Key developments from conference this year
With the Labour Party conference in Liverpool drawing to a close, likely to be the last conference before the next general election, we thought we’d take a look at 5 key developments from conference this year.
1.Labour plans to fight the next election on the economy
The Labour Party is parking its tanks on the Tories’ lawn, making it clear that it intends to fight the next election on the economy. The Tory party has always prided itself on being the party of economic credibility, but after 13 years in power, sluggish economic growth, financial turmoil caused by Liz Truss’ disastrous mini budget and with no real policy to help millions struggling to make ends meet during a cost of living crisis, the Labour Party is offering a clear alternative.
From ending non-dom status and investing the money raised in the NHS, to pledging a war on waste, to cutting consultancy spend in government by half and appointing a Covid Corruption Commissioner to claw back money from those who ‘ripped off the taxpayer’, the economy is now a key battleground.
2. A plan to build 1.5 million new homes
The Labour Party has a clear plan to help tackle the housing crisis, with Keir Starmer telling the conference yesterday during his keynote speech that the Labour Party planned to build 1.5 million new homes and to build a “new generation” of large towns and suburbs, with Georgian-style townhouses favoured as the design to maximise their impact.
He also announced that the Labour Party would run a six-month consultation to identify areas with “unmet housing need” suitable for new development.
The Labour leader said he would “bulldoze through” the planning system in England if his party wins power.
3. Class is making a comeback
Class continues to cast a far longer shadow than many in Britain would like to admit, with the class ceiling continuing to hold people from working class backgrounds back. Keir Starmer once more chose to prioritise ‘smashing the class ceiling’ during his conference speech.
It was refreshing to hear a political leader talk the language of class not in a bid to divide people or pit people against one another, but to show how much of an impact it has on life chances and why we must do more to tackle the class ceiling.
4. Andy Burnham slams political system for allowing northerners to be treated as second-class citizens
During a Labour fringe event the Mayor of Greater Manchester slammed a ‘dysfunctional Whitehall system’ for treating northerners like second-class citizens.
Speaking at the Centre for Cities event at Labour Party conference, Burnham said that there was a ‘prevailing attitude within SW1 which thinks that the North can be ‘treated in a different way and treated as less and as second-class citizens’ by a political system that allows them to treat the north like second class citizens.
The Mayor condemned the Westminster system for hoarding power at the centre which ‘gives as little power away as possible’.
He said: “If you’re serious about reducing regional inequality in Britain you have to be supportive of radical rewiring of the country.” Burnham reiterated his calls for a proportional voting system for the Commons, urging the Labour Party to support the move, while also backing an elected House of Lords.
5. Labour will get rid of non-doms
The Labour Party pledged to crack down on wealthy non-doms, a tax status enjoyed by some wealthy individuals that means they can enjoy tax-free status on foreign earnings for up to 15 years.
The party has pledged to use the money raised to double the number of medical school places, train 10,000 extra nurses and midwives every year and double the number of district nurses.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward