Progressive manifesto ideas – have your say

Since October, Left Foot Forward has been asking our readers and contributers to submit their manifesto ideas. The full list of ideas can be read here but below we summarise the list.

We now want you to vote on your favourite three ideas. Click here to complete our one minute survey.

Living wage

Peter Carrol has called for the London Living Wage to be rolled out nationally outlining that the “idea that anybody should be forced to live on £5.73 an hour should be abhorrent to any UK citizen.”

Financial Transaction Tax

Gary Kent argues that, “A global levy could both increase the stability of markets and raise revenues for good causes. It is vital that global markets provide some of the tax base for global social democracy. And it’s a potential vote-winner.”

The idea is also supported by Duncan Green in his ‘from poverty to power’ manifesto.

Crack down on tax havens and tax avoidance

Duncan Green also calls for reform of the regulation of UK tax havens and tax avoidance by UK companies, to require information disclosure and reporting by multi-national companies on the taxes they pay in each country. This should generate extra tax revenues for the UK, as well as poor countries.

‘Social responsibility levy’ on bonuses for top earners

Chris Leslie called for a new “social responsibility levy” on bonuses for those salaried over £200,000 annually. He suggested “using the proceeds to create a PAYE Reward Fund to give a little back to the vast majority of the working population who pay their fair share of taxes upfront through PAYE.”

Incentives for employee ownership

Jon Worth argues that one way to address unequal societies is to “incentivise employee ownership of companies.” He cites Robert Oakeshott, researcher on employee ownership, who argues that it “entails a movement from business as a piece of property to business as a working community.”

Nationalisation of rail and water industries

Julian Ware-Lane calls for renationalising of two industries because their privatisation has neither created a share-owning democracy nor created real choice in the industries.

David Stuttle made a similar argument on Labour List in relation to rail nationalisation.


John Slinger called for “a national network of staffed centres for young people of secondary school age” to be billed as the next phase of the highly successful and popular post-1997 Surestart scheme.

Free School Meals for All

Richard Watts suggests emulating the Labour party in Islington, Newham and County Durham and introducing free school meals for all. He says, “the results so far show that almost all children are now eating healthy school meals, instead of unhealthy (and expensive) packed lunches or, worse, just some snacks eaten on the way to school.”

Alex Smith of Labour List is another big fan of the idea.

Interventions for at risk children

Martin McCluskey writes: “more of an emphasis placed on intensive interventions for at risk children in early years … the state has a role to play to ensure that the most vulnerable are cared for and also to show that we won’t stand by when young children are being mis-treated and abused.”

More flexi-time

Kate Bell says “Government should commit to ensuring that all Government jobs, and those with Government contractors, are offered on a part time or flexible basis.”

Better rights for people with disabilities

Sarah Ismail sets out three clear ideas including ensuring that disability hate crimes have the same punishment as crimes against all other minorities.

Replace University top up fees with a graduate tax

Jack Storry called for a graduate tax as the basis of a “fairer funding system for university tuition.” This policy is supported by the National Union of Students among other student activists.

Votes for 16 year olds

Richard Angell called for votes at 16 among other constitutional reforms. Wes Streeting of the National Union of Students advocated this policy on Labour List.

Community-based sentences

Rick Muir argues, “I would invest seriously in community-based sentences, more half way houses/intermediary options between prison and the community, more residential places out of custody for offenders with mental health problems, close all womens prisons and place women offenders in open residential schemes (hardly any have committed serious or violent crimes)  – this would rehabilitate more effectively, could meet the public’s demand for punishment if done right, and save money because we know these programmes cut reoffending rates.”

Future inhabitants’ policy veto

Rupert Read says that, like in Hungary, “every major decision made at any level of government should be subject to potential veto by an individual or small group charged exclusively with having regard to the interests of the future inhabitants of this, our one and only planetary home.”

Green new deal

Trevor Cheeseman argues for a Green New Deal “funding domestic and industrial renewal energy capacity, public transport works and additional eco-housing capacity  – to sustain economic recovery”

Many of these ideas are included in Joss Garman‘s 12-point plan to “save the climate and our planet” while it is also covered by David Wearing in his manifesto calling for a “genuinely progressive foreign policy.”

Unilateral nuclear disarmament

David Wearing has made unilateral nuclear disarmament the main point of his 5-point plan for a “genuinely progressive foreign policy.” He argues that “Britain ’s ‘independent’ nuclear capability in fact renders us heavily reliant on US management and technology” and goes on to say that “it’s time Britain joined the vast majority of the world’s nations and become a non-nuclear state.”

Greater freedom of information

Jonty Olliff-Cooper has called for a reversal in the FoI Act so that data is free unless withheld.

New party funding rules to promote local political activity

Paul Cotterill calls for changes in funding for political parties so that all donations “could only be made to local parties.” This would “promote local political activity and devolve power within parties to the ’grassroots’.”

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19 Responses to “Progressive manifesto ideas – have your say”

  1. Will Straw

    @FloTom We solicited ideas for months and neither of them came up.

  2. Jon Worth

    Best progressive ideas for next decade from @leftfootforward Get voting for employee ownership of firms!

  3. Jon Worth

    @equalitytrust Have a look at Managed to get ncentives for employee owned firms (a suggestion from Spirit Level) in there

  4. The Equality Trust

    @jonworth excellent, many thanks!

  5. Talk to the Lefties

    […] The Papists are having a competition for manifesto policies. […]

  6. Superioranalyst

    Clearly the looney left is alive and well!

  7. Newmania

    “social responsibility levy” on bonuses for those salaried over £200,000 annually. He suggested “using the proceeds to create a PAYE Reward Fund

    This is good but it does not get to the heart of the matter . What is really required is a “Good bloke “dividend to be funded by a ‘wanker ‘ tax. In real life is is quite obvious who is a good bloke and who is a wanker . If we want to encourage a better finer and more moral man simply transfer funds from the worse to the better .
    I should imagine the legislation would be easily drafted , well more easily than the Bonus tax and PAYE fund , anyway. As for judging the worth of this or that individual this is surely a simple matter for the department of Good Bloke/ Wanker designation . We must be bold !

    At risk, children -. I suggest a Council Employee for each house or roving vans with audio equipollent so as the mention of Golly wog or a dolly brings masked SAS squads crashing though the windows to rescue the poor mote from the clumsy amateur parenting of a a section of society who often have no previous experience whatsoever of this complex task

    What about a group representing future tax payers having a veto on Policy designed to steal their money or the purposes of buying a General Election ?

    What about simply employing far more State employees but making their time so flexible it includes years off at a stretch . This will raise demand and ensure and gushing stream of prosperity as if by magic , its counter intuitive I know but ‘Keynes ‘

    Why stop at global levy we need a thorough -going Global government comprising a single state from which no money can escape and no action be apart. This way lies utopia .As for taxing financial transactions better still to outlaw them and leave the dispersal of funds to the Global State

  8. PT Barnum

    If this is what passes for “progressive” leftish thinking these days, gawd help us all. Leaving aside the graduate tax (a sensible and proportionate method of funding HE) and a return to Clause 4esque renationalisation of key infrastructure (especially water), the rest of this is the Blairite heavy-on-intervention, light-on-personal-dignity agenda of making everyone a client or a victim of the state.

    Nothing on trades unions? Way too Old Labour. Nothing on local authority housing? Nothing on punative marginal tax rates and the benefits trap?

    All this adds up to is greater infantilisation of people, bringing more and more within the control and scrutiny of the state. Try looking back to the beginning of the Labour movement: the days of the Co-operative Movement, the night schools founded by working people for working people, to the role of the unions in defending and promoting workers. Take a hint from them. Keep the knowitall middle class “experts” and “professionals” out of people’s lives and create the space to allow people to take responsibility for themselves and what they see around them, instead of the perpetual erosion of human dignity under the judgmental surveillance of a state run riot.

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Just do less. Get out of peoples lives more. Leave people alone. Start telling the truth more. Stop this stupid Climate Change stuff until the science is proven – which it isn’t. Make the government act on behalf of it’s electorate and do the things that are in it’s manifphesto.

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Just do less. Get out of peoples lives more. Leave people alone. Start telling the truth more. Stop this stupid Climate Change stuff until the science is proven – which it isn’t. Make the government act on behalf of it’s electorate.

  11. ralasdair

    Bar one or two, let's just put all of this in the manifesto, eh? (from @leftfootfwd)

  12. MP expenses and MP selection: the missing link « Though Cowards Flinch

    […] That’s the simple version.  It’s written up in more detail here at Left Foot Forward’s Progressive Manifesto slot, and if you really want you can vote for it as the best progressive idea presented to LFF, which it is by miles, you can. […]

  13. Will Straw

    Will Straw

    Thanks for the comments. It’s just worth saying here that these are a ideas, not a manifesto. We asked people to share their ideas and we are now asking people to vote on their favourite of their ideas. This is not a definitive programme of reform for the UK and there are, of course, gaps including on important areas including housing and trade unions.

    All the best,


  14. Alex

    I like the idea of most of these. Some are a little bit of tinkering around the edges that I don’t feel would make much difference, but others would really set us aside from New Labour and the Tories.

    This is the sort of message that a Labour Party should be campaigning on. Positive reasons for a fourth term, rather than we are not the Tories. Unfortunately, it will take a period of opposition to de-centralise the party once again and give simple members a say in policy once again.

    My top 3 were:

    A fair living wage: rather than criminalise those on benefits and take them away, make it economically sensible to be working. Make the minimum wage enough that 100% (never actually going to get 100%, but that must be the target) of people would be better off working than on benefits, even after the extra cost’s that come into play are taken into account. More people in work and less on benefits mean we could lower taxes on smaller businesses so they did not suffer from the pay increase.

    Free school meals: no-brainer. Too many kids do not get a proper meal in the morning and it creates so many problems and causes failure later on. This would be a fantastic and really lasting benefit, on par with the smoking ban.

    Unilateral Nuclear disarmament: We don’t need them and could save so much money without them. There time has passed so consign to the scrapheap of history.

  15. David Wearing

    My case for UK nuclear disarmament is up for the vote at @leftfootfoward’s new progressive manifesto pls RT

  16. NewLeftProject

    @davidwearing 's case 4 UK nuclear disarmament up 4 vote at @leftfootfoward’s new progressive manifesto pls RT

  17. JamieSW

    RT @NewLeftProject: @davidwearing 's case 4 UK nuclear disarmament up 4 vote at @leftfootfoward’s new progressive manifesto pls RT

  18. Hurlinm

    You and your kind make me puke.

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