Labour Party conference may be all over but the hard work has just begun to put Britain back on track. Labour’s Plan for Britain’s Future was the theme of this years conference and whilst many of us are pleased that Scotland decided to stay together it is now incumbent upon us to who that we are better off together.
A LIVING WAGE
Much of conference was rightly taken up by two big announcements one was the agreement that we will raise the National Minimum Wage in what’s todays term would be a Living Wage. The commitment is pegged to median earnings (at 58% by 2020 and then 60% by 2025) that will mean that its at least £8 an hour – making work pay. Unlike other parties (both the Greens and the Conservatives) who are offering a figure by 2020 we are linking it to average earnings so that the gap can not grow wider. It will also have the advantage of meaning that pay settlements for medium workers in one sector will be a pay settlement for all – true solidarity!
NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
The other second key theme was our focus on the NHS. We have committed to come out fighting to save our health services. We will immediately abolish the Health and Social Care Act, merge Social Care, Mental Health Services, Public Health and Primary Health services into one NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE in each area, this will remove the incentive to hold up beds for care that can be conducted at home and save billions of pounds a year in joined up services.
Our headlines is that we will employ 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more family doctors, 5,000 more home care works and 3,000 moor midwives and ensure that you can see a doctor in 48 hours. The Tories are only promising 5,000 more doctors and no pledge to see your doctor with any time frame.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle spoke along side Andy Burnham and other NHS activists in a Labour NHS Lobby event as well as in a Coast and Country Events about the cuts to services of the NHS and effects in rural areas.
Lloyd was clear that we needed not to just repeal the Health and Social Care Act but move towards writing off the stupidity of Private Fiancee Initiatives (which is like busying a house on the credit card) and towards a one provider with greater democratic control through local councils.
Additionally to these two headlines there were some exciting areas in policy particularly around education and child care and they are:
- Free Child Care for pre-school children of 25 hours per week
- Extended Schools with all schools offering 7am-8pm extra-curricular activities
- Re-linking the role of the local authority in planing need
- Stopping new free schools where there is no need.
The highlight of the conference was some exciting pledges by Ed Miliband along with the 6 key pledges (see below) there were also commitments on Votes at 16, better devolution to county and city regions, support for a Palestinian state as part of a two state solution, putting Climate Change at the heart of energy policy, appointing a global LGBT envoy, introducing higher taxes for the profits of cigarette companies, on houses worth over 2 million, 5 million and 10 million and a clear strategy for not just 5 but 10 years to rebuild Britain with a strong focus on staying in the EU and improving it.
The key 6 pledges by 2025 we will:
1) Half the number of people on low pay;
2) Linking wages with the growth of the economy and/or medium earnings which ever is higher;
3) As many young people to complete proper apprenticeships as go to university (thats from under 10% to over 40 %), with apprenticeships being valued as highly as a Bachelors degree. No company will get a government contract unless they take on signifiant apprenticeships and no employer can employ a foreign (non EU) worker without taking on at least the same number of apprenticeships – skilling up young people of Britain for our future;
4) Build at least 200,000 new house per year or as many as we need, until need is meet;
5) Rebuilding our NHS – brining it back into public hands, focusing on prevention, mental health and ensuring older people get the support they need;
6) Establish a proper industrial policy which means that we lead on all things green and high technology, creating one million technology jobs.
There were other exciting outcomes of the conference which people will be able to read in other blogs and forums. Whilst we would always like the party to be more strident on fighting neo-liberalism a clear commitment of a future Labour government to bring railways in to public ownership is not off the cards with many Parliamentary Candidates still pushing for this policy which not only makes sense but saves us money.
Useful training from our colleagues in Hastings was attended to ensure that we get the most out of members and activities. It was made clear that we must move away from meetings, that new members should not be encouraged to come to meetings or offices but get active, knock on doors and come to events – only through activity in the streets, in the work place and social activities will we win.
Lloyd left conference signing pledges from the Cooperative party for a Peoples Railway, the NUT for comprehensive and public education, from CAMRA for real local Ale and from the campaign group for Free School Meals for all kids.
Vía Blog – Lewes Labour Party http://ift.tt/1v26JHm