On Tuesday 16th May, the Labour party launched their manifesto, and with three weeks to go until the general election 8th June, it has come at an opportune moment. The four policies that really stand out in the manifesto, are the economy, Brexit, healthcare and housing. This article will seek to explore the key proposals of these four key policy areas in some detail.
The economy has always been a somewhat contentious issue for politicians, and with it having been a Labour government that was in charge when the recession hit, this current Labour party have the incentive to show that they can do better. Using low interest rates, the Labour party plan on creating a National Transformation Fund that would help deliver investment and protect small businesses through preventing the more restrictive small business policies of the current government. Furthermore, to help small businesses, the Labour party wish to create a National Investment Bank that they state will bring in £250 million in private capital to the country. The party also wishes to nationalise the railways, the Royal Mail, the energy and water networks to ensure better quality services for the population.
On Brexit, the Labour party is clear that they wish to maintain the benefit of the single market and the customs union due to the potential economic benefit that this would bring to the country. Whilst also wishing to protect the rights of EU citizens already settled in the UK, and wanting the rights of UK citizens already settled in the EU protected, the Labour party is clear that freedom of movement would be ended under their government. In acknowledgement of some of the issues associated with immigration in the vote to leave the EU, Labour has also promised to stop overseas only recruitment and to ensure that there are thorough investigations into the working conditions of companies, and that they are paying at least the minimum wage for homegrown employees. Acknowledging the need to create new trade agreements with countries outside the EU, the Labour manifesto promises to use their recently launched Just Trading Initiative to develop free trade and investment agreements that remove trade barriers and promote skilled jobs and high standards.
Healthcare is a very important issue to many within the UK Labour has promised to ensure patients have access to treatment within eighteen weeks, and to reduce waiting times in A and E to four hours, by using resources more effectively and efficiently. Labour would also increase funding for GP services, and halt pharmacy cuts, they would also remove the post code lottery on health treatment currently in existence. They would also invest a further £30 billion into the NHS, to help improve the quality of training that doctors and nurses are receiving, and to create a Child Health Index to monitor the development of children’s health throughout their lives. In tandem with this they would create a National Care Service to help the elderly, to lower the strain on the NHS.
On housing, by using brownfield sites, Labour hopes to build 100,000 new homes during the course of the new Parliament, 4000 of which would be for those with a record of sleeping rough. They would also introduce controls on rent rises, provide more secure three year tenancies, proper landlord licensing and provide new consumer rights for renters. Labour would also reintroduce housing benefit for 18-21 year olds to reduce the number of young people sleeping rough on the street.