax cuts.
  • £8bn for the NHS.
  • £1.8bn on a rail fares’ freeze.
  • No tax rises (remember that the Coalition broke a specific promise in 2010, and increased VAT to 20%?).

We will also legislate to require all major parties to have their manifesto spending and tax commitments independently audited by the Office for Budget Responsibility, because  the Conservative Party blocked Labour’s proposal to allow the OBR to audit party manifestos this time.

 

A Labour government will cut the deficit every year. 

In 2010 Mr David Cameron said: “In five years’ time, we will have balanced the books.”  It is now clear that the Tories have failed.

  • the Tories claim that they would balance the budget in 2017-18, three years later than they originally claimed they would do.
  • they have borrowed £200 billion more than they planned in this Parliament, borrowing more in four and a half years than the last Labour Government did in 13 years, thereby increasing the National Debt by well over 50%.
  • the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government is still running an annual deficit of close to 5% of GDP – far higher than most Western countries.
  • in five out of 11 Budgets or Autumn Statements, Mr George Osborne has broken his fiscal rule that debt should be falling by 2015-16.

These failures mean that the next Labour government will inherit borrowing of £75 billion for 2015-16.  Some people argue that the deficit simply doesn’t matter if you care about a fair country.  That is wrong.  It matters because, unless there is a strategy for dealing with the deficit, it is working people and their public services which end up paying the price

So the Labour manifesto confirms that the first line of our first Budget will be:  “This Budget cuts the deficit every year”; and that we will only lay a Budget before the House of Commons which cuts the deficit every year, which the OBR will independently verify.

We will be able to deliver this because:

  • Departmental budgets will fall every year – outside protected areas like Education and the NHS – until the deficit is eliminated.
  • tough choices, including scrapping Winter Fuel Payments for the richest pensioners, and capping Child Benefit rises
  • a cap on overall Social Security spending, plus measures to tackle the long-term drivers of such spending; e.g. low pay and low house-building.
  • fair taxes:  we will reverse the Tory millionaires’ tax cut, ensuring those earning over £150,000 pay the 50p Income Tax rate; and tackle tax avoidance, including abolishing the non-domiciles loophole.
  • making government more efficient, with a new emphasis on prevention and devolution; for example integrating health and social care to keep people out of hospital, and focusing on public health to cut child obesity.

 

We will get National Debt falling and a surplus on the annual government budget as soon as possible in the next Parliament.

Labour’s promises to try to get National Debt falling and a surplus on the annual government budget as soon as possible in the next Parliament.  This is the right fiscal approach, because we need to ensure that tax revenues more than cover day-to-day spending, and we need to prevent debt interest payments from mounting up.  Our tough and approach will balance the books through an economy based on high wages and high skills, spending reductions, and fair choices on tax.

In contrast, the Conservatives’ ideology is to carry on cutting public services year after year, even after the nations’ books have been balanced.  They wish to make government spending a permanently lower proportion of GDP – indeed, in autumn 2014 Mr Osborne proposed to take our country’s spending back to the 1930s.  Because of that ideology, they have set out extreme plans, including cutting government spending even more in 2015 to 2018 than they did in 2010 to 2015, including cutting twice as much in 2016 to 2017 as they did in 2015 to 2016.

 

Labour’s promises and policies are fully funded 

Every policy in this manifesto is paid for and does not require additional borrowing.  A Labour government will cut the deficit every year and the OBR will verify this.  We will try to get National Debt falling and a surplus on the annual government budget as soon as possible in the next Parliament.

 

Higher living standards

Cap energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitive zero-hours contracts, raise the Minimum Wage to £8, and provide 25 hours of free childcare a week.

  • capping energy bills and giving the regulator powers to cut bills will not require additional government spending.
  • banning exploitive zero-hours contracts will not require additional spending.
  • Raising the Minimum Wage to £8 will not require additional spending, and will cut Social Security spending.
  • We will raise the Bank Levy by £800 million, in order to provide 25 hours of free childcare to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.

 

An NHS with the time to care

We will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours, and cancer tests within 1 week.

  • 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs will be paid for by a Mansion Tax on properties worth over £2 million, a levy on tobacco firms, and by clamping down on tax avoidance.
  • guaranteed GP appointments within 48 hours will be delivered by having 8,000 more GPs, and by investing £100 million in GP practices, funded by cutting the Tories NHS red tape and bureaucracy with their silly NHS competition requirements.
  • guaranteed cancer tests within 1 week to be funded within the Time to Care Fund through the levy on tobacco firms.

 

Controls on immigration

People who come here won’t be able to claim Benefits for at least two years, and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

  • restricting access to Social Security and Tax Credits will not require additional spending.
  • introducing fair rules to stop undercutting and exploitation will not require additional government spending (save for a relatively small amount on enforcement).

 

A country where the next generation can do better than the last

University tuition fees reduced to £6,000 a year, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for 5, 6, and 7 year-olds.

  • reducing tuition fees to £6,000 will be funded by restricting Pensions Tax relief on contributions made by those on annual incomes of over £150,000.
  • smaller class sizes for 5, 6, and 7 year-olds will be funded by ending the Free Schools programme.

 

Cut and then freeze Business Rates for over 1.5 million smaller business properties – funded by not going ahead with the Tories planned cut of Corporation Tax rate from 21% to 20%.

 

Introduce a starting 10p rate of tax – funded by scrapping the Tories’ marriage tax allowance (which would disproportionately help the well-to-do).

 

A guaranteed, paid job for all young people who have been out of work for one year, and for all those over 25 years old and out of work for two years – funded by a one-off Bank Bonus Tax in the first year, and by restricting Pensions Tax relief on contributions made by those on annual incomes of over £150,000.

 

Abolition of the hated and unfair Bedroom Tax – funded by ending the Shares for Rights scheme, reversing the scrapping of the Schedule 19 charge, and by tackling disguised employment in the construction industry

 

Labour will not borrow more

It is the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition which has borrowed over £200 billion more than they planned, and increased the National Debt by well over 50% in just 5 years.

Our primary pledge is that our manifesto will contain no proposals for any new spending which would need to be paid for by additional borrowing.  We will try to cut the deficit every year to get the current budget in balance and the National Debt falling as soon as possible.

 

Labour will not borrow more than the Tories (it would be hard to do so anyway!)

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition might be able to cut spending, but the last five years have shown they can't cut the government deficit nearly as much as they had planned – it’s still running at close to 5% of GDP – because their inept economic policies choked off the economic growth they inherited from Labour in May 2010 (0.9% rise in GDP in the first 6 months of 2010), and stalled the economy (another Tory recession … ), and thereby decreased tax revenues (fewer people in work, lower wages) and increased the bill for Social Security  bill (ditto)

Labour’s manifesto will contain no proposals for any new spending paid for by additional borrowing – in contrast to the Conservatives, who have so far made billions of pounds of commitments for which they have not said how they will pay.  

 

£30 billion of cuts?

Labour MPs voted for the Charter for Fiscal Responsibility.  It called for the UK government’s annual budget to be balanced.  That is a target which Labour continues to support. The Charter does not necessitate running a large annual surplus on the back of extreme cuts to public services – which is the Tories’ announced plan.

 

Balancing the books

Labour’s approach is entirely consistent with support for the Charter; namely, to try to cut the government deficit every year so we can – unlike the failed Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition – get the annual budget in balance and National Debt falling as soon as possible.  How fast a Labour government can go will depend on the state of the economy, including what happens to wages and growth, and events around the world.

Rob Marris, Labour candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Securing the country’s finances

Labour’s manifesto starts from the idea that UK only succeeds when working people succeed. By securing the nation’s finances, we will be able to improve the finances of the people...

The Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, sends his Vaisakhi greetings to British Sikhs across the country.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIPiX3FekTU

Happy Vaisakhi from Ed Miliband

The Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, sends his Vaisakhi greetings to British Sikhs across the country. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIPiX3FekTU

The central task for the next Labour government is to build an economy which creates better and more secure jobs, and halts the Tory race to the bottom. This race to the bottom is the key factor behind the UK’s low level of investment, training, and productivity relative to other advanced economies.  Working people are suffering from reduced wages.  In turn, low pay and insecurity are driving higher government spending on Social Security to top up wages and reduced income from tax receipts.

Factory.jpg   Coinstruction_worker.jpg

1.         Addressing insecurity and unfairness in the workplace

More than half of employees are worried about insecure work.  There are more than 1.8 million zero hours’ contracts in the

economy.  UK cannot succeed when working people feel insecure.

So Labour will crack down on the worst abuses in our labour market, and the first Queen’s Speech of a Labour government’s planned legislation will include: 

  • A higher Minimum Wage.
  • A ban on exploitive zero hours working.  If someone works regular hours they will get the right to a regular contract, with contractual hours averaged over 12 weeks.
  • A review of this measure, to ensure that action is taken to stop employers using short hours contracts instead of zero hours.
  • Legal rights for workers not to be forced to be available at all hours.
  • Legal rights for workers not to have shifts cancelled at short notice without compensation.
  • Making it unlawful to use agency workers to undercut the wages of permanent workers, and unlawful for employers to only recruit from overseas.

2.       Tackling low pay

In the last five years, working people have experienced the biggest fall in wages during any Parliament since the 1870s.  Average wages have fallen by £1,600 a year since 2010.  Half of all new jobs since 2010 have been in low paid sectors.  One in five workers is low paid.  More than a quarter of a million workers is estimated to earn less than the legal Minimum Wage.

So Labour’s plan for UK workplaces is to: iStock_CoinPurse.jpg

  • Set a national goal to halve the number of people in low pay by 2025, lifting over two million people out of low pay.
  • Raise the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 by 2020.
  • Introduce new 10p starting rate of Income Tax.
  • Use procurement to promote the Living Wage.
  • Extend free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Double paternity leave to 4 weeks.
  • Increase paternity pay, so that fathers receive the equivalent of a full week’s work paid at the National Minimum Wage for the 4 weeks of leave.

3.       Justice at work

Labour will:

  • Ensure proper access to justice in the workplace by abolishing the Coalition government’s system of charging fees for going to an Employment Tribunal.
  • Tackle bogus self-employment in construction and elsewhere.
  • Set up a full, transparent, and public inquiry to examine the issue of blacklisting.
  • Recognise that there are historic cases; for example by releasing all government  papers concerning the trials of the Shrewsbury 24.

4.       Supporting working families

Stagnating wages and rising insecurity have fuelled a cost of living crisis.  Full-time workers in UK work some of the longest hours in Europe, with a long-hours culture in many professions.  Further difficulties for caused for working families by a shortage of well-paid part-time jobs, plus a lack of affordable childcare, plus an outdated parental leave system

So Labour will: 

  • Double the amount of paid paternity leave to 4 weeks.
  • Expand free child care provision from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds.
  • Introduce a legal guarantee to wraparound care from 8am to 6pm at local primary schools.

5.       Promoting partnership and productivity at work

In the long term, economic success will be rooted in high skill, high investment strategies. Labour recognises that trades unions are an essential force for a decent society, and act as guarantors of jobs and wages. Nearly 60% of senior business leaders judge short-termism to be a major impediment to growth.  On average, each chief executive of a FTSE 100 company is paid over 130 times the wages of their company’s average employee.  Only 27% of employees feel that they have a say over how their work is organised

So Labour will:

  • Put employee representatives on companies’ remuneration committees.
  • Reduce short-term pressure to turn a quick profit.
  • Improve the link between pay and performance.
  • Ensure that executive pay packages are transparent by publishing the ratio of the total pay of their top earner compared with their average employees.
  • Where there is trade union “recognition” by an employer, ensure that Unions play a key role in facilitating elections of employee representatives and in supporting the training of them.
  • Place upon investors a duty to act in the interests of ordinary savers and place upon investors a duty to prioritise the long-term growth of companies.
  • Tackle short-termism by reforming takeover rules, for example by restricting voting to investors who already hold shares
  • Require investment and pension fund managers to disclose how they vote, and introduce binding votes on remuneration packages.
  • Review the implementation and operation of the Information & Consultation Regulations.
  • Reverse the decision by the Coalition-run Department for International Development’s (“DfID”) to withdraw funding from the International Labour Organisation.

6.       Supporting young people into work

Young people’s wages have fallen by over 8% since 2010.  Only 10% of employers in England provide apprenticeships.  The proportion of apprenticeships taken up by young people has fallen significantly, from 82% of all apprenticeships in 2010, to 63%in 2014.  25% of apprentices aged 19-24 receive no training at all.

So Labour will:

  • Introduce a new Apprenticeship Guarantee, so that all those that get the grades at 18 are able to access a new high quality apprenticeship.
  • Mandate that apprenticeships are offered by every firm which is to be awarded a large government contract.
  • Require large firms recruiting skilled workers from outside the Europe Union to invest in apprenticeships in UK.
  • Make sure that apprenticeships can lead to higher level qualifications.
  • Improve technical training for young people.
  • Ensure that the government creates thousands more apprenticeships in the public sector.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

 

Labour’s Manifesto for UK Workplaces, a summary

The central task for the next Labour government is to build an economy which creates better and more secure jobs, and halts the Tory race to the bottom. This race...

Labour has set out plans to protect neighbourhood policing.  Savings have been identified which will enable police forces to
safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years.  Labour will legislate to introduce a new Local Policing Commitment, which will ensure that police forces guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area. police_logo_1_1.jpg

Because of the Conservatives’ decisions, neighbourhood policing – the foundation of good British policing – is at risk of disappearing, whilst increasing numbers of serious criminals are avoiding justice.

To safeguard over 10,000 police officers, Labour will make £800 million worth of efficiency savings.  These will include mandating joint procurement and sharing support services; and ending the police subsidy of gun licences; and abolishing the posts of the elected Police & Crime Commissioners, albeit this will lessen democratic accountability.

Conversely, the Conservatives simply the Tories plan to cut thousands more police officer posts – on top of the ones they’ve already cut. 

Alongside the commitment to protect over 10,000 police officers from the cuts, Labour’s Crime and Justice Manifesto sets out plans to:

  • Put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system – by introducing the country’s first ever Victims’ Law.
  • Prevent crime before it occurs.
  • Tackle child sexual exploitation.
  • Tackle violence against women and girls.
  • Build a justice system fit for the 21st Century, which should include Legal Aid and Judicial Review.
  • Address extremism and the threat of terrorism.

Labour has a better plan. We will make different choices, finding savings to safeguard 10,000 officers in the next three years.  We will ensure victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system with the country’s first ever Victims’ Law, and we will ensure the police have the powers they need to keep us safe, including proper controls for dangerous terror suspects.

Rob Marris, Labour candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Labour will guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area

Labour has set out plans to protect neighbourhood policing.  Savings have been identified which will enable police forces to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years.  Labour...

150323_Economy.jpg

Labour will cut the deficit every year and balance the books – with a surplus on the current budget, and falling National Debt as a percentage of GDP, as soon as possible in the next Parliament. How fast we can go will depend on the state of the economy, including what happens to wages, growth, the Housing Benefit bill, and events around the world.

Decisive action to strengthen growth, increase productivity and get sustained rises in living standards is the only way to balance the books fairly in the next Parliament and safeguard vital public services.  Labour’s calculations show that if, in the next Parliament, wages were to grow in line with their historic average, tax receipts would be £12 billion higher.

1.  Labour will deliver the rising living standards and stronger growth needed to balance the books. So we will:-

  • Increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour before 2020;
  • Give tax breaks to firms who start paying the Living Wage;
  • Ban exploitative zero-hour contracts, to ensure that workers who work regular hours get a regular contract;
  • Introduce a compulsory Jobs Guarantee, paid for by a bank bonus tax, to provide a paid starter job for everyone young person unemployed for over a year, which they will have to take up or else lose their Benefits
  • Cut Business Rates for small business properties;
  • Establish a British Investment Bank, to boost lending for small and medium-sized businesses, to foster growth and thereby create jobs;
  • Make work pay by expanding free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds;
  • Introduce a lower 10p starting rate of Income Tax to help 24 million working people;
  • Get at least 200,000 new homes built a year to relieve the UK housing crisis;
  • Secure our country’s place in a reformed European Union and boost exports;
  • Create an independent National Infrastructure Commission in order to stop long-term decisions being kicked into the long grass;
  • Devolve £30 billion of economic power and funding to city and county regions

 2.  There will be sensible spending cuts in non-protected areas; for example, we will:-

(a)  cut the Winter Fuel Allowance from the richest 5% of pensioners;

(b) cap Child Benefit increases at 1% for two years;

(c) have a “Zero-Based Budget Review” of every pound spent by government, to identify savings and to cut waste and inefficiencies – so we can safeguard vital public services upon which people and businesses depend.  That Review will be completed in our first year in government, but  we have already published 8 interim reports – with more to follow in the coming weeks –  which identify savings including:

  • £250m in the policing budget, including from scrapping elected Police & Crime Commissioners, and reforming police procurement through mandatory joint purchasing of equipment by police forces;
  • £500m a year in the Communities & Local Government budget through shared services, back-office collaboration, and streamlining;
  • over £70 million of annual savings in the courts’ budget, including co-locating County Courts and Magistrates’ Courts, and by scrapping the use of the 15 High Court judges’ lodgings;
  • £230m saved by cutting back on the wasteful expenditure related to this government’s Free Schools and Academies programmes.
  • A modest £60 million of efficiencies in the Defence budget by bringing down the numbers of the armed forces top brass to sensible levels, by better managing inventory, and by improving defence procurement.

 3.  We will also make fairer choices by:

  • Reversing this government's £3 billion a year tax cut for the top 1% of earners who earn over £150,000 a year;
  • Introducing a Mansion Tax on properties over £2 million

Long-term Economic Pain: The Tories’ Real Plans for Spending

150323_Economy2.jpg

Were the Conservatives to win the General Election, their plans would mean £70 billion of cuts to public spending.  That is more than double the amount admitted to by Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne.  The unprecedented and extreme scale of these spending cuts would pose a major risk to public services, particularly the National Health Service.   Their plan would entail even bigger cuts in the next four years than those of the last five years. For the Tories, the UK is not even half way through the cuts they want.

These would be the most extreme cuts in post-war history; a bigger fall in day-to-day public services spending as a share of GDP than in any four-year period since demobilisation at the end of the Second World War. They would also be the most extreme internationally:  the largest consolidation planned among advanced economies, according to the International Monetary Fund. 

In 2010 the Tories planned to balance the books by 2015, with Mr Cameron claiming that he had been elected to deliver “rising living standards for all”.  They failed to deliver these central pledges:  real wages are down by an average more than £1,600 a year.  This failure to raise living standards means that, during its 5 year term of office, the Coalition Government has borrowed over £200 billion more than they said they would in 2010.

The Tories’ plans for the next Parliament now go much further than balancing the books.  Instead they plan to cut spending as a share of GDP back to a proportion last seen in the 1930s:  35%.  They claim their plans would involve just £30 billion of spending cuts, but this is not true.  Independent experts have already said that the Tories’ plans mean over £50 billion of cuts to public services, and that this must entail “cuts on a colossal scale” and pose a legitimate question as to whether they amount to “a fundamental reimagining of the role of the state”.

The Conservative & Liberal Democrat Coalition can’t have it both ways:  either their economic policies over the last five years have failed (yes, they have) or if – as per the Coalition – those cuts have worked, then they are intent on using the next 5 years to pursue an ideology of shrinking the state on an unprecedented scale.

Mr Osborne has promised to cut £12 billion from Social Security spending. If the £70 billion of spending cuts (minus that £12 billion; i.e. £58 billion net), were applied equally to non-protected departments, they would lead to unprecedented cuts to vital public services such as policing, defence, and social care.

Analysis published by Labour in March 2015 shows that, if that net £58 billion of cuts were shared between government departments in the same proportions as they were in this Parliament, three government departments would effectively cease to exist. This would mean closing all our embassies around the world, closing all JobCentres and back-to-work programmes and disability benefit testing, and all but ending central government funding for local government.  This is clearly impossible for a civilised person to countenance.

If instead that net £58 billion of cuts were distributed evenly across all non-protected budgets (excluding schools, the NHS, and ODA budgets) this would mean a cut of 35% over four years for every non-protected department.  This would lead to the smallest police force since the late 1970s (the earliest available comparable data), the smallest army since Oliver Cromwell in the mid-seventeenth century, and over a third of older people who currently receive social care losing their entitlement to it.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has challenged Mr Osborne to explain whether he will press ahead with these unprecedented, extreme and close to impossible cuts; or admit that his spending plans could realistically only be delivered either by raising VAT again or by cutting the National Health Service.

The Tories want people to think they will ring-fence NHS spending but, just as they broke their 2010 promise not to reorganise the NHS in this Parliament, the Tories cannot be trusted to keep their promise to protect it in the next.

The Tories want to cut state spending to 35% of national income (“GDP”).  Countries with similar sized states to that 35% all have lower public health spending than the UK, and all require higher private funding of healthcare than is consistent with the NHS as we know it.  For OECD countries with public spending below 35% of GDP in 2012, the average for health spending funded by public sources was just 55%.

In government, the Tories and Liberal Democrats have made deep cuts to many councils’ budgets.  Those cuts have been unfairly focussed on deprived areas like Wolverhampton, with some richer areas actually getting an increase! Overall, the Coalition cuts have meant that £3.53 billion (= 26%) has taken out of adult social care budgets.  Since 2010, spending on social care has fallen by 12% yet the number of those needing support has increased by 14%. So it is not surprising that the number of older people receiving home-delivered meals has fallen by 59% since 2009-10.

Pressures on the social care sector are having a knock-on effect in the NHS, ramping up the pressure on services already suffering from five years of Tory/Lib Dem neglect and mismanagement – and a botched £3 billion reorganisation (which the Tories promised they would not do). More older people are resorting to A&E because they are cannot access the care and support they need.  Increasing numbers of older people end up trapped in expensive hospital beds when they don’t need to be – these delayed discharges, due to a lack of social care in the home, are at record levels.

In the next Parliament, the Tories’ plans would be equivalent to 260,000 fewer older people would be receiving social care – a third of the number currently getting it.

For the police, there are now almost 17,000 fewer officers than there were in 2010.  The Tories’ plans for the next Parliament would be equivalent to 29,900 police officers and 6,700 PCSOs lost. That would mean that the Tories would have cut police numbers by a third (from 144,000 to 96,500) between 2010 and 2020 – well below the levels of the late 1970s when there were 110,000 officers.  In 2010, the ratio of officers was 2.6 per 1,000 population.  These cuts would mean a ratio of about 1.7 – close to the 1930s ratio of 1.5.

The Tory/Lib Dem cuts to frontline policing have come at a time when many more serious and violent crimes (e.g. child abuse, rape, and domestic violence) are being reported, when the terror threat has grown, when the population to be policed has grown, and when  there has been a massive increase in online crime. 

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Long-term Economic Gain: Labour’s Plans for the Economy

Labour will cut the deficit every year and balance the books – with a surplus on the current budget, and falling National Debt as a percentage of GDP, as soon...

150320_SNP.jpg

On 16 March 2015, Labour leader Mr Ed Miliband made clear that Labour will not go into coalition government with the SNP, and that there will be no SNP ministers in any government he leads. He said:  "Labour will not go into coalition government with the SNP.  There will be no SNP ministers in any government I lead.  So the true election choice is what it has always been:  a Labour government with a better plan for working people across UK, or a Conservative government that stands for the rich and powerful.”

It is vital that our country spends the period until the General Election debating the real choice facing the British people in this election:  a choice between a better future for Britain, with renewed hope, with a Labour government; or continuing with the failing policies of the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Labour’s campaign is fully focused on winning that debate, so that Labour wins a majority government which can deliver the change which our country so badly needs. The Tories don’t want that debate. They don’t want to talk about that choice.  That is why Mr Cameron is running scared of the TV debates.  He’s frit, but wouldn’t you be, if you wanted to take government spending back to the 1930s?

For over 20 years, the Conservative Party has not had enough electoral support to win a UK majority in the House of Commons.  Yet they now have the temerity to run a misleading campaign based on the idea of a Labour-SNP coalition.  This idea is nonsense. It will not happen.  There are big differences between Labour and the SNP; not just on the integrity of the United Kingdom and another referendum, but on fair funding between the countries of the UK; and on fair taxes. In continuing to repeat their wild claim, the Conservative Party and Mr Cameron are simply trying to scare people.

Meanwhile, UKIP leader Mr Nigel Farage has announced that he would be happy to prop up the Conservative Party in government after the election.  So UKIP has revealed its face as a party willing to throw in its lot with Mr Cameron’s Conservatives . Apparently, the Tories are willing to go along with it.  The real danger to our country is a Tory government propped up by UKIP.

So this is the real binary choice at the election:  a Labour government or a Conservative one – a Tory government which believes that our country can be termed successful when just their rich friends at the top do well.  Labour will be a government which stands up for the whole of UK, for working people in every part of our country, for young people facing a grim future without much hope.  In short, a Labour government for the many, not the few.

Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Labour will not enter into a Coalition Government with the SNP

On 16 March 2015, Labour leader Mr Ed Miliband made clear that Labour will not go into coalition government with the SNP, and that there will be no SNP ministers...

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.