Labour 2017 Pledges

Local Labour candidate Laurie South sets out Labour's ten secure pledges, what they mean to Kingston and Surbiton and the choices voters have in the 2017 General Election.

This election is a choice between two philosophies.

(i)            Tory philosophy: this consists of –

  1. cutting back the state and balancing the books through “austerity” - that is cut all public expenditure to the bone, privatising where-ever possible to raise finances:
  2. reliance on laissez faire economics: if there is some growth, irrespective of the quality of life, leave the economy alone. This means a growth bubble based on:
  • low wages and insecure employment
  • individual debt growing while interest rates seem low
  • low investment in research and development, plant, and machinery that increases productivity
  • high dividends often to overseas investors
  • low tax to attract more foreign investment
  1. the individual should be responsible for him- or her-self. The individual takes all the risk for any misfortune (illness, unemployment, etc)
  2. the individual becomes the ultimate consumer: electricity, water, gas, schools, health, training etc are more and more the choice of the individual. Taxes are reduced but the individual has to shoulder responsibility for choosing services
  3. the market place always pushes prices down and efficiency up

(ii)          Labour philosophy: this consists of –

  1. wealth is created by a partnership of entrepreneurs, government, unions, employees, investors, and the community, with all playing a part and all sharing in that wealth
  2. government investment in the skills, infra-structure, broadband, renewables, research and development, export support structures, and industrial sector organisations to create the optimum environment for business both small and large to flourish. Austerity just reduces the Gross Domestic Product and reduces the state income
  3. members of the community pool the risks of ill-health or misfortune, and accept that they may be lucky and not fall on hard or difficult times and yet still contribute to the pool
  4. many in society do not have the luxury of being able to choose, and yet others do not want to spend their time choosing between, for example, electricity providers
  5. the market place is not necessarily efficient and more often drives prices up and efficiency down through cartels, price-fixing or maximising short-term profits.

Labour’s manifesto is based on rectifying the failures of the Conservative policies and creating a strong economy for the many, not just the few.

1. A secure economy for the 21st Century

v  Brexit negotiations prioritising jobs and the economy

v  A National Investment Bank to build a high skilled, high tech, low carbon economy that ends austerity

v  £500bn investment to build a high skilled, high tech, low carbon economy that ends austerity, allow good businesses to thrive, and support a new generation of co-operative enterprises

v  Creating 500 million new jobs

v  Supporting small business through curbs on late payments, rates exemption, and creating export supports

v  No tax increase for 95% of the population

For Kingston & Surbiton this means:

  • Fostering more small businesses and co-operatives
  • Better digital communications
  • Retention of jobs in companies dealing with EU
  • Taxes will not go up for ordinary people on average salaries: money stays in your pocket

 2. Secure homes

v  1 million new homes over the Parliamentary term

v  At least half the new homes council or truly affordable homes for ordinary people

v  Secure tenancies and rent controls

v  Regulation of landlords

For Kingston & Surbiton this means:

  • More council and affordable homes which are desperately needed in a Borough with a 9,000 long waiting list
  • Proper regulation of the rental market where prices rises are out of control and where young people and those on low wages (such as shop-workers) struggle to find a decent home within their means. In Kingston 21% of families with children are in private rentals and where 43% of median income goes on rent
  • More security for tenants in the rental sector where you can too easily be evicted at present
  • Reduce and eradicate homelessness which is growing

 3. Secure Education

v  A national system as opposed to the fragmented provision

v  Proper resourcing of schools

v  Increased childcare

v  Free school meals for primary pupils

v  Maintenance grants at further and higher education for those needing help

v  Apprenticeships and adult skills provision

v  Cut all university tuition fees

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • No cuts to the number of teachers in schools
  • Easier to build in important elements across schools such as special needs provision, careers education or counselling
  • New schools will be properly planned when and where they are needed by the local authority
  • Everyone who wishes can have full-time pre-school provision, not the half-time care that makes it impossible to work full-time
  • No child will have to try and learn while they are hungry
  • Those currently unable to afford to go to further education or university will receive help
  • An apprenticeship or adult training will be available to everyone who needs to up-skill to retain employment or improve their career opportunities

 4. Secure health and community care

 v  A halt to the sustainability and transformation programme which is basically cuts under a fancy name

v  An end to privatisation of the NHS brought in by the Lib Dem / Tory coalition

v  Training sufficient nurses and doctors (re-introducing training bursaries)

v  Mental health given parity of priority and funding

v  NHS provision and community care properly integrated

 What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • None of the network of hospitals in the South West, and particularly St Helier, is under threat of closure
  • A history of poor mental health identification, diagnosis and treatment can be ended
  • People ready to be discharged but needing community care can will no longer stop people being able to access hospital treatment
  • There will be sufficient staff at hospitals
  • Waiting list times will be back to those introduced by the Labour government (4 hours in A&E, no more than 18 weeks waiting for treatment, or possible cancer patients seen within 2 weeks)
  • Free parking for patients and visitors in Kingston Hospital car park

 5. Secure later life

v  Labour will guarantee the triple pensions lock until 2025

v  Care in later life means your home is not at risk

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • The triple lock is a guarantee to increase the state pension every year by the higher of inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5%. So those reliant on the state pension will have a guaranteed income increase.
  • Your home will not be grabbed by an insurance company to pay your later life care costs

6. Secure working life

v  £10 per hour minimum wage for all from 18 year olds onwards

v  Guaranteeing and re-introducing workers’ rights (e.g. scrapping charges for industrial tribunals)

v  Ban zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships

v  Rights for the self-employed

v  4 extra bank holidays bring UK in line with other G7 countries

v  4 weeks paid paternity leave not 2 weeks

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • You will have extra time to spend with your family and friends
  • For those on low wages – including the young - you will have more to spend
  • The uncertainties and instabilities in the workplace introduced by the coalition and the Tories will be ended

 7. Secure environment

v  Fulfill obligations under the Paris agreement

v  Low carbon economy

v  Clean renewable energy with emphasis on community schemes

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • Steps to counter killing air pollution in places like Eden Street, Cromwell Road or Fountain roundabout
  • Community schemes to cut domestic electricity bills in schemes like Cambridge Road Estate regeneration and opportunities for tenants and freeholders to develop local schemes

8. Secure public services

v  Increase local democracy

v  In-sourcing of council services

v  Railways and buses brought back ownership by the people not foreign companies

v  Development of local arts and sports facilities

v  10,000 more police

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • Better, more reliable, and cheaper rail services complemented by a good bus service
  • Waste disposal and other services run by the council for the community
  • More arts and sports facilities, reaching parts of Kingston that have been neglected
  • More community police on the streets

9. Secure equality

v  Action to tackle violence against women and girls, racism and discrimination on the basis of faith, and secure real equality for LGBT and disabled people

v  Increase the number of schemes countering violence against women

v  Close the pay gender gap

v  Guaranteed rights for EU citizens

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • Working with groups to tackle discrimination, hate crimes, and providing more and better women’s refuges
  • Ensuring the many EU citizens that live amongst us, including many working in Kingston hospital, feel they are valued and want to stay

10. Secure world

v  Putting the UN at the heart of foreign policy

v  Valuing human rights and justice in our trade relationships

v  Seeking multi-lateral disarmament

What this means for you in Kingston & Surbiton

  • No more threats by Tory ministers to “nuke” countries we dislike, but working with other countries through international institutions to offer a feeling of security
  • Refusing to trade with countries that violate human rights and thus helping many in Kingston who have families in these countries

This not a full summary of Labour’s manifesto. The full manifesto is available here

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