This is our Local Government Committee’s Draft Manifesto for 2019. The object is to give local branches and CLPs some information they can use for leaflets and canvassing. We would welcome any ideas or criticisms.
1. Education (JM)
2. Employment and Transport (NM)
3. Environment (SG)
4. Health and Social Care (BG)
5. Housing (KM)
6. Police (KH)
Labour has pledged to create a unified National Education Service (NES) that will be free at the point of use and will incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to adult education. This will include extending maternity pay to 12 months and 30 free hours of childcare for all 2 year olds, with capital investment ensuring places exist to meet demand. Under the Conservatives 1200 Sure Start centres have been lost. (Local reductions in funding can be cited here) Labour will halt the closures and increase the money available for Sure Start, which was one of the great achievements of the previous Labour government.
Conservative cuts are driving up class sizes. A narrow curriculum and culture of assessment is driving away teachers. (Branch members may know of local schools, particularly academies, where unfilled vacancies are being covered by long and short-term supply or unqualified staff) Labour will address this and make sure schools are properly resourced. It will introduce a fairer funding formula that leaves no school worse off and will invest in repairs and new school buildings. (Branches will have examples of local schools which could benefit) Labour will stop council-run schools rated as “inadequate” from being forced to convert to academies. Existing academies will be allowed to return to local authority control where multi academy trusts have failed. In addition, Labour believes building free schools is too expensive, and instead councils will be given powers to build schools and control admissions. It will ensure that all schools are accountable, serving both public interest and the local community.
Class sizes will be reduced to less than 30 for all 5, 6 and 7 year olds. To aid attainment, free school meals will be introduced for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees. A strategy for children with special educational needs and disabilities will be based on inclusivity and embedded in the training for all staff. (Whilst main stream schools may have small specialist units those pupils with the most need experience difficulties accessing appropriate schooling eg number of available places, travel time/distance to the few special schools and PRUs. Members might have examples)
Labour will introduce free, lifelong learning in Further Education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to upskill and retrain at any point in life. It will ensure that vocational routes include the service sector as well as traditional manufacturing and will invest in teachers and facilities in FE. It will reintroduce the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18 year olds from lower and middle income families and upfront course fees, with direct funding so FE courses are free at the point of use. It will also reintroduce maintenance grants for students and will abolish university fees, in line with many countries in northern Europe.
2. Employment and Transport
It has been proposed by Venables, Laird and Overman 2014 that “Estimates suggest that if all other drivers of growth were to increase by 10% and transport was to stay constant then realised growth in income would be just 9% ie 1% point less than it otherwise would have been.”
Both at national and local level, the Labour Party understands that transport is a key player in creating the environment for business to flourish. It is part of the economic jigsaw that drives local prosperity. East Riding has long been held back by the lack of a transport infrastructure that works for business and for communities. There have been projects that, after years of waiting for approval, have not delivered. These projects have been in isolation, not based on a cohesive plan and subsequently have not produced the growth for business or the local community that would justify further spend on infrastructure.
The farming, tourist and other local businesses deserve better than this lip service to their needs. Our communities are being isolated and social cohesion is being threatened by this isolation.
Labour will work locally to understand the needs of both business and community, especially the need to be able to access a large number of employees, for workers to have a greater choice of employment and for communities to be able to access services such as healthcare and social activities.
At a local level there is much that can be achieved by bringing the expertise of Labour councillors to promote a wider view of how a proactive approach to transport planning, in response to both business and the community, works in the area, a bottom up approach to unlocking the potential for East Yorkshire to achieve the growth that has been deliberately held back. Labour is already working on safe cycle routes for commuters on a national basis, has proposals to bring bus routes back into council control and an active SME forum that feeds the needs of business membership directly into Party policy.
The local branches are feeding local needs back into the Party and are finding that there are tragic stories of whole communities isolated from transport, reliant on charities to reach vital health care appointments, unable to access training and work opportunities or to simply leave their homes after 6pm in a lack of transport infrastructure enforced curfew. Young people are unable to access sports facilities or entertainment and thus local Labour branches are hearing more reports of anti-social behaviour such as underage drinking and destructive behaviour in our smaller communities. Businesses fare no better and are limited to employing people who have driving licenses and cars, unable to get apprentices into their business or seasonal staff such as students.
Labour is aware that fighting cuts to local transport services and improving junctions is not enough. Funding needs to be actively sought and innovative projects that work for this unique area developed. This will mean working closely with other councils such as Leeds, York and Hull to integrate local connections into their centres. Costing projects on outputs as well as inputs to attract funding must be a priority. The Northern Powerhouse project must be tooled to the needs of the East Riding, not dictating to the region or worse, ignoring our local needs altogether
After the “Beast from the East” and the long hot summer, who can doubt that climate change is already seriously affecting us? And the East Riding, with a vulnerable coastline and low-lying flood plains, is much more at risk than other parts of the country.
East Riding has a good record on getting us to recycle our plastic, glass and paper. But our Labour’s Environment Policy is much more ambitious. Local government should take an active role in helping us change the way we live and protect the environment for our children and the future.
The greatest local challenge is flood risk. Coastal work can reduce tidal problems. But the bigger issue is tackling our inadequate drainage systems. This requires the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to work in partnership with the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and drainage boards to address the blight it casts on many properties. Thousands of new homes are going up, all adding to the risk and burden on the drains.
Labour would also change housing regulations to ensure all new builds are carbon neutral and provide charging for electric cars. Home building needs to be future proofed as far as possible.
Labour would ban fracking exploration in East Yorkshire. We all depend on the water aquifer beneath our feet for our drinking water. Taking a risk with that to enrich energy companies is reprehensible. Aside from that we need to be developing more renewable energy, not looking for dirty fossil fuels.
The Council itself could lead on renewables. Solar panels on public buildings, schools and carparks would reduce their enormous energy bills. And providing more charging points in council car parks will encourage electric car ownership.
Traffic and air pollution is a growing concern especially around our schools. Other authorities are trialling zero emission zones around schools and we should look at this to address black spots.
Devolution: East Riding Labour Party believes the creation of Greater Yorkshire Region, comprising all the old ridings and the cities of Yorkshire, would give the region a much greater voice with government and be able to take strategic development forward in a way a relatively small rural council, like the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, cannot.
4. Health and Social Care
The proudest achievement of the Labour Party is the welfare state, in particular the National Health Service, during the period after the war and with a state of national bankruptcy. It was a Labour government that found the resources to create the NHS providing universal healthcare for all on the basis of need and free at the point of use.
Labour will invest in our NHS to give patients the modern, well-resourced services they need for the 21st century. Labour will ensure that NHS patients get the world-class quality of care they need, and that staff are able to deliver the standards the patients expect. For example, by guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks Labour will take one million people off NHS waiting lists by the end of the next parliament. In addition, Labour will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours. By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will put a stop to the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy and will end mixed-sex wards. It will lobby for free parking for staff, patients and visitors at our NHS sites.
By closer integration with Social Care agencies Labour will focus resources on services to provide care closer to home and deliver a truly 21st century health system. It will work towards a new model of community care that takes into account not only primary care but also social care and mental health. Labour will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. It will halt pharmacy cuts and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities, some of which are in our region.
Mental ill-health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. Around one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem every year. Other priorities include ensuring all NHS patients get fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments, insisting on value-for-money agreements with the pharmaceutical industry, and ensuring that people with autism are able to access the whole of their community and to put and end to social isolation. Everyone with a long-term condition such as those with diabetes will have the right to a specialised care plan and access to condition-management education.
Labour will build a new National Care Service, setting out the funding alternatives clearly and honestly and seeking to implement change by consensus. Providing dignity and care in old age should transcend part politics and campaign slogans.
Labour is committed to scrapping the public sector pay cap and giving NHS workers the pay they deserve. Its ambition is for our health system to have the best trained staff in the world, ready to deal with whatever they face in years to come. Locally and nationally Labour will invest in the NHS and Social Care agencies for world-class care.
Branches could use this information to address local concerns.
5. Housing: Homes for the many
The number of social homes across the country has fallen by 90% since the Conservatives came into power in 2010. In the financial year 2017/18 housing builds hit an all-time low. This is particularly relevant to the East Riding as the construction of new social homes has almost ground to a halt.
The East Riding relies on the private sector to make the provision for social housing via 106 agreements; however this fails to meet demand as waiting lists grow faster than the number of homes being built.
The waiting list in the East Riding is over 7500 and includes many in temporary accommodation, also including children. An example of the problem is there are nearly 1500 on the waiting list in Bridlington and over 700 in Goole. In addition, we are seeing waiting lists grow in other area due to people being overpriced from buying or renting in the private sector.
As the gig economy and zero-hour contracts expand many families are disenfranchised from living independently owing to poverty pay, and this is affecting young people in particular.
Labour has pledged to end this broken housing market by committing £2 billion over 10 years, allowing more social homes to be built to end the misery and meet demand. Councils will be free to build social housing and, as we know from history, that has always been successful in meeting provision. Labour is the only party committed to meeting the need for social housing.
Labour believes that policing should be properly funded by central government to reverse cuts of over 20000 officers since the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats inflicted the biggest decline in officer numbers the UK has ever suffered.
The Conservatives are deceiving the public by claiming they are preserving funding whilst actually passing the buck for council tax payers to pick up the tab for their disastrous policy. This has seen recorded crime growing, after years of reductions under Labour.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are being forced into raising council tax to prevent policing from disappearing from our communities.
Our Labour PCC has bucked the national trend and Humberside Police is on its biggest and fastest recruitment campaign ever: 400 additional officers will soon be on our streets. He has reversed the Conservative policy of withdrawing policing from our communities through good financial management, after years of the Conservatives hoarding tax payers’ money that could have been spent providing better policing. Police officers are now based back in communities from where they had been removed in Hornsea, Hedon, Willerby and Hessle, with a new shared facility with Fire and Ambulance planned for Driffield and a shared building with Fire in Pocklington. Our PCC is investing in our communities, not retreating from them as policing and other services have under the Conservatives.
The Conservatives have shown they cannot be trusted with running the police. In the East Riding Labour want to keep up the momentum of investing in local community policing so it can support all our communities to be the safe places you want them to be.