I’ve attended almost all Labour conferences since 2011 but this one felt different. This conference delivered a strong message to Britain. Labour will rebuild Britain, investing in our communities that have been left behind.
Conference was full of new policies, that together with our 2017 General Election manifesto, can help rebuild forgotten communities across Britain. Here’s my short guide to what conference means for ordinary working people in North Warwickshire.
Labour have made clear that free movement of people will end but we still want to be able to trade goods and services with the European Union. We’ve made clear that the best way to do that is through a customs union that protects jobs and standards. Labour have committed to voting against a bad deal in Parliament and will oppose the Tories recklessly allowing us to crash out without a deal. No deal puts thousands of British jobs at risk. Jobs, such as those with Jaguar Land Rover, at Hams Hall or Birch Coppice would be at risk, all for the sake of appeasing some right wingers on the fringes of the Conservative Party.
The next Labour Government will reverse the deregulation of planning that we’ve seen under the Conservatives. We’ll end the practice of ignoring local people when decisions are made about new developments in their community. Labour has established a new Planning Commission to reach out to communities across the country. We believe it’s time for a root and branch review of the planning system, to put local people back in control to ensure development is right for their area and that appropriate infrastructure is delivered alongside development.
Labour’s policy on childcare was probably the single biggest offer to working people. As a working parent, who pays hundreds of pounds a month for my two year old at nursery, I understand how costly working can be when childcare is taken into account. I am therefore delighted the party announced that all 2, 3 and 4 year olds will get at least 30 hours free childcare a week under the next Labour Government. Many parents will get more than 30 hours but even those who don’t, will have additional hours capped at a cost of just £4.
The next Labour Government will step up the fight against climate change and will do so by helping create more than 400,000 good jobs in the green energy industry. Jobs that pay well and come with the power of a good trade union to protect against exploitative employers.
Inclusive Ownership Funds
A catchy title! Labour’s announced that firms with over 250 employees will be forced to transfer 1% of their share value, each year, into a fund controlled by a group of people elected by staff. This fund would then pay staff members a ‘dividend’ each year which is estimated to be £500 per year.
Labour believe in employees sharing in the wealth they help create. It can no longer be the case that big bosses at the top take home all the reward when it’s the workers who generate it.
A publicly-owned water system
Our water has been sold off and run for private profit, not public good. Labour will change that. It’s not right that water bills have increased by 40% since privatisation and at the same time over £18 billion has been paid out in profit to shareholders. Labour will put water back into public hands, through a network of regional companies owned by local Councils. At the same time, we’ll reduce bills, saving an average household around £100 per year.
Workers on boards
It’s about time that staff have a say in how their companies are run. So Labour will require large companies to have workers on their boards, giving a stronger voice to workers and helping companies to understand that wealth and profit is created by those workers at the bottom, not the few at the top.
Labour will work to reinvigorate our High Streets, ending bank closures and putting a ban on cash point charges. We’ll improve local bus services and introduce free bus travel for under 25’s. Labour will improve connectivity, providing free Wi-Fi in our town centres and establish a register of landlords of empty shops in each council area and we’ll reform business rates to make sure smaller businesses pay less.
10 days paid leave for victims of domestic abuse
In Government, Labour will require all employers to provide 10 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence. On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former abusive partner. These 10 days paid leave could help save lives.
Second homes levy to tackle homelessness
Under Labour, second homes that are used as holiday homes will face an additional payment to tackle homelessness. 120,000 children are currently homeless, living in temporary accommodation. This new levy will help to tackle homelessness, ensuring everyone has a place to call home.
Labour, in Government, will give renters new rights to control rental costs, improve conditions and increase security, we’ll set up new renter’s unions to allow renters to come together and organise to defend their rights, putting the many before the power of the few.
Academies & Education
Labour will end the academy programme, bringing schools back into local authority control and ending the scandal of the very few making a profit out of our kids’ education. Labour will return significant powers back to local councils, making them responsible for local school admissions and providing them with the ability to create new school places in their communities.
Labour would also save schools over half a billion pounds a year by creating a national substitute teacher register, ending the rip off agency fees that put our kids school funding in the hands of a few profiteers.
Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund
Labour in Government will cover the costs of young cancer patients and their families, ensuring that the NHS is funded to cover all costs associated with travel to and from hospital for cancer treatment.