With a General Election looming, Eastbourne Labour Party has been out and about in town and we are finding out just how popular our policies are. Even people who start off being a bit sceptical tell us they will think again about Labour. Let’s just run through a few of our popular policies:-
A National Care Service. Eastbourne is a potentially wonderful place to retire but so many older people are struggling. Many of you need personal care but don’t qualify for Attendance Allowance. One million people are not getting the care they need. 87 people a day are dying waiting for care. This should not be happening in the 5th richest country in the world. With an £8 billion investment, Labour will fix the crisis ridden adult social care sector. This will mean free care for those over 65 who need help with e.g. getting out of bed, washing, dressing and eating. We will also provide a living wage and fair working conditions for care workers.
Additionally for older people, Labour in Government will:- ¤ Protect the over 75 free TV licences ¤ Protect over 60’s free bus passes ¤ Keep the winter fuel allowance ¤ Triple lock pensions
Our Green Industrial Revolution and Green New Deal. Our planet is facing a climate emergency while our country’s economy is stalling. Labour’s 10 year plan will provide the massive public investment needed to radically reduce our emissions and secure our futures. We will create clean energy for the many, kick-start growth and tackle climate change.. We will build 37 publicly-owned off shore wind farms whilst investing 20% of the profits in deprived coastal areas like Eastbourne. We will supply cheaper, greener electricity to millions of homes. We will install solar panels and insulation on nearly 2 million homes; create 400,000 sustainable green jobs; ban fracking; introduce a new clean air act and aim for net zero decarbonisation by 2030.
A Fair Deal at Work. Labour will ban zero hours contracts meaning guaranteed hours for every worker. We will introduce a minimum wage of £10 per hour for everyone over 18. We will reduce the average full-time hours to 32 a week within the next decade meaning a shorter working week with no loss of pay. A shorter working week will be healthier for our nation. The UK currently only has 8 Bank Holidays compared to Spain’s 14 and France’s 11. We will introduce 4 new bank holidays on UK’s patron saint days.
Housing and Tenant’s Rights. Britain has a housing crisis, a crisis of supply and a crisis of affordability. Since 2010:- house building has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s; rough sleeping has risen every year; rents have risen faster than incomes; home-owning households for the under 45s has fallen by 900,000; and new, affordable house building is at a 24-year low. Over 10 years, Labour in government will build 1 million new council and genuinely affordable homes for rent or sale. We will end rough sleeping by the next Parliament. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing consumer rights; an inflation cap on rent rises; and longer, more secure tenancies (3 year tenancies becoming the norm). Landlords will be licensed and new legal minimum standards will be set to ensure properties are fit to live in.
End Tuition Fees. The Conservatives have held back students for too long, saddling them with debt that blights the start of their working lives. Labour will set this right by ending university tuition fees and ensure universities have the resources they need to continue providing a world class service. We will also restore the maintenance grants the Conservatives abolished in 2016. And we will set up a New Education Service, providing free education ‘from cradle to grave’ for up-skilling & retraining at any age.
More Efficient, Cheaper and Greener Transport. In 2018, Southern Rail was voted UK’s worst train service for a third year in a row. Labour will bring back our railways into public ownership. 64% of people are supportive of this policy. Additionally:- we will ensure affordable public transport across the regions; plus over 60’s will retain their bus passes; and free bus travel will be extended to under 25 year olds (helping 13 million young people save an average of £1000 a year). And, on our roads there will be 30,000 publicly owned electric vehicles available to rent.
Our NHS. The NHS is not safe in Conservatives’ hands. It was a Labour government that founded the NHS and a Labour government will ensure it is properly funded going forward and NHS privatisation is stopped and reversed. We will put public health before private profit. After record numbers of nurses have been leaving the profession, Labour will bring back nursing bursaries thus ensuring patient safety is no longer compromised. We will take 1 million people off the waiting lists by guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks. And, with 6600 fewer mental health nurses since 2010 and budgets being raided to plug holes elsewhere in the NHS, Labour will reverse the damage done to mental health services under the Conservatives.
Medicines for the Many. Currently, some patients are being denied the medicines they need e.g Orkambi is not available for those living with cystic fibrosis. We will create a publicly owned pharmaceutical company to manufacture generic drugs and medicines to sell to the NHS at affordable prices. This will enable more life-saving & life-changing medicines available to patients.
Restore rights to Legal Aid. Access to justice has been seriously undermined by changes to legal aid, with hundreds of thousands of people unable to enforce their rights. Early Legal Help is the legal support that people receive prior to a lawyer representing them in the courts. It is the kind of advice that many desperately need when facing everyday problems such as flawed benefits decisions or rogue landlords.
Labour has pledged to provide free legal training for 200 social welfare lawyers and create a network of law centres to help “hard-hit” communities defend their rights and secure justice. We will reverse all the Conservative cuts to legal aid-funded Early Legal Help within the first 100 days of a Labour government. This form of legal aid will cover:- housing cases, family law, welfare benefits appeals, immigration cases, employment, debt, and mental health cases.
A Reformed Social Security System. When rolling out Universal Credit, the Government refused to listen when people and advice organisations told them the problems and warned them of the need to stop. Whereas it was right to try to simplify the benefit system, it was wrong to roll out to millions a system which was half-finished and riven with faults. Labour will fix the broken benefits system. The new system will be one that prevents debt and destitution rather than causes it; preserves human dignity rather than destroying it; and provides security in times of need. We’ll reform the social security system and reduce poverty. We’ll scrap the “punish and police” culture at the Department for Work and Pensions. We’ll suspend benefit sanctions e.g. for missed appointments. We’ll scrap the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment (blamed for destitution, debt and increased use of food banks). We’ll scrap the benefit cap and two-child benefit limit and the abhorrent ‘rape clause’. We’ll scrap Work Capability Assessments.
Labour has been working hard behind the scenes developing its anti-austerity, economically and ecologically sustainable policies. These are just a few. There are plenty more where these came from all ready and waiting to be put into effect. How will we pay for the substantial investments we are proposing? Everything has been fully costed. And note, Labour was, in fact, the only Party in the 2017 General Election to have presented a fully costed manifesto.
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Eastbourne Labour Party