What to expect from a Labour government
1) Labour will increase the minimum wage. Labour has committed itself to raising the minimum wage to at least £8 an hour by 2019. This has been brought forward a year – the party announced at conference last year that the minimum wage would hit £8 by 2020. “Labour is renewing our traditions as the party of work family and community,” said Ed Miliband at the launch. “We are also the party of equality.”
2) Labour will abide by a ‘Budget Responsibility Lock’. According to business secretary Chuka Umunna, “there are no spending commitments…that entail additional borrowing, capital or otherwise”. This is quite a big deal. Labour says that every policy in the manifesto is costed and will require no additional borrowing. The pledge not to borrow for capital spending (roads, housing, infrastructure) will disappoint many on the left, however. As will the refusal to rule out further cuts beyond 2016 – especially when the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says Labour could meet its spending targets without more cuts after 2016.
3) Labour will introduce comprehensive childcare. Under a Labour government all primary schools would need to provide wrap-around childcare from 8am to 6pm in the form of breakfast clubs and other after-school activities. The manifesto says:
“We will introduce a legal guarantee for parents of primary school children to access wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school.
“As well as helping parents, this will provide children with before and after-school clubs and activities, helping to raise their aspirations and attainment.”
4) Labour will introduce a ‘fully-funded rail fare freeze’. Commuters have been fleeced in recent years by rapidly rising ticket prices. On Friday the Conservatives announced a rail fare price freeze, the details of which we are yet to hear, and today Labour announced a “strict cap on every route for any future fare rises, and a new legal right for passengers will be created to access the cheapest ticket for their journey”.
The plan is expected to cost just over £200 million and will be funded by delaying road projects on the A27 and A358, according to Labour.
5) Labour will protect tax credits. Under Labour plans tax credits will rise in line with inflation from next year. Last year the chancellor George Osborne pledged a two-year freeze on benefits and tax credits if the Conservatives were re-elected.
James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.