The Labour Party Manifesto 2010

Apr 14, 2010 | Publisher: LabourBot | Category: Technology |  


A future fair for all The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 0:1 Foreword from Gordon Brown Securing Britain’s future Rebuilding our economy Protecting public services and strengthening society A new politics Chapter 6 6:1 Families and older people: Supporting families throughout life Chapter 1 1:1 Growth: Building the high-growth economy of the future Chapter 7 7:1 Communities and creative Britain: Creative Britain: active and flourishing communities Chapter 2 2:1 Living standards: Prosperity for all not just a few Chapter 8 8:1 A green recovery: A green future for Britain Chapter 3 3:1 Education: Excellence in education: every child the chance to fulfil their potential Chapter 9 9:1 Democratic reform: A new politics: renewing our democracy and rebuilding trust 50 steps to a fairer future for all 11:1 Chapter 4 4:1 Health: World-leading healthcare: a patient- centred NHS Chapter 10 10:1 A global future: Meeting the challenges of the new global age Chapter 5 5:1 Crime and immigration: Strengthening our communities, securing our borders Contents Introduction The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 0:2 Foreword from Gordon Brown This General Election is fought as our troops are bravely fighting to defend the safety of the British people and the security of the world in Afghanistan. They bring great pride and credit to our country: we honour and will always support them. At the same time the world has been rocked by the first great crisis of the new global economic age. In Britain, the political crisis caused by expenses has undermined the bond of trust between the people and the politicians elected to serve them. So this cannot, and will not, be a ‘business as usual’ election or Manifesto. In this Manifesto we set out plans to address the main future challenges we face in our economy, our society and our politics. We will rebuild the economy to secure the recovery and invest in future growth and jobs. We will renew our society to further strengthen the communities that bind our country together. And we will restore trust in politics with greater transparency and accountability in a system battered by the expenses scandal. This programme for further national renewal meets the big challenges of the age. Our Manifesto is ambitious but affordable, bold but realistic, and learns from the lessons we take from our experience to date. Over the next ten years we will confront major challenges - intensive global competition, climate change, an ageing society, and bringing stability to Afghanistan. This is a moment for good judgement and serious purpose to meet the challenges ahead. Our aim is a modern, progressive Britain based on fairness, respect, decency and openness. This is a Manifesto about the greater progressive change we need because of the tougher times we are living through. There are no big new spending commitments, but there is a determination for every penny to be used wisely, and, as present plans make clear, to give the maximum protection to frontline public services. This is a moment to show greater boldness in response to what Britain has gone through and the toll it has taken. We reject a ‘business as usual’ mentality because we have to re-build and re- balance the economy, as well as renew our society and politics. Reform cannot stand still – not least because we need to get more value and delivery from public services in a period of public spending constraint. Our Manifesto charts an optimistic course in tougher economic times. It builds on and takes forward the reforms we have undertaken since 1997. I love Britain and want the very best for our country. This Manifesto is my pledge of a future fair for all. Gordon Brown Prime Minister The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 0:3 Introduction The argument of this Manifesto is that to deliver a future fair for all we need to rebuild our economy, protect and reform our public services as we strengthen our society and renew our politics. We, Labour, are the people to carry out this next stage of national renewal because of our values and our understanding of the role of government: to stand by ordinary people so they can change their lives for the better. It is our belief that it is active, reforming government, not absent government, that helps make people powerful. We are proud of our country and the way it has changed since 1997. It is just too easy to forget. Our public services were a byword for decline; today they have been transformed. Our large cities were reeling from two savage recessions; today, despite the global economic crisis, they have a renewed prosperity and civic pride. People were paid £1 an hour; today the minimum wage and tax credits provide the dignity of a living income. The welfare state simply did not understand working women and families. Today, with family- friendly working and better childcare it has at last begun to do so. These changes happened because we applied our values to the world as it was then. We changed our party so that it connected to the hopes and aspirations of the British people. We changed our country because we rejected the philosophy of the 1980s which said that government should just get out of the way and that we were in it just for ourselves. We are proud of our record but today we are running for the future. We have to address a world that is very different now, with major new challenges we must confront: fighting for our economic future in a tough competitive world, tackling climate change, improving public services amidst financial constraint, confronting the reality of international terrorism, adjusting to an ageing society so people can live longer and happier lives, and restoring trust in politics. The global financial crisis shows we need to be bolder about reforming our financial markets and building our economic future on fairer, more solid foundations. To build on success in our public services, we need to protect investment in the front line and also be bold about putting citizens genuinely in control. And we must be bold reformers of our politics: seizing this once in a generation opportunity to make our Parliament properly accountable. In all these decisions, we offer progressive solutions in tough times. We do not measure the boldness of our programme by how much we spend but the results we achieve. By taking hard decisions, being guided at all times by a sense of fairness, we believe that we can continue to advance towards the good society in which we believe. There is a big choice at this election about whether we confront these challenges and build the kind of economy, society and politics we believe in, or duck them. But to be able to meet these future challenges, there are some immediate decisions we need to get right now. Above all, we need to secure the economic recovery. Get it right and we can go on to build a strong economic future. Get it wrong and we will slip back into recession. Labour believes we must not put the recovery at risk by reckless cuts to public spending this year. From the autumn of 2008, big calls had to be made. We nationalised Northern Rock, protected people’s savings, cut VAT to stimulate our economy, put in place job guarantees to get people back to work, and stepped in to stop repossessions. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 0:4 It is working. The banking system has been stabilised. Our economy is showing signs of returning to growth. Unemployment has, so far, risen by over 500,000 less than people expected this time last year. Repossessions are at around half the level of the 1990s. The question at this election is whether people think the choice we made was the right one and whether we use the power of government to help sustain recovery, or allow it to be snuffed out. Every government of the major developed economies – of Left and Right – recognises the need to support the economy while growth is still fragile. We will not cut spending this year, but instead support the economy to ensure recovery is established. Labour believes we should rebuild our economy in new ways: with more high-tech business, fairer rewards and responsibility from all, including at the top. The world changed out of all recognition in 2007 with the onset of the global economic crisis. Major British banks, the custodians of our savings and livelihoods, ran out of money because of the recklessness of those in charge. This Manifesto makes the case that there should be no return to business as usual. People have suffered too much with their jobs, livelihoods and confidence to allow a return to the same old ways. There is a desire not simply to correct for what went wrong, but to seize the opportunity to build anew. Financial services have been an essential job creator in Britain and will continue to be so. But our financial institutions left to themselves have undermined our economy. We are enacting sweeping banking reform to prevent a repeat of the past; ensuring new support for the high-tech industries of the future, such as green industries; and taking action to forge a new culture of long-termism in business. It isn’t markets or governments that create wealth – people do, through their own effort and hard work. So we will do more to support enterprise and to help those who want to build up a business and get on in life. Those who can work must do so and it needs to be properly valued. We will end for good the concept of a life on benefit by offering all those unemployed for more than two years work they must accept, and we will make work pay better with the goal of a minimum wage rising at least in line with average earnings and a guarantee that people will be better off in work than on benefit. As we more than halve the fiscal deficit over the next four years, we will ensure that we do so in a fair way with a combination of a return to economic growth, cuts to lower priority programmes and fair tax rises. Responsibility at the top means people paying their fair share and we believe it is right that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden of paying down the deficit. Labour believes we should protect frontline spending on childcare, schools, the NHS and policing, and reform our public services to put people in control. Millions of people working in our public services embody the best values of Britain, helping empower people to make the most of their own lives while protecting them from the risks they should not have to bear on their own. Just as we need to be bolder about the role of government in making markets work fairly, we also need to be bold reformers of government. For a decade we have combined investment and reform and improved our public services. Now we need to rise to the challenge of achieving even higher standards in a period of constrained resources. We will drive forward our programme to strip out all waste, improve efficiency and get the most out of every pound spent. We recognise that investing more in priority areas will mean cutting back in The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 0:5 others. Above all we will build public services that are more personal to people’s needs: with clear guarantees about standards, the best providers taking over others where they don’t make the grade, and with new ways of organising services such as mutuals. In health, this means if we don’t meet our guarantees, for example on waiting lists, the NHS will fund you to go private. In education it means that if the local school is underperforming it will be taken over; and parents who believe their school is not good enough can trigger a ballot to change the leadership. And in policing, where communities are being let down by forces we will enable them to be taken over by others. Labour will strengthen our society, by protecting the things people value and demanding rights and responsibilities from all. Our society is not broken; it is strong in many different ways. But it is changing fast. Changing with immigration, changing as people move more frequently, as young people grow up more quickly and older people live longer. We will protect the things people value: families, strong communities, local institutions. We will create a new settlement in our country on how we care for the elderly through the creation of a National Care Service, and fathers will have more time off to spend with their kids. There will be greater protection for the local institutions people value, like local post offices and pubs. In everything we do, we will demand the responsibilities that must come with rights: to work when you can, not to abuse your neighbour or neighbourhood, to show respect for Britain as a newcomer, to pay your fair share of tax. Labour proposes radical reform of our democracy to reconnect politics to the people it should serve. Just as the global economic crisis was a shock to our economic system; the expenses crisis created turmoil in our political system. It revealed not just unacceptable behaviour by some MPs but also that our closed political system had lost touch with people. Once again, the response cannot be to try and return to business as usual. We need fundamental reform of our politics to make it more accountable. We will let the people decide how to reform our institutions and our politics: changing the voting system and electing a second chamber to replace the House of Lords. But we will go further, introducing fixed-term parliaments, banning MPs from paid second jobs that pose a conflict of interest, and providing for a free vote in Parliament to widen the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds. In 1997 New Labour met the call of national renewal. In our politics and economy over the last 18 months, we have witnessed seismic events. In this election, the first of the post-crisis era, we stand as the people with the experience, values and ideas to help our country through the next phase of national renewal. This task has always relied on optimism. Our principle opponents, the Conservatives, offer a fundamentally pessimistic vision of national decline: about Britain today and in the future. Their only real prescription for the good society is a smaller state and the decisions they seek to make for our country would favour the privileged few over the many. They would isolate Britain, cutting us adrift from the alliances and influence that will enable us to succeed as a country. This is a Manifesto that is idealistic about what is possible but realistic about how to achieve it. This is not a conservative moment. It is a progressive moment. We speak for the ordinary people of this country who work hard, want their kids to do better than them, and worry about the economic, environmental and social challenges we face. We are on their side, it is their voice, needs and hopes that shape this programme. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 0:6 Securing Britain’s future The plans set out in this Manifesto take full account of the fiscal position we face. We will protect frontline public services while meeting our commitment to halve the deficit over the next four years. We are now emerging from the global financial crisis. It has had a lasting effect on tax receipts, here in the UK and across the world. We are sticking to our spending plans this year so that support for families and businesses remains as we secure the recovery. But from 2011-12, as growth takes hold, spending will be tighter. The Manifesto reflects the tough choices that we will make to secure Britain’s future in a way that is fair to all: Tough choices for £15 billion efficiency savings in 2010-11. • Tough choices on cutting government overheads: £11 billion of further operational • efficiencies and other cross-cutting savings to streamline government will be delivered by 2012-13. Tough choices on pay: action to control public-sector pay including a one per cent • cap on basic pay uplifts for 2011-12 and 2012-13, saving £3.4 billion a year, and new restrictions on senior pay-setting. Tough decisions on public sector pensions to cap the taxpayers’ liability – saving £1 billion a year. Tough choices on spending: £5 billion already identified in cuts to lower priority • spending. Tough choices on welfare: our reforms will increase fairness and work incentives, • including £1.5 billion of savings being delivered. Tough choices on assets: £20 billion of asset sales by 2020. • Tough choices on tax: a bonus tax, reduced tax relief on pensions for the best off, • a new 50p tax rate on earnings over £150,000 and one penny on National Insurance Contributions. Growth The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Building the high-growth economy of the future The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:3 As the economy steadily recovers, there will be no return to business as usual: financial institutions cannot continue the practices of the past. Radical change is needed. Without long-term investment in wealth- creating infrastructure and enterprise, accompanied by the diversification of our industrial base, Britain will not emerge from the recession ready for a stronger, fairer future. The engine of growth is private enterprise: we will give business our full support in creating wealth and jobs. Strong and sustained growth is fundamental to a credible strategy for keeping the public finances on a stable long-term footing. To be successful, business needs stability, but to achieve stability after the seismic shock of the global banking crisis, the governance of our economic and financial institutions must be radically reformed. And to support business in securing prosperity for future generations, an activist industrial strategy is needed: learning the lessons from those nations that have succeeded in developing advanced manufacturing and leading- edge service industries. In these countries the role of government is not to stand aside, but to nurture private- sector dynamism, properly supporting infrastructure and the sectors of the future. Securing the recovery We have taken the tough decisions to get Britain through the downturn. We have done so with fairness in mind: we have not allowed the recession created by the financial crisis to become a depression, or The challenge for Britain To secure the recovery and learn the right lessons from the global economic crisis, laying the foundations for sustained growth: reforming banks, modernising infrastructure, and as we pay down the deficit, providing the right support to the private sector to build a diverse, high-tech industrial economy. The Tories would threaten recovery with cuts this year, and fail to invest in our economic future. The next stage of national renewal Secure the recovery by supporting the economy • now, and more than halve the deficit by 2014 through economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower priority spending. Realise our stakes in publicly controlled banks to secure • the best deal for the taxpayer, introduce a new global levy, and reform the rules for banking to ensure no repeat of past irresponsibility. Create UK Finance for Growth, bringing £4 billion • together to provide capital for growing businesses, investing in the growth sectors of the future. Build a high-tech economy, supporting business and • industry to create one million more skilled jobs and modernising our infrastructure with High Speed Rail, a Green Investment Bank and broadband access for all. Encourage a culture of long-term commitment to • sustainable company growth, requiring a super-majority of two-thirds of shareholders in corporate takeovers. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:4 stood aside and allowed grave damage to be inflicted on our society as it was in the 1930s and 1980s. The Tories argue that public spending should be cut immediately, but this position is out of step with every other G20 government, right or left. If governments do not provide support when families and businesses most need help, growth is set back, jobs are lost, and the country builds up more debts – paying a higher price in the future. To cut now would push the economy back into recession, not reducing the deficit but increasing it. We will continue to support the economy while growth is still fragile, sticking with our targeted increase in public spending over the next year to sustain the recovery. Our focus for the stimulus is strategic investment, putting in place the new digital, transport and energy infrastructures that will support the return to sustainable growth. Deficit reduction and fiscal sustainability Once the recovery is secure, we will rapidly reduce the budget deficit. We have set out a clear, balanced and fair plan to more than halve the deficit over the next four years and we will stick to it. We will achieve this through a combination of: fair tax increases; a firm grip on public spending including cuts in lower-priority areas; and strategies for growth that increase tax revenues and reduce spending on benefits. Over the next Parliament the structural deficit will be cut by more than two-thirds. The huge global recession and our efforts to counter it have required us to make tough choices, including on tax. We have made our choice in ways that put the greatest burden on those with the broadest shoulders. Bankers have faced a bonus tax, tax relief on pensions for the best off will be reduced, and we have introduced a new 50p tax rate on earnings over £150,000. As part of our plan to ensure we protect frontline services while halving the deficit over four years, we have announced that National Insurance will rise by one penny. This will not happen until next year, once growth is firmly established. This is the fairest way to protect key frontline services. Our National Insurance changes will mean that no-one earning under £20,000, or any pensioners, will pay more. It is fairer than alternative options like VAT – which we have not increased since 1997. Our commitments allow us credibly to deliver our deficit reduction plan and to sustain the services that matter most to families. We will not raise the basic, higher and new top rates of tax in the next Parliament and we renew our pledge not to extend VAT to food, children’s clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares. We will maintain tax credits, not cut them. And we have made our choice to protect frontline investment in childcare and schools, the NHS and policing. Tough choices On public spending, we will be relentless in making sure that the public gets value for money for every pound spent. We will overhaul how government works: cutting back-office and property running costs; abolishing unnecessary arms- length-bodies; sharply reducing spending on consultancy and marketing; and cutting lower-priority spend. We have already shown in Budget 2010 how these steps will help us to achieve savings of £20 billion a year by 2012-13, on top of the £15 billion savings that are being delivered this year. We will take a tough stance on public-sector pay, saving over £3 billion by capping public-sector pay rises at The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:5 one per cent in 2011-12 and 2012-13. We have agreed tough reforms to public-sector pensions, which will make significant savings and ensure that pensions for the public- sector workforce are secure and sustainable in the long term. Any government-controlled appointment involving a salary over £150,000 will require ministerial sign-off. Savings from our tougher approach will help realise a fair rate of pay for all those working for central government. As we prepare for the upturn, fiscal responsibility and monetary stability will be the foundations on which we build. We have made the new fiscal responsibility framework legally binding, and we will maintain our inflation target of two per cent so that mortgage rates can be kept as low as possible. Rebuilding our banking system The international banking system played a key role in fuelling the most severe global recession since the Second World War. We are determined to support our financial sector and for it to be a major employer and wealth creator, but there will be no return to the excesses of the past – banks will face tighter regulation. The banking system must support domestic businesses, including start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as mortgages. We have agreed lending targets with those banks in which we have a stake, and there will be consequences for executive remuneration if targets are not met. Learning the lessons of the crisis means ensuring that far greater responsibility is taken for risk in the boardroom. We will compel banks to keep more capital and create ‘living wills’ so that should they fail there will be no danger of that failure spreading. Because the banking crisis demonstrated the global nature of financial instability, we will continue to work with our international partners to require all banks to hold more and better-quality capital, to ensure counter-cyclical protection, and to introduce a global levy on financial services so that banks across the world contribute fairly to the society in which they are based. In the UK the new Council for Financial Stability will monitor and help address asset bubbles and financial imbalances. We will give the FSA additional powers if necessary to constrain and quash executive remuneration where it is a source of risk and instability. If there is evidence of bonus rules being evaded, we will act. We will ensure greater competition in the banking sector, breaking up those banks in which the Government currently has a controlling stake. The proposed Office of Fair Trading review into how City markets operate is welcome. We value the role of building societies owned by their customers and the strength and diversity that a healthy mutual sector brings to our financial services, and we will consult on measures to help strengthen the sector. As one option for the disposal of Northern Rock, we will encourage a mutual solution, while ensuring that the sale generates maximum value for money for the taxpayer. Rebuilding our industrial base: new industries, new jobs, new knowledge Britain is the sixth largest manufacturing economy in the world. Because of substantial investment since 1997, the UK has an excellent research base and is already strong in some world-leading sectors. But if we make the right decisions as a country in the coming years – through a new industrial policy, stronger infrastructure and a renewed partnership between business and government – we The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:6 can be leaders in the emerging industries of the future. After the financial crisis, we will ensure that growing companies can access the investment they need to expand. Finance must be at the service of industry, as new public channels are built to deliver private funds to innovative and fast-growing companies. The new UK Finance for Growth Fund will bring together a total of £4 billion of public funds and combine it with private money to channel equity to businesses looking to develop and grow. Within this, the Growth Capital Fund will focus on SMEs which need capital injections of between £2 and £10 million, while the Innovation Investment Fund will focus on the needs of high-tech firms. Business investment in physical capital will play a key role in a balanced and sustainable recovery. The Strategic Investment Fund is supporting important new investment in the nuclear and renewables industries. We will provide incentives for companies to invest through R&D tax credits, and protect and increase the size of capital allowances that help to grow key sectors such as manufacturing. We will ensure a competitive regime through the development of the patent-box – a lower rate of corporation tax to encourage UK-based innovation – supporting the UK’s strengths in new industries and sectors. Investing in science and research Britain is among the best places in the world to do science, having massively increased investment in research and development as a proportion of national income. We are committed to a ring-fenced science budget in the next spending review. To help us do better in turning research outputs into innovation, we will provide focused investment for Technology and Innovation Centres, developing technologies where the UK has world-leading expertise. We will also support university research through the Higher Education Innovation Fund, and through the development of a new University Enterprise Capital Fund. The proceeds of success will flow back into the higher education sector. As we create a more diverse economy, we will strengthen support for exporters to help us increase our market share with our traditional markets in Europe and the United States, while breaking further into the emerging markets of China, India and Brazil. We must seize the opportunity to develop education, in particular higher education, as a great export business. Universities will be encouraged to develop international links and research partnerships, and we want the Open University and learndirect to reach the global market in distance learning. We will develop a new gateway for the export of NHS intellectual property and cutting-edge services. Restoring full employment We expect our growing economic and sectoral strengths to create at least one million skilled jobs by 2015. These jobs of the future will increasingly come from the new growth sectors in which we are investing – low-carbon, digital and creative industries, life sciences – and professional services in business, healthcare and education. There will be greater prosperity for every region of the UK economy. A regional growth fund will be established by the Regional Development Agencies with regional ministers given an enhanced role, and we will help our core cities and city regions to become powerhouses The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:7 of innovation and growth, with a major devolution of power to shape local transport and skills. Championing an enterprise economy At the heart of our approach to building a strong and fair Britain is a commitment to support enterprise. We will back those who want to get on, work their way up, and generate wealth. We will keep business taxation competitive at the same time as we increase capital allowances to encourage investment. There is no substitute for the drive and ambition that entrepreneurs bring. We will support small businesses and help with their cash flow by continuing our Time to Pay scheme that has already – through tax and NICs deferral – helped thousands of firms; offering a one-year holiday on business rates for small businesses; widening support for training and apprenticeships; and in recognising the special contribution of entrepreneurs we are doubling the Entrepreneurs Relief lifetime limit to £2 million. We will also create a new Small Business Credit Adjudicator with statutory powers ensuring that SMEs are not turned down unfairly when applying to banks for finance. We will help to create a new generation of entrepreneurs, ensuring that those studying for vocational skills are offered the opportunity to learn how to start and run a business, while the Flying Start programme will do the same for final-year university students. We will continue to simplify regulation and avoid unnecessary red tape. If it is used correctly, regulation can help drive innovation, as well as protect workers and consumers. We will seek to reduce the costs of regulation by more than £6 billion by 2015. 21st Century infrastructure The key to creating the industries of the future is renewing the national infrastructure on which firms rely. To ensure Britain’s infrastructure needs are properly resourced, we will work in partnership with the private sector, reforming the regulation of energy to improve incentives for the private sector to invest. We will establish a Green Investment Bank to invest in low-carbon infrastructure, with the Government’s stake funded by the sale of infrastructure assets. The Government will seek to match its contribution with at least £1 billion of private-sector investment. The newly formed Infrastructure Planning Commission will – within a democratically determined framework – help streamline and speed up decision-making on major projects. We now propose to extend the public interest test so that it is applied to potential takeovers of infrastructure and utility companies. Broadband Britain Britain must be a world leader in the development of broadband. We are investing in the most ambitious plan of any industrialised country to ensure a digital Britain for all, extending access to every home and business. We will reach the long-term vision of superfast broadband for all through a public-private partnership in three stages: first, giving virtually every household in the country a broadband service of at least two megabits per second by 2012; second, making possible superfast broadband for the vast majority of Britain The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:8 in partnership with private operators, with Government investing over £1 billion in the next seven years; and lastly reaching the final ten per cent using satellites and mobile broadband. Because we are determined that every family and business, not just some, should benefit, we will raise revenue to pay for this from a modest levy on fixed telephone lines. And we will continue to work with business, the BBC and other broadcasting providers to increase take-up of broadband and to ensure Britain becomes a leading digital economy. Rebuilding our transport infrastructure Britain needs to invest in modern, high-capacity and low- carbon transport infrastructure. At the heart of our growth plan is the commitment to a new high-speed rail line, linking North and South. Built in stages, the initial line will link London to Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds, and then to the North and Scotland. By running through-trains from day one, cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool will also be part of the initial network. Journey times will be slashed – those from the West Midlands to London will be as little as 31 minutes. We will consult fully on legislation to take forward our high-speed rail plans within the next Parliament. High-speed rail is not just about faster journey times. It will free up capacity on existing intercity rail lines, enabling more rail freight, commuter and local services We will press ahead with a major investment programme in existing rail services, hugely improving commuter services into and through London, and electrifying new rail-lines including the Great Western Main Line from London to South Wales. We will complete the new east-west Crossrail line in London adding ten per cent to London transport capacity. Rail passenger numbers have increased by 40 per cent in the last ten years and punctuality and quality of service are improving steadily. We will encourage more people to switch to rail with an enforceable right to the cheapest fare, while trebling the number of secure cycle- storage spaces at rail stations. We will welcome rail franchise bids from not-for-profit, mutual or co-operative franchise enterprises and will look to remove unfair barriers that prevent such bids benefiting passengers and taxpayers. Tackling road congestion is a key Labour priority. We will extend hard-shoulder running on motorways, alongside targeted motorway widening including on the M25. Too much disruption is caused by local road works: we will increase tenfold the penalties on utilities who allow work to overrun. We rule out the introduction of national road pricing in the next Parliament. Heathrow is Britain’s international hub airport, already operating at full capacity, and supporting millions of jobs, businesses and citizens who depend upon it. We support a third runway at Heathrow, subject to strict conditions on environmental impact and flight numbers, but we will not allow additional runways to proceed at any other airport in the next Parliament. Through our investment, Labour has put Britain at the forefront of electric and low- carbon vehicle manufacturing. To promote the rapid take-up of electric and low-carbon cars, we will ensure there are 100,000 electric vehicle charging points by the end of the next Parliament. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Growth 1:9 Corporate governance reform To build strong businesses we need skilled managers, accountable boards, and committed shareholders – all with a culture of long- term commitment. We will strengthen the 2006 Companies Act where necessary better to reflect these principles. The UK’s Stewardship Code for institutional shareholders should be strengthened and we will require institutional shareholders to declare how they vote and for banks to put their remuneration policies to shareholders for explicit approval. Too many takeovers turn out to be neither good for the acquiring company or the firm being bought. The system needs reform. Companies should be more transparent about their long-term plans for the business they want to acquire. There needs to be more disclosure of who owns shares, a requirement for bidders to set out how they will finance their bids and greater transparency on advisers’ fees. There should be a higher threshold of support – two- thirds of shareholders – for securing a change of ownership and the case for limiting votes to those on the register before the bid should be examined. Creating a shareholding society We want Britain’s workers to have a stake in their company by widening share ownership and creating more employee- owned and trust-owned businesses. We want to see a step change in the role of employee-owned companies in the economy, recognising that many entrepreneurs would like to see their companies in the hands of their employees when they retire. We will review any outstanding barriers to the formation of more employee- companies like the John Lewis Partnership. Living standards The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Prosperity for all not just a few The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Living standards 2:2 As the British economy returns to growth, we will ensure that everyone who is willing to work shares fairly in renewed prosperity. We will support the recovery so that we see a swift return to full employment, with more chances to get on at work and a fair distribution of growth throughout Britain. Our job guarantees will put an end to long-term unemployment and a life on benefits. No one fit for work should be abandoned to a life on benefit, so all those who can work will be required to do so. At the same time, we believe that people should be able to earn enough to live and be better off than on welfare. In today’s world, every worker needs to be able to upgrade their skills in order to get on. As well as good career prospects, people want to know that their living standards and quality of life will improve. So we will enable more people to get on the housing ladder; offer a helping hand to build up savings; and secure a fair deal with the banks to strengthen people’s personal finances. A modern welfare state for all We will build a personalised welfare system that offers protection for all those who need it, increases people’s control over their own lives, and is clear about the responsibilities owed to others. Getting more people into employment increases tax revenues and reduces spending on benefits. Our intensive help for people out of work – starting from day one – has already kept unemployment more than half a million lower than predicted during the recession, saving £15 billion over the next five years. We are determined that no-one should be scarred for life by joblessness. No young person in Britain should be long-term unemployed: those out of work for six months or more will be guaranteed employment The challenge for Britain To grow together as a country, rewarding those who work hard so they can do well and look after their families: returning Britain to full employment, enabling people to get higher-paid and better jobs, and widening access to home ownership. The Tories have no plan for fairness; their decisions would make our society more unequal and unjust. The next stage of national renewal • 200,000 jobs through the Future Jobs Fund, with a job or training place for young people who are out of work for six months, but benefits cut at ten months if they refuse to take part; and anyone unemployed for more than two years guaranteed work, but no option of life on benefits. • A National Minimum Wage rising at least in line with average earnings, and a new £40-a-week Better Off in Work guarantee. • More advanced apprenticeships and Skills Accounts for workers to upgrade their skills. • No stamp duty for first-time buyers on all house purchases below £250,000 for two years, paid for by a five per cent rate on homes worth more than £1 million. • A People’s Bank at the Post Office; a Universal Service Obligation on banks to serve every community; a clampdown on interest rates for doorstep and payday loans. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Living standards 2:3 or training through the £1 billion Future Jobs Fund, with mandatory participation after ten months. The fund will support 200,000 jobs. All those who are long-term unemployed for two years will be guaranteed a job placement, which they will be required to take up or have their benefits cut. More people with disabilities and health conditions will be helped to move into work from Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance, as we extend the use of our tough-but-fair work capability test. This will help to reduce the benefit bill by £1.5 billion over the next four years. We will reassess the Incapacity Benefit claims of 1.5 million people by 2014, as we move those able to work back into jobs. For those with the most serious conditions or disabilities who want to work there will be a new guarantee of supported employment after two years on benefit. We will seek to ensure that disabled people are able to lead dignified and independent lives, free of discrimination and with the support to which they are entitled. The lone parent employment rate has increased by over 12 per cent since 1997. We are radically reforming how Job Centre Plus helps lone parents: providing extra help with childcare, training and support to find family-friendly work, while requiring those with children aged three to take steps to prepare for work and actively to seek employment once their youngest child is seven years old. Our goal is to make responsibility the cornerstone of our welfare state. Housing Benefit will be reformed to ensure that we do not subsidise people to live in the private sector on rents that other ordinary working families could not afford. And we will continue to crack down on those who try to cheat the benefit system. Making work pay The National Minimum Wage is one of our proudest achievements. It protects and sustains millions of low- paid workers. To ensure that the lowest paid share fairly in rising prosperity, the Low Pay Commission’s remit will have the goal of the National Minimum Wage rising at least in line with average earnings over the period to 2015. To underline our commitment to helping the lowest paid we will ask all Whitehall Departments, within their allocated budgets, to follow the lead of those who already pay the Living Wage. This will be supported by measures to address high pay in the public sector - reducing pay-bill pressure in the years ahead. To ensure that work pays, we will guarantee that when someone who has found it difficult to get into work comes off benefits, their family will be at least £40 a week better off. This is our Better Off in Work guarantee: together the National Minimum Wage and tax credits should always make work pay. And we will consult on further reforms to simplify the benefits system and make sure it gives people the right incentives and personal support to get into work and progress in their jobs. We want everyone to have better prospects in work. We will give the Low Pay Commission additional responsibilities to report on productivity and career progression in low-skilled, low- paid sectors, bringing together representatives from the business community and social partners. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Living standards 2:4 Getting ahead: investing in you As we restore full employment to the British economy, we will seek to make work more fulfilling and secure. That means helping people to improve their skills. We have rescued the apprenticeship system supporting more than 250,000 places a year, and we will now expand technician-level apprenticeships to ensure Britain has the skills it needs for the future. We have legislated for a right to request time for training and will continue to invest in workplace training through Train to Gain. New Skills Accounts will enable every worker to make choices that drive improvement and quality in the skills system. Accounts will help learners know what training they are entitled to, the level of funding available and the benefits of training for their careers. But good work is about more than just skills. Stronger employee engagement improves innovation and productivity: we will continue to promote more effective employee engagement in the workplace. Improving your living standards Our aim is to put more wealth in the hands of the British people. We have done all we can to keep mortgage rates low – at 0.5 per cent during this recession compared to 15 per cent in the 1990s – and will continue to do so in the future. The direct tax and benefit measures introduced since 1997 mean that in 2010- 11, households will be £1,450 a year better off on average. A family with one child and one person working full time will have a minimum income of £310 a week in October 2010 - 27 per cent higher in real terms than in 1999. Tax credits will be increased not cut. As family budgets are under greater pressure, we will do more to help people with the cost of living. Council Tax increases have fallen to their lowest ever rate and we expect them to stay low. There will be more help with energy bills through the Social Tariff and Winter Fuel Payments, and we will work with the regulator to promote greater competition and diversity in the supply of energy to ensure falling wholesale prices get passed onto households in lower bills. Fairness at work We will strive to ensure fairness at work for all employees, continuing our crackdown on exploitative gang-masters and rogue employers. In all sectors the law must be upheld, properly enforcing safety and employment rights, and tackling tax avoidance. We will extend the licensing approach to labour providers in the construction industry if the evidence shows that is the best way to enforce employment rights. We have strengthened HMRC’s enforcement of the minimum wage. In future it will co- operate more closely with local authorities to enforce minimum wage legislation. We are enacting the Agency Workers Directive to offer additional protection to agency workers in relation to pay and conditions. New legislation and the Equality and Human Rights Commission will ensure that people are not held back at work because of their gender, age, disability, race and religious or sexual orientation. The new Equality Act will be enforced, promoting fairness across our society. The public duty to promote equality of opportunity is being extended. We will encourage employers to make greater use of pay reviews and equality checks to eliminate The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Living standards 2:5 unfair pay gaps, including inequalities in pay between men and women. Modern trade unions are an important part of our society and economy, providing protection and advice for employees, and working for equality and greater fairness in the workplace. We welcome their positive role in encouraging partnership and productivity. More home ownership Owning your own home is the aspiration of most families. We want as many people as possible to share in the benefits of home ownership, and to have a stake in an affordable home. That everyone has access to a decent home at a price they can afford is a central Labour ambition. We will widen home ownership: over 160,000 households have been supported into ownership through government action since 1997. We will exempt purchases below £250,000 from stamp duty for the next two years, benefiting more than nine out of ten first-time buyers. This will be paid for by increasing stamp duty to five per cent for homes worth more than £1 million. Our highly popular Home Buy Direct scheme will continue. We will work with Housing Associations to develop a new form of affordable housing targeted at working families on modest incomes who struggle in the private sector and rarely qualify for social housing. This will focus on enabling working people to rent an affordable home at below market rates while they build up an equity stake. We have acted decisively to make repossession the last resort, helping over 330,000 families stay in their homes so that repossessions are running at around half the rate of the early 1990s recession. We will now strengthen regulation to ensure consistent standards of consumer protection from repossession, making the FSA responsible for the regulation of all mortgages. This means transferring second charge loans such as debt consolidation loans, which are often issued by sub-prime lenders, into the FSA’s tougher regime – guaranteeing equal protection for homeowners. We are investing £7.5 billion over two years to 2011 to build new houses, delivering 110,000 additional energy-efficient, affordable homes to rent or buy. We believe local authorities should be able to play their part in providing social housing in the future; and we will reform the council house financing system to enable local authorities to maintain properties at the Decent Home standard and to build up to 10,000 council houses a year by the end of the next Parliament. Tenant involvement in the management of social housing properties will be strongly encouraged. Better housing This Government has led the way in making sure that British homes are greener homes through our world-leading commitment to all new homes being zero carbon by 2016 and the construction of new eco-towns, which will have the highest standards of green living yet seen in Britain. Local authorities now have greater flexibility over the allocation of social housing in order to promote mixed and sustainable communities. We will guarantee the three million households who rent from a private landlord the right to a written tenancy agreement and access to free and impartial advice; and we will establish a new National Landlord Register. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Living standards 2:6 We are committed to ending rough sleeping by 2012, and we will tackle the problems faced by homeless people with multiple needs. We will provide homeless 16 and 17 year olds with Foyer-based supported accommodation and training including help with parenting skills. Once there is enough provision to provide universal coverage we will legislate to change the law so that for 16 and 17 year olds the right to housing is met solely through supported housing. Our regeneration policies have transformed previously neglected communities, and our great cities are among the best in the world. We will make savings in regeneration funding and focus on tackling worklessness, transforming the prospects of those areas most disconnected from the wider economy. Support with saving We will do more to support saving and spread wealth across more families. The annual limits for Individual Savings Accounts have been raised to £10,200 and will be index- linked. The Pension Credit capital disregard will increase from £6,000 to £10,000. The pioneering Savings Gateway account for people on lower incomes will be available to over eight million families from July 2010, providing a match of 50p for each £1 saved up to a limit of £300. We will extend this approach even further, giving a boost to savings for more people on middle incomes. To help encourage the savings habit among young adults, we will develop a matched savings account for all 18-30 basic-rate taxpayers, as set out in the Budget. For the next generation we will protect – not cut – the Child Trust Fund – the world’s first universal savings policy for young people, already giving 4.8 million children a nest egg for the future. We will contribute an additional £100 a year to the Child Trust Funds of all disabled children. A new deal on personal finances In the post-crisis economy, we will fight for consumers and stand up to vested interests that treat people unfairly, whether in the private or public sector. We want a fair deal for all. The Post Office has an invaluable role to play in our communities and in serving local businesses. To promote trusted and accessible banking, we will transform the Post Office into a People’s Bank offering a full range of competitive, affordable products. This will help sustain the network and boost competition in banking. The universal postal service delivered by the Royal Mail connects and binds us together as a country. We are firmly committed to the 28 million homes and businesses across the country receiving mail six days a week, with the promise that one price goes everywhere. The Royal Mail and its staff are taking welcome and needed steps to modernise work practices. For the future, continuing modernisation and investment will be needed by the Royal Mail in the public sector. We will introduce a universal service obligation on retail banks, so that all consumers with a valid address have a legal right to a basic bank account, and a right to redress if this is refused. Banks will have to publicly report on the extent to which they are under-serving communities. And we will introduce a new levy on the banks to help fund a step-change in the scale of affordable lending by third- sector organisations, including a new partnership with the Post Office, offering an alternative to loan sharks and high-cost doorstep lending. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Living standards 2:7 Over the lifetime of the next Parliament, as more affordable lending becomes available, we will clamp down on the interest rates and other fees charged by instant loan companies and payday or doorstep lenders, tackling the very high cost lending that hits low-income communities hardest. We will introduce a single regulator for consumer finance to restore confidence and trust with responsibility for the supervision of all unsecured lending being passed to the Financial Services Authority. And new rules governing how financial products are sold will be introduced with a crackdown on unfair terms in contracts. Finally, we will seek to promote competition in high-street banking by introducing portable bank account and cash ISA numbers that stimulate switching where consumers are dissatisfied, along with consistent, easily understood labelling of financial products. Education The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Excellence in education: every child the chance to fulfil their potential The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Education 3:2 Education is the key to personal fulfilment, economic prosperity and social mobility. Our goal is educational excellence for every child, whatever their background or circumstances. In 1997, half of our secondary schools were below the basic minimum standard. Now, because of sustained investment and reform, it is just one in twelve, with standards rising fastest in disadvantaged areas. Nearly 100,000 more children each year leave primary school secure in reading, writing and maths. School buildings, once characterised by leaking roofs and second-class facilities, are being transformed. The quality of teaching is the best ever and teachers have the status and respect they deserve. Frontline spending on Sure Start, childcare, schools and 16- 19 learning will be increased, safeguarding our priorities such as an additional 41,000 teachers and 120,000 teaching assistants. But funding will not rise as fast as in recent years, making tough choices necessary to focus resources on the front line, with £950m saved through collaboration and efficiency in back office functions and procurement and £500m from quangos and central budgets. The range and reach of innovative school providers will increase, spreading excellence to all schools. We will strive to get the best people into teaching and give parents new rights to secure good schooling for their children. Participation in post-school learning will expand, with more and better apprenticeships, improved The challenge for Britain To raise standards, promote excellence and narrow achievement gaps by giving the best school leaders and federations more schools to run, and by giving parents new rights and clear guarantees of high-quality teaching and support for every pupil — underpinned by increased spending. The Tories want to gamble with our children’s education, putting school improvement at risk and taking away the guarantees of an excellent education for all. The next stage of national renewal • Spending increased on frontline Sure Start and free childcare, schools and 16-19 learning. • An expansion of free nursery places for two year olds and 15 hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three and four year olds. • Every pupil leaving primary school secure in the basics, with a 3Rs guarantee of one-to-one and small-group tuition for every child falling behind; and in secondary school, every pupil with a personal tutor and a choice of good qualifications. • A choice of good schools in every area – and, where parents are not satisfied – the power to bring in new school leadership teams, through mergers and take- overs, with up to 1,000 secondary schools part of an accredited schools group by 2015. • Every young person guaranteed education or training until 18, with 75 per cent going on to higher education, or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training, by the age of 30. The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Education 3:3 vocational education, and wider access to higher education. The early years Good play-based early learning gets children off to a flying start, so that they begin school ready to learn and achieve. We have expanded high-quality early learning and childcare, which also supports parents to work when they have young children and improves family living standards. There are now over 3,500 Sure Start Children’s Centres and every three and four year old has access to free nursery education, which is rising to 15 hours a week. Children’s Centres will become the bedrock of a new national under-fives service: ‘one-stop shops’, open to all families, offering excellent affordable childcare, healthcare and parenting advice. The number of free early learning places for disadvantaged two year olds will be expanded, on the way to our long-term goal of universal free childcare for this age group. Flexible childcare Busy working parents will have more flexibility over the hours their children have access to nursery education, such as taking them over two full working days, as well as greater choice over when children start school. We will also explore allowing parents to carry over their free hours of nursery education from year to year. Childcare vouchers will be retained, with all families receiving income tax relief at the basic rate, and childcare standards will be raised by a more qualified workforce. We want to strengthen parental engagement with Sure Start Children’s Centres. Some voluntary and third-sector organisations already run networks of Centres, and we will now pioneer mutual federations running groups of local Children’s Centres in the community interest. Excellence for all: every school a good school Every parent wants their child to attend an excellent school – with the best possible teaching and facilities. So for pupils and parents we will set out in law guarantees of the excellent education and personal support they can expect. No school can be better than the quality of its teachers. We have the best generation of teachers ever, supported by teaching assistants and the wider workforce. But we must continue to get the very best people into teaching, from the most committed graduates to the highest calibre career switchers. Teach First will be extended to attract more of the best graduates into teaching, including teaching in primary schools. We have invested heavily in the professionalism and expertise of the workforce, and will build on this success with a new right for every teacher to continuous professional development; in return they will have to demonstrate high standards of teaching to maintain their licence to practise. We will promote new Teacher Training Academies and £10,000 ‘golden handcuffs’ to attract the best teachers into the most challenging schools. While the number of low- performing schools has decreased dramatically, we cannot tolerate any coasting or persistently poor schools. Over the last decade, we have developed a cadre of world-class head teachers, radically opened up our school system to new providers, and worked with local authorities and school governing bodies to drive up standards. Our task now is to devolve more power and responsibility to strong school leaders and to spread excellence, with The Labour Party Manifesto 2010 Education 3:4 up to 1,000 schools, through mergers and ta



You must sign in to comment