Work should provide a decent life for all, guaranteeing not just dignity and respect in the workplace, but also the income and leisure time to allow for a fulfilling life outside it.
Under the Tories, pay has stagnated while insecurity and inequality are rising.
Work no longer guarantees a way out of poverty. Of 14.3 million people in poverty, nine million live in families where at least one adult works. Real wages are still lower than before the financial crisis, while dividends paid to shareholders are up 85%.
Labour will eradicate in-work poverty in our first term by tackling the structural causes of poverty and inequality, such as low pay and high living costs, while raising the floor provided by our social safety net.
Too many people have found themselves in a spiral of debt as wages fell and housing costs rose. Labour will cap the total amount that can be paid in overdraft fees or interest on a loan.
We will rapidly introduce a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 and over, and use savings to public finances to help small businesses manage the extra cost.
We will give workers a stake in the companies they work for – and a share of the profits they help create – by requiring large companies to set up Inclusive Ownership Funds (IOFs). Up to 10% of a company will be owned collectively by employees, with dividend payments distributed equally among all, capped at £500 a year, and the rest being used to top up the Climate Apprenticeship Fund. The cap will rise to ensure that no more than 25% of dividends raised by IOFs are redistributed in this way.
And we will explore other innovative ways of responding to low pay, including a pilot of Universal Basic Income.
Growing numbers of the workforce are self-employed. While for some this brings freedom and autonomy, it can also bring insecurity. Self-employed people will benefit from a broad range of our policies, from free childcare and full-fibre broadband to face-to-face lending and business support through our Post Bank.
We will also seek to develop tailored support and protections for the self- employed, including: collective income protection insurance schemes, annual income assessments for those on Universal Credit, and better access to mortgages and pension schemes.
We will tackle late payments that leave small businesses and the self-employed waiting months to be paid, including banning late payers from public procurement.
Ministry for Employment Rights
Throughout history, working people in Britain have improved their lives by coming together to demand rights and protections. Even after decades in which workers’ rights have been cut back and their unions’ capacity to defend them have been slashed, the Tories believe that workers’ terms and conditions should be dictated by employers on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis.
We are proud of the trade union movement’s historic achievements in giving people a voice at work through collective action. It is not just part of our history; it is also part of our future. Only by shifting the balance of power back towards workers will we achieve decent wages, security and dignity at work.
The next Labour government will transform people’s lives for the better through the biggest extension of workers’ rights in history.
We will give working people a voice at the Cabinet table by establishing a Ministry for Employment Rights.
We will start to roll out sectoral collective bargaining across the economy, bringing workers and employers together to agree legal minimum standards on a wide range of issues, such as pay and working hours, that every employer in the sector must follow. Sectoral collective bargaining will increase wages and reduce inequality. This will also stop good employers being undercut by bad employers.
We will tackle insecurity by:
- Giving everyone full rights from day one on the job.
- Strengthening protections for whistleblowers and rights against unfair dismissal for all workers, with extra protections for pregnant women, those going through the menopause and terminally ill workers.
- Ending bogus self-employment and creating a single status of ‘worker’ for everyone apart from those genuinely self-employed in business on their own account, so that employers can not evade workers’ rights; and banning overseas-only recruitment practices.
- Introducing a legal right to collective consultation on the implementation of new technology in workplaces.
- Banning zero-hour contracts and strengthening the law so that those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract, reflecting those hours.
We will help people balance work and family life by:
- Increasing wages through sectoral collective bargaining.
- Requiring breaks during shifts to be paid.
- Requiring cancelled shifts to be paid and proper notice for changes in hours.
- Giving all workers the right to flexible working.
- Extending statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months.
- Doubling paternity leave from two weeks to four and increasing statutory paternity pay.
- Introducing statutory bereavement leave, guaranteeing workers time off to grieve the loss of close family members or following miscarriage.
- Introducing four new bank holidays celebrating our four patron saints’ days.
- Reviewing family-friendly employment rights, including rights to respond to family emergencies.
We will make sure people are treated equally at work by:
- Requiring employers to devise and implement plans to eradicate the gender pay gap – and pay inequalities underpinned by race and/or disability – or face fines.
- Requiring employers to maintain workplaces free of harassment, including harassment by third parties.
- Increasing protection against redundancy for people wherever they work.
- Giving statutory rights to equalities representatives.
- Setting up a Royal Commission to bring health (including mental health) and safety legislation up to date.
- Ensuring that public-facing workers are protected by toughening the law against abuse and violence.
Banning unpaid internships.
We will remove unfair and unnecessary restrictions on trade unions, allowing people to come together and speak up on issues that affect them at work.
- Allow trade unions to use secure electronic and workplace ballots.
- Remove unnecessary restrictions on industrial action.
- Strengthen and enforce trade unions’ right of entry to workplaces to organise, meet and represent their members and to recruit.
- Ban union-busting, strengthen protection of trade union representatives against unfair dismissal and union members from intimidation, harassment, threats and blacklisting.
- Repeal anti-trade union legislation including the Trade Union Act 2016 and create new rights and freedoms for trade unions to help them win a better deal for working people.
- Simplify the law around union recognition.
- Give union reps adequate time off for union duties.
We will develop collective income- protection insurance schemes for the self-employed. We will introduce a maximum workplace temperature to protect workers and require employers to take counteracting measures.
For years, the UK has been in breach of our international obligations. We will bring UK law into line with the International Labour Organisation standards it has ratified, so Britain leads the world, instead of engaging in a race to the bottom.
Time off to rest, relax and be with family is essential to a happy and fulfilling life, but workers in the UK put in some of the longest hours in Europe.
Labour will tackle excessive working hours. Within a decade we will reduce average full-time weekly working hours to 32 across the economy, with no loss of pay, funded by productivity increases.
We will meet this target by:
- Ending the opt-out provision for the EU Working Time Directive and enforcing working-time regulations.
- Setting up an independent Working Time Commission to advise on raising minimum holiday entitlements and reducing maximum weekly working time.
- Mandating bargaining councils to negotiate reductions in working time.
- Investing to increase productivity and making sure workers share the benefits.
- We will keep restrictions on Sunday trading in place and review unpaid overtime.
Rights don’t mean anything unless they’re enforced, but that is not happening under the Tories.
That doesn’t just hurt workers who lose out, it is also bad for employers who follow the law and are undercut by unscrupulous competitors prepared to break it.
Strong trade unions are the best and most effective way to enforce rights at work. Labour will also introduce a new, unified Workers’ Protection Agency to enforce workplace rights, including the Real Living Wage. It will be given extensive powers to inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions and civil proceedings on workers’ behalf.
We will keep employment tribunals free, extend their powers, and introduce new Labour Courts with a stronger role for people with industrial experience on panels.
Rewriting the Rules
Social justice also means levelling the playing field between small and big business, and ensuring that democracy and accountability are valued across society, including in the private sector.
Businesses are the heartbeat of our economy, creating jobs, wealth and innovations.
But the upper echelons of corporate Britain have been corrupted by a culture in which the long-term health of a company is sacrificed for a quick buck for a few: a short-term culture has seen some treasured companies asset-stripped, leaving workers, small business suppliers and pensioners in the lurch. Too often, the link between reward and long-term performance is broken for short-term greed.
Labour will take on short-termism and corporate greed, making sure good businesses are rewarded, not undercut. We will rewrite the rules of the economy and ensure everyone plays by them.
We will amend the Companies Act, requiring companies to prioritise long-term growth while strengthening protections for stakeholders, including smaller suppliers and pension funds. We will tackle late payments that leave small businesses waiting months to be paid, including banning late payers from public procurement.
For small businesses, we will ensure no quarterly reporting for businesses below the VAT threshold.
We will require one-third of boards to be reserved for elected worker-directors and give them more control over executive pay – because when those who depend on a company have a say in running it, that company generally does better and lasts longer.
We will introduce a broader ‘public interest test’ to prevent hostile takeovers and asset-stripping weakening our industrial base and destroying treasured home-grown companies. And we will give workers a voice on public bodies such as the Competition and Markets Authority.
We will let struggling companies go into protective administration, so they can be sold as a going concern rather than collapsing into insolvency.
Audits are vital to corporate accountability, but the auditing industry is dominated by a few players riddled with conflicts of interest. Labour will separate audit and accounting activities in major firms and impose more robust rules on auditors.
We will tackle regulatory capture and streamline regulation by creating a new Business Commission, responsive to parliamentary select committees.
Social Justice Commission
Labour will usher in a new era of social justice in Britain. Everyone in our society should be allowed to flourish regardless of what class or postcode they are born into, or the colour of their skin.
But that’s impossible when you cannot meet your most basic needs and have to choose between eating and heating your home. Britain is one of the richest countries in the world, but under the Tories millions of people can’t make ends meet.
They tell us we shouldn’t care about inequality, because social mobility allows those who work hard to get on. But nobody becomes a billionaire through hard work alone, and as inequality has grown, it has become more entrenched.
For Labour, the true measure of fairness is not social mobility but social justice.
Implicit in the notion of social mobility is the idea that poverty and inequality are acceptable provided some people can climb the social ladder.
Social justice, on the other hand, demands that we end poverty, reduce inequality and create a society in which the conditions for a fulfilling life are available to everyone.
Labour will replace the Social Mobility Commission with a Social Justice Commission, based in the Treasury, with wide-ranging powers to hold us, and future governments, to account.
Women and Equalities
Labour is the party of equality, committed to achieving a world free from all forms of bigotry and discrimination.
Whether campaigning on the streets or passing legislation in government, Labour is the only party to consistently stand with women, disabled people, people from ethnic minority backgrounds and LGBT+ communities.
The Conservatives have failed to tackle society’s burning injustices. Instead, they have inflicted injustice after injustice on women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and LGBT+ communities and disabled people. Over 85% of the burden of Tory/Lib Dem cuts has fallen on the shoulders of women.
Labour will create a new Department for Women and Equalities, with a full-time Secretary of State, responsible for ensuring all our policies and laws are equality-impact assessed in order to deliver a fairer society for women and all under-represented groups.
We will establish a modernised National Women’s Commission as an independent advisory body to contribute to a Labour government.
We are guided by our firm commitment to the Human Rights Act and Convention on Human Rights that have been consistently attacked by the Conservatives. We will ratify both the Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic abuse and the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment at work.
We will put class at the heart of Britain’s equality agenda and create a new ground for discrimination on the basis of socio-economic disadvantage.
Labour will put women at the heart of our government and programme. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, yet women still earn 13% less than men. Labour will take action to close the gender pay gap by 2030.
We will also:
- Deliver gender pay equality by making the state responsible for enforcing equal pay legislation for the first time. The new Workers’ Protection Agency working with HMRC will ensure that employers take equal pay seriously and take positive action to close the gender pay gap. Women will no longer be left to take enforcement action by themselves through the courts.
- Require all employers with over 250 employees to obtain government certification on gender equality or face further auditing and fines. By the end of 2020, we will lower the threshold to workplaces with 50 employees, whilst providing the necessary additional support for small businesses.
- Revolutionise parents’ rights by increasing paid maternity leave from nine to 12 months, doubling paternity leave to four weeks and extending pregnancy protection. We will ban the dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate.
- Transform the workplace and require all large employers to have flexible working, including a menopause policy, and consider changes to sickness and absence practices.
- Enable positive action for recruitment to roles where employers can justify the need for more diversity and introduce a right for all workers to request flexibility over their hours from the first day of employment.
- Ensure that the single-sex-based exemptions contained in the Equality Act 2010 are understood and fully enforced in service provision.
- Create a safer society for women and prioritise domestic abuse as a health issue, introduce 10 days of paid leave for survivors of domestic abuse, and ensure women’s refuges receive the long-term sustainable funding they need. Misogyny and violence against women and girls will become hate crimes.
- Increase women’s representation across parliament by building on the Equality Act, passed by the last Labour government, and enact Section 106 so that all political parties publish diversity data about electoral candidates.
Achieving racial equality is a bedrock Labour value. It has never been more important than in the current climate. We are proud of the way our country has been shaped by the contributions, cultures and values of people from around the world.
The Conservatives have fanned the flames of racism, using difference to divide. They have made BAME people pay the price for their austerity project and scapegoated refugees and migrants.
Never was this starker than with their ‘hostile environment’, leading to the scandalous treatment of the Windrush generation. Hate crime has more than doubled in the last five years. This is a wake-up call for all of us.
Labour will ensure a pathway to economic inclusion for all, putting an end to all forms of racism and discrimination in our economy and society. Inclusion will be at the heart of its programme for government.
- Seek to end the politics of hate and commission an independent review into the threat of far-right extremism and how to tackle it.
- Put wealth and power in the hands of the many, extend pay-gap reporting to BAME groups and tackle pay discrimination on the basis of race.
- Commit our National Investment Bank to addressing discrimination in access to finance, which many BAME business owners face; and take action to ensure that BAME and women business owners have access to government contracts and spending.
- Implement recommendations of the Lammy Review to address the
disparity of treatment and outcomes for BAME people within the criminal justice system.
- Create an Emancipation Educational Trust to educate around migration and colonialism, and to address the legacy of slavery and teach how it interrupted a rich and powerful black history which is also British history.
On religious discrimination, we will:
- Strengthen protection for religious communities and amend the law to include attacks on places of worship (including synagogues, temples, mosques and churches) as a specific aggravated offence.
- Review current levels of funding for and access to the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme, maintain funding in real terms for the Community Security Trust, and consult on giving it statutory protection to ensure that religious communities have the support they need.
Disability with Dignity
Over the last 10 years, through a catalogue of punitive welfare policies, the dignity of people with disabilities has been degraded by the Conservatives. Not one, but two UN reports describe the government having committed ‘systematic violations’ of the rights of disabled people – while their families have been ‘driven to breaking point’ by cuts to social care.
More disabled people are now living in poverty, and people have died because of this government’s choice to make the most vulnerable pay for tax cuts for the few. Labour will end this cruelty, restoring the protections that disabled people and their families – many of whom shoulder the cost of their care – should expect in one of the richest countries in the world. Labour supports the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’.
- Champion the social model of disability throughout government. Through our new Department for Women and Equalities, we will ensure that disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives.
- Transform the workplace for disabled people by requiring that all employers be trained to better support them, while introducing mandatory disability pay-gap reporting for companies with over 250 employees.
- End disability discrimination and update the Equality Act to introduce new specific duties including disability leave, paid and recorded separately from sick leave.
- Recommend that the Equality and Human Rights Commission prepare a specific code of practice on reasonable adjustments to supplement existing codes. This will provide an appropriate balance between flexibility and clarity on how ‘reasonable’ cost is determined. The code will also set timescales for implementation of reasonable adjustments to end the long and distressing delays experienced by disabled workers.
- Reinstate the Access to Elected Office Fund to enable disabled people to run for elected office.
- Adopt a British Sign Language Act, giving BSL full legal recognition in law. We will work with employers, trade unions and public services to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace and in society.
Labour has a proud history of standing shoulder to shoulder with LGBT+ people. We abolished Section 28, equalised the age of consent, created civil partnerships, and only with Labour votes could equal marriage become law. Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people, but we are not complacent about the culture shift required to make LGBT+ inclusivity a reality. The Conservatives have been slow to understand the scale of abuse and discrimination LGBT+ people continue to face in our society.
Labour will eliminate remaining areas of discrimination in law, ensuring that LGBT+ people can live in safety and dignity.
- Put LGBT+ equality at the heart of government, ensuring our public services are LGBT+ inclusive and delivering on the national LGBT Action Plan.
- Take steps to safeguard LGBT+ rights inside or outside the EU, such as retaining and promoting the Human Rights Act.
- Tackle the homelessness and rough sleeping crisis in the UK, ensuring that all strategies and services are tailored to understand needs unique to LGBT+ homeless people, particularly young people who make up a disproportionate number of our currently homeless people.
- Provide sufficient funding for schools to deliver mandatory LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education.
- Fully fund sexual health services and roll out PrEP medication.
- Respond fast and firmly wherever LGBT+ people face violence or persecution internationally and appoint a dedicated global ambassador to the Foreign Office on LGBT+ issues.
Labour will work with organisations and charities already making the UK a more equal and fairer society and together we will build a country for the many, not the few.
A Labour government will establish a humane immigration system and end the ‘hostile environment’ that caused the Windrush scandal of British citizens being deported. Instead, our system will be built on human rights and aimed at meeting the skills and labour shortages that exist in our economy and public services.
Our immigration system must allow us to recruit the people we need, and to welcome them and their families. Our work visa system must fill any skills or labour shortages that arise. The movement of people around the world has enriched our society, our economy and our culture.
We will take decisive action to regulate the labour market to stop the undercutting of wages and conditions, and the exploitation of all workers including migrant workers. It is the actions of bad bosses and successive Conservative governments that have driven down wages and working terms and conditions. Labour will ensure all workers have full and equal rights from day one, with a Real Living Wage for all.
The Conservative policy of pursuing net migration targets has undermined our economy and our public services, refusing entry to essential key workers including nurses. It has created a hostile environment within our communities, encouraged the demonisation of migrants and enabled the callous use of three million residents as bargaining chips in our negotiations over EU withdrawal.
Moreover, the Tories have not once met their own targets. Their migration policies are a complete and damaging failure, whichever way they are looked at.
We will scrap the 2014 Immigration Act introduced by the Tories with their Liberal Democrat coalition partners.
We are for a levelling up of rights, not a race to the bottom. We will not tolerate a two-tier system for those entitled to be here.
The Windrush scandal continues to create new victims. We will end its injustices and provide fair compensation to those who have unfairly suffered.
We will end indefinite detention, review the alternatives to the inhumane conditions of detention centres, and close Yarl’s Wood and Brook House, from which immediate savings would contribute towards a fund of £20 million to support the survivors of modern slavery, people trafficking and domestic violence. We will ensure justice for migrant domestic workers and restore the overseas domestic workers’ visa.
If we remain in the EU, freedom of movement would continue. If we leave, it will be subject to negotiations, but we recognise the social and economic benefits that free movement has brought both in terms of EU citizens here and UK citizens abroad – and we will seek to protect those rights.
In accordance with our values and domestic laws, we will uphold the right to a family life for British, EU and non-EU residents alike. We will end the deportation of family members of people entitled to be here and end the minimum income requirements which separate families.
Refugees are victims of wars, environmental catastrophes, famine or persecution.
This government has failed its international legal obligations to refugees and to allow people to exercise their rights to seek asylum.
A Labour government will uphold those rights and meet those obligations.
We will work with others to resume rescue missions in the Mediterranean, co-operate with the French authorities to put an end to the horrific camps, and establish safe and legal routes for asylum seekers.
Once here, refugees will have the right to work, access to public services and will be treated humanely by government at all levels.
While Labour wants a society in which people care for one another, the Tories are trying to pitch us against each other.
Under the Tories, the social security system has lost sight of its purpose. Poverty has become endemic, the glue that binds our society together has come unstuck and, in the words of the United Nations, the UK’s social safety net ‘has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos’.
The cruelty and heartlessness of the Tories has made the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) a symbol of fear. When people feel the DWP is more about harassment than a helping hand, something has gone seriously wrong. Labour will completely change this culture, replacing the DWP on day one with a Department for Social Security, which will be there to help and support people, not punish and police them.
We will put children at the heart of everything we do, developing a cross- governmental National Strategy for Childhood focusing on health, security, well-being and poverty. We will give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Tories’ flagship social security programme, Universal Credit (UC), has been a catastrophe. It has pushed thousands of people into poverty, caused families to lose their homes and forced parents to visit food banks in order to feed their children.
Labour will scrap UC. We will immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect. Our ambition in designing this system will be to end poverty by guaranteeing a minimum standard of living.
We will start developing this system immediately. But we have learned the lessons from Tory failure: major policy change can’t be delivered overnight, especially when people’s lives depend on it. So we will also implement an emergency package of reforms to mitigate some of the worst features of UC while we develop our replacement system.
We will end the five-week wait by introducing an interim payment based on half an estimated monthly entitlement. We will immediately suspend the Tories’ vicious sanction regime and ensure that employment support is positive not punitive.
We will stop 300,000 children from being in poverty by scrapping the benefit cap and the two child limit, so ending the immoral and outrageous ‘rape clause’. We will pay childcare costs up front so that parents aren’t forced to turn down work or get into debt to pay for childcare.
Labour will protect women in abusive relationships by splitting payments and paying the child element to the primary carer. We will make it easier for people to manage their living costs by introducing fortnightly payments and paying the housing element directly to landlords.
The Conservative’s ‘digital only’ approach is excluding vulnerable people. Labour will end the digital barrier and offer telephone, face-to- face and outreach support. We will recruit 5,000 additional advisors to deliver this.
Tory cuts are pushing people into rent arrears and leaving them at risk of homelessness. We will stop housing costs running away from benefits by scrapping the bedroom tax and increasing the Local Housing Allowance.
Labour stands with and for disabled people. We will always challenge stigma and discrimination wherever it is found and support the right of disabled people to live independently and be treated with respect.
The Tories’ rhetoric of ‘scroungers’ and ‘skivers’ has whipped up hatred of disabled people, with disability hate crime skyrocketing, up 37% in the last year alone. Labour will never demonise disabled people or the unemployed.
Labour follows the social model of disability – it is not people’s condition or impairment that disables them, but society’s failure to adapt to those conditions and impairments. We are committed to removing the barriers constructed by society and ensuring that disabled people can participate fully and equally in our society.
The Conservatives have created a hostile environment for disabled people, who have borne the brunt of Tory cuts. The United Nations has said that the Tories have systematically and gravely violated disabled people’s rights by denying them the support they are entitled to.
Labour will end this hostile environment.
We will give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and amend the Equality Act to reflect the social model of disability.
We will stop the dehumanising Work Capability and PIP Assessments, which repeatedly and falsely find ill or disabled people fit to work, and make sure all assessments are done in-house.
Social security is meant to help disabled people cope with the additional costs and disadvantages they face. But the Tories have cut back that support to inadequate levels. Time and again disabled people have had to fight through the courts to receive the support they are entitled to.
Labour will make sure people who are ill and disabled receive the support they need to lead full, independent lives.
- Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
- Raise the basic rate of support for children with disabilities to the level of Child Tax Credits.
- Ensure that severely disabled people without a formal carer receive extra support to enable them to meet the extra costs they inevitably face.
We will support those who look after others, increasing the Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
We will help disabled people who want to work by bringing back specialist employment advisors, introducing a government-backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport scheme to help people move between jobs more easily, and reviewing support for disabled people at work, including the Access to Work scheme.
People work hard for most of their lives and deserve a decent retirement free of financial stress and insecurity.
Under the Tories, 400,000 pensioners have been pushed into poverty and a generation of women born in the 1950s have had their pension age changed without fair notification.
This betrayal left millions of women with no time to make alternative plans – with sometimes devastating personal consequences.
Labour recognises this injustice, and will work with these women to design a system of recompense for the losses and insecurity they have suffered.
We will ensure that such an injustice can never happen again by legislating to prevent accrued rights to the state pension from being changed.
The Conservatives have repeatedly raised the state pension age despite overseeing a decline in life expectancy. Labour will abandon the Tories’ plans
to raise the State Pension Age, leaving it at 66. We will review retirement ages for physically arduous and stressful occupations, including shift workers, in the public and private sectors.
We will maintain the ‘triple lock’ and guarantee the Winter Fuel Payment, free TV licences and free bus passes as universal benefits.
Thanks to automatic enrolment, which was introduced by the last Labour government, record numbers of employees are now in workplace pension schemes. But too many people are still not saving enough for a comfortable retirement.
We will stop people being auto-enrolled into rip-off schemes and seek to widen and expand access for more low-income and self-employed workers. We will establish an independent Pensions’ Commission, modelled on the Low Pay Commission, to recommend target levels for workplace pensions.
We will create a single, comprehensive and publicly run pensions dashboard that is fully transparent, including information about costs and charges.
We will legislate to allow the CWU- Royal Mail agreement for a collective pension scheme to proceed and allow similar schemes.
Labour has listened to the NUM and in government will end the injustice of the state taking 50% of the surplus in the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and introduce new sharing arrangements so that 10% goes to government and 90% stays with scheme members. This new sharing arrangement will also apply to the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme.
We will ensure that the pensions of UK citizens living overseas rise in line with pensions in Britain.
Everyone has the right to a decent, secure home. In 1945, Labour promised to ‘proceed with a housing programme with the maximum practical speed until every family in this island has a good standard of accommodation’. In 2019, we renew that pledge.
But too many people are being denied their right to a good home by our housing system that treats homes as financial assets rather than places to live.
There is no starker symbol of the failing housing system than the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire.
A Labour government will bring system-wide change, so that a tragedy like Grenfell never happens again. We will introduce a £1 billion Fire Safety Fund to fit sprinklers and other fire safety measures in all high- rise council and housing association tower blocks, enforce the replacement of dangerous Grenfell- style cladding on all high-rise homes and buildings, while introducing mandatory building standards and guidance, inspected and enforced by fully trained Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officers.
Grenfell Tower was the confirmation of a more far- reaching crisis. Everyone knows of someone affected by the housing crisis: younger people unable to buy a first home, renters trapped in damp flats, families stuck on council waiting lists, leasehold home-owners hit by unfair fees, people who are homeless living and dying on our streets. The gap between the housing haves and have-nots is at the heart of the injustice in our country today.
Since 2010, the Conservatives have slashed funding for new homes, refused to regulate for higher standards and given a free hand to commercial property developers. There are fewer new homes for social rent, a million more households stuck renting from a private landlord, 900,000 fewer young people owning a home and more than twice as many people sleeping on our streets.
Only Labour has a plan to fix the housing crisis. We will act on every front to bring the cost of housing down and standards up, so that everyone has a decent, affordable place to call home.
Labour will create a new Department for Housing, make Homes England a more accountable national housing agency and put councils in the driving seat. We will set out a strategy for a flourishing construction sector with a skilled workforce and full rights at work.
Labour will set up a new English Sovereign Land Trust, with powers to buy land more cheaply for low-cost housing. We will use public land to build this housing, not sell it off to the highest bidder. Developers will face new ‘use it or lose it’ taxes on stalled housing developments. We will keep the Land Registry in public hands, and make ownership of land more transparent. We will make brownfield sites the priority for development and protect the green belt.
Labour will tackle the climate crisis and cut energy bills by introducing a tough, new zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes, and upgrading millions of existing homes to make them more energy efficient. We will review the planning guidance for developments in flood risk areas.
Council and Social Homes
The only way to deliver on everyone’s right to a good home is to build publicly funded social housing.
Labour will deliver a new social housebuilding programme of more than a million homes over a decade, with council housing at its heart. By the end of the Parliament we will be building at an annual rate of at least 150,000 council and social homes, with 100,000 of these built by councils for social rent in the biggest council housebuilding programme in more than a generation. We will establish a new duty on councils to plan and build these homes in their area, and fund them to do so, with backing from national government.
We will scrap the Conservatives’ bogus definition of ‘affordable’, set as high as 80% of market rents, and replace it with a definition linked to local incomes. These council and housing association homes will be more affordable than market housing and built to higher standards. We will end the conversion of office blocks to homes that sidestep planning permission through ‘permitted development’.
We will stop the haemorrhage of low- cost homes by ending the right to buy, along with the forced conversion of social rented homes to so-called ‘affordable rent’. We will review the case for reducing the amount of housing debt councils currently hold. And we will give councils the powers and funding to buy back homes from private landlords.
We will give tenants a stronger say in the management of their homes and stop social cleansing by making sure regeneration only goes ahead when it has the consent of residents, and that all residents are offered a new property on the same site and terms. We will fund a new Decent Homes programme to bring all council and housing association homes up to a good standard.
Under the Tories, home ownership is getting further out of reach for more and more people. Numbers of new affordable homes to buy have fallen, and fewer younger people can afford their own home. We will build more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers in every area, including Labour’s new discount homes with prices linked to local incomes.
We will reform Help to Buy to focus it on first-time buyers on ordinary incomes. We will introduce a levy on overseas companies buying housing, while giving local people ‘first dibs’ on new homes built in their area. We will bring empty homes back into use by giving councils new powers to tax properties empty for over a year.
Labour will end the scandal of leasehold for the millions who have bought their home but don’t feel like they own it.
We will end the sale of new leasehold properties, abolish unfair fees and conditions, and give leaseholders the right to buy their freehold at a price they can afford. We will introduce equivalent rights for freeholders on privately owned estates.
More than 11 million people rent from a private landlord and many of them are at the sharp end of the housing crisis. We will take urgent action to protect private renters through rent controls, open-ended tenancies, and new, binding minimum standards.
Labour will stop runaway rents by capping them with inflation, and give cities powers to cap rents further.
We will give renters the security they need to make their rented housing a home, with new open-ended tenancies to stop unfair, ‘no fault’ evictions. We will make sure every property is up to scratch with new minimum standards, enforced through nationwide licensing and tougher sanctions for landlords who flout the rules. We will fund new renters’ unions in every part of the country – to allow renters to organise and defend their rights.
We will get rid of the discriminatory rules that require landlords to check people’s immigration status or that allow them to exclude people on housing benefit. We will give councils new powers to regulate short-term lets through companies such as Airbnb.
No one should sleep without a roof over their head in one of the richest countries in the world. But under the Tories, the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled.
Over 125,000 children are now living in temporary accommodation, without a home to call their own – or the space they need to thrive. Labour will tackle the root causes of rising homelessness with more affordable homes and stronger rights for renters.
Labour will end rough sleeping within five years, with a national plan driven by a prime minister-led taskforce. We will expand and upgrade hostels, turning them into places where people can turn their lives around. We will make available 8,000 additional homes for people with a history of rough sleeping. We will tackle the wider causes of homelessness, raising the Local Housing Allowance in line with the 30th percentile of local rents, and earmarking an additional £1 billion a year for councils’ homelessness services.
We will bring in a new national levy on second homes used as holiday homes to help deal with the homelessness crisis, so that those who have done well from the housing market pay a bit more to help those with no home.
We will save lives this winter by ensuring extra shelters and support are in place in all areas. And we’ll repeal the Vagrancy Act and amend antisocial behaviour legislation to stop the law being used against people because they are homeless.
For many people, politics doesn’t work. The Westminster bubble is a world away from their daily lives. The Labour Party was founded to give working-class people a voice in politics.
We want our political institutions to be connected fully to the wider electorate, and will take urgent steps to refresh our democracy.
The time has come for the real changes that a Labour government will bring.
We will act immediately to end the hereditary principle in the House of Lords, and work to abolish the House of Lords in favour of Labour’s preferred option of an elected Senate of the Nations and Regions, but we also believe that the people must be central to historic political changes.
The renewal of our Parliament will be subject to recommendations made by a UK-wide Constitutional Convention, led by a citizens’ assembly. This Convention will answer crucial questions on how power is distributed in the UK today, how nations and regions can best relate to each other and how a Labour government can best put power in the hands of the people.
Only a Labour government will safeguard the future of a devolved UK, reforming the way in which it works to make it fit for the future.
Britain is one of the most centralised countries in Europe. Labour will decentralise decision-making and strengthen local democracy. We reiterate our commitment to One Yorkshire, and will make directly elected mayors more accountable to local councillors and elected representatives.
We will re-establish regional Government Offices to make central government more attuned to our English regions, to support our regional investments, and to enable the shift of political power away from Westminster.
Our democratic revolution will also extend to elections.
A Labour government will repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, which has stifled democracy and propped up weak governments. We will maintain 650 constituencies and respond objectively to future, independent boundary reviews. We will oversee the largest extension of the franchise in generations, reducing the voting age to 16, giving full voting rights to all UK residents, making sure everyone who is entitled to vote can do so by introducing a system of automatic voter registration, and abandoning plans to introduce voter ID which has been shown to harm democratic rights.
Tackling Vested Interests
Labour will change how politics is funded, banning donations from tax avoiders and tax evaders, and closing loopholes that allow the use of shell companies to funnel dark money into politics.
We will free the voices of civil society by repealing the Lobbying Act 2014 and overhauling the rules that govern corporate lobbying. We will introduce a lobbying register covering both in-house lobbyists and think tanks and extending to contacts made with all senior government employees, not just ministers.
We will also increase the financial penalties available to the Electoral Commission and require imprints for digital political adverts.
We will stop MPs from taking paid second jobs, with limited exemptions to maintain professional registrations like nursing. We will replace ACOBA, the business appointments committee, with a sufficiently resourced and empowered new body, governed by a diverse and representative board and established in law. We will also overhaul the system of ministerial appointments to public office.
We will bring greater transparency by extending Freedom of Information rules to cover private providers of public services, setting new standards of consistent disclosure practice and ending the six-month time limit in which the Information Commissioner can prosecute the deliberate destruction of public records.
The Good Friday Agreement and long- term peace in Northern Ireland is one of the great achievements of Labour in government. Therefore, as a priority, Labour will work quickly and tirelessly to secure the return of a genuine power- sharing government in Northern Ireland.
The devolved power-sharing institutions have not been running in Stormont for over 1,000 days. During this period people have suffered in the face of a funding crisis as austerity continues to damage public services, which Labour will resolve.
Working with a new assembly and power-sharing government, Labour will invest an extra £1.9 billion to end austerity and rebuild public services in Northern Ireland.
Women in Northern Ireland should have access to abortions in Northern Ireland. A Labour government will fully implement new laws on equal marriage in Northern Ireland so that same-sex couples are no longer treated as second-class citizens. We will work with all major parties in Northern Ireland to provide a good platform for the restoration of devolution alongside bringing forward and implementing a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.
A Labour government will also protect Northern Ireland and its people in any future Brexit outcome by ensuring that there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or the creation of a regulatory border down the Irish Sea.
Labour’s constitutional convention will include the Welsh Government’s 20-point plan for the future of the UK to better recognise the realities of a devolved UK.
Alongside this work, we need long-term reform of how the UK allocates public expenditure to ensure that it reflects the needs of different parts of our country and that no nation or region of the UK is unfairly disadvantaged.
Labour in Wales has pioneered the social partnership approach. With a UK Labour government investing an extra £3.4 billion in Wales, and a UK Ministry for Employment Rights we will be able to do much more.
Wales led the first industrial revolution and with a Labour government in Westminster, we will be at the forefront of the Green Industrial Revolution of the future. We will create jobs in Wales through environmental energy schemes such as the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.
The Tories have let down the people of Ynys Môn (Anglesey) by failing to deliver the Wylfa project. Labour will work with people on the island to maximise its potential for new nuclear energy, alongside investment in renewables.
Nine years of Tory cuts have done untold damage and the Thomas Commission on Justice in Wales is clear that the justice system is not working for Wales. Labour governments in Wales and Westminster will work together, using the Commission’s report, to put that right.
Three years on from the 2016 EU referendum we understand much more about how Wales will be uniquely exposed to a hard Brexit. Only Labour will put this decision back in the hands of the people, and in Wales the Welsh Labour government will campaign to remain.
Labour in government will give around 700,000 Scottish workers a pay rise when we introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour.
We will also provide Scotland with at least around £100 billion of additional resources over two terms. This investment will transform Scotland’s people, communities, public services and industries.
As part of that additional resource Labour would want to see £10 billion from our new National Transformation Fund invested in the building of 120,000 council and social homes in Scotland over the next ten years, ending the housing crisis and creating up to 50,000 jobs.
This is the difference a UK Labour government would make to Scotland as part of our Green Industrial Revolution we will invest £6 billion in retrofitting houses across Scotland, which will help tackle the climate emergency at the same time as lowering bills, ending fuel poverty and creating 35,000 jobs.
A UK Labour government will also provide the Scottish National Investment Bank, under Scottish control, with £20 billion of lending power to deliver funds to local projects and Scotland’s small businesses.
Labour believes that Scottish independence would be economically devastating and it would be the many not the few who would pay the price. Scotland needs the transformative investment coming from a Labour government, not another referendum and not independence.
A UK Labour government will focus on tackling the climate emergency, ending austerity and cuts, and getting Brexit sorted. That’s why in the early years of a UK Labour government we will not agree to a Section 30 order request if it comes from the Scottish Government.