7 fresh Labour policies you might have missed this conference

Labour have put some bold changes forward at this year's party conference

This year’s Labour Party conference is happening in Brighton from Saturday 21 September to Wednesday 25 September 2019 and they’ve already announced some big, bold plans.

If the party were to be voted in, Labour have promised, among other new policies, changes to the working week and free care for certain age groups.

The likes of John McDonnell, Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn himself stood up in Brighton on Monday 23 September to talk through these promises.

While Brexit cast a shadow over the conference and had to be considered at every turn, Labour supporters seemed glad to see some meaty changes put forward by the Labour Party which reflected a definite shift further towards socialism.

So while Labour’s official manifesto is not yet out, here are some promises spoken about at the conference.

1. Introduction of the four day working week

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised that the average working week would be cut down to 32 hours in ten years of a Labour government.

Working weeks would become the equivalent of four days – although it doesn’t necessarily mean an extra day off as hours could be cut in other ways.

McDonnell said this could be done with no “loss of pay”.

McDonnell also said Labour vowed to end the “modern evil” that is in-work poverty during the first term in office if Labour were to get in.

2. Get rid of private schools

Labour party members also voted on Monday to integrate existing private schools into the UK state sector.

The vote suggests this may be in Labour’s next general election manifesto.

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, said the money saved would improve “the lives of all children” but Boris Johnson said it was a “pointless attack” on education.

3. Scrap universal credit

Labour plan to get rid of the Conservative welfare reform completely.

McDonnell said it’s time to “get rid of bloody Universal Credit” at the conference.

He added:  “We’ve got to give people security in life. So that has to be a proper safety net.”

4. Abolish the schools inspectorate

As well as integrating private schools, Labour hopes to scrap education watchdog, Ofsted.

Corbyn said it currently causes “absolutely enormous” levels of stress for staff and pupils.

Labour would introduce a new, two-phase inspection system in which local councils would perform regular “health checks” while Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) – fully trained professionals – would do the more detailed inspections.

5. End prescription charges

In addition Labour have pledged to abolish all NHS prescription charges.

In England people have to pay £9 per item for prescriptions, but it’s free already in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

While individuals with certain illnesses, like diabetes, and those on benefits like Income Support, pregnant women, children and the over-60s, do not currently pay, Labour have said prescriptions need to be universally free.

6. Have free care for elderly people

The party have envisioned a National Care Service in which all elderly people would get free care in their homes, including help preparing meals, washing and getting in and out of bed.

Labour have proposed the £6bn scheme to help older people living in England both in their homes and in residential care.

7. And free nursery places for toddlers

Alongside free care for the elderly, Labour have promised free nursery places for toddlers.

McDonnell said at the conference that England’s social care sector is a “national scandal”.

Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

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2 Responses to “7 fresh Labour policies you might have missed this conference”

  1. Alasdair Macdonald

    And items 5, 6 and 7 have been in place in Scotland for a number of years now, despite a fair degree of hostility from Scottish Labour. Indeed, when Henry McLeish as First Minister (Labour) put forward the idea of free personal care for the elderly he was pilloried by his own party which was in government at the time. Indeed, for showing such independence, his fellow Fife MP, the thuggish Bodger Broon, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was not pleased and, lo and behold, a ludicrous scandal appeared in the media about Mr McLeish’s office expenses and he was forced to resign.

    Now, of course, items 1 to 4 are to be welcomed, but is Labour ever going to be elected to enact them?

  2. Gary

    I have to agree with the previous comment. I’d never criticise a party for ‘stealing another’s clothes’ so’s to speak BUT it IS rank hypocrisy to argue against the current system in Scotland and then propose the very same policy for England.

    It IS a good idea AND it pays for itself. Most prescriptions are given out free anyway and running the system costs more than it recoups. It also has the added benefit of encouraging people to take the medicines they have been prescribed and recovery from illness more fully and more quickly.

    I’d back Labour but it seems less progressive than the alternative in my ward (SNP) and less democratic (regardless of public opinion, number of MPs/MSPs/MEPs returned who support independence and the will of the Scottish Parliament and the rule of the Edinburgh Act, Scottish Labour are determined not to allow a democratic route to independence for Scotland. McDonnel has said differently, as has Corbyn, but ultimately – who is in charge of Labour? From our MPs it seems the PLP ‘tail’ is wagging the Labour ‘dog’

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