15 April 2015Labour's Election Manifesto 2015: Britain can be better
Much of the document commits to policies already announced by the party such as a ban on some zero-hours contracts, a freeze on energy bills, scrapping non-dom tax status, reducing tuition fees to £6,000.
- Raising the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019
- Freezing rail fares for one year
- Protecting tax credits for working families so they rise with inflation
- Introducing a new National Primary Childcare Service, guaranteeing childcare from 08:00 to 18:00
- The manifesto also pledges there will be no increase to the basic or higher rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT.
- The deficit and how Labour intends to tackle it plays a central role in the economy section of the document.
- "Cut the deficit every year and balance the books as soon as possible in the next Parliament"
- Bring back the 50p top income tax rate for those earning over £150,000
- End the non-dom rule that allows some wealthy UK residents to limit the tax they pay on earnings outside the country
- "Cut and then freeze" business rates
- Guarantee an apprenticeship for all school leavers who attain certain grades and "require any firm that gets a large government contract to offer apprenticeships"
- Ban zero-hours contracts deemed to be "exploitative"
- Freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator powers to cut bills
- Introduce a British Investment Bank
Health and education
- Invest £2.5bn more than the Tories in health to recruit 8,000 more GPs, 20,000 more nurses and 3,000 more midwives
- Guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours
- Guarantee cancer tests within a week
- Repeal the coalition's "privatisation plans" and cap health service profits
- Create a "gold-standard technical baccalaureate" for 16 to-18-year olds
- Protect the education budgets from early years through to post-16 education
- Ensure all teachers in state schools are qualified
- Cap class sizes for five, six and seven-year-olds
- Ensure all young people study English and maths to age 18
- Appoint directors of school standards
Families and communities
- Extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of three and four-year-olds
- Ensure all primary schools guarantee access to childcare from 08:00 to 18:00
- Double paternity leave to four weeks, with paternity pay increased by more than £100 a week
- Build at least 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 with "first priority for local first time buyers"
- Guarantee three-year housing tenancies with a "ceiling on excessive rent rises"
- §crap housing benefit changes that penalise those with spare rooms (also known as the Bedroom Tax)
- Introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee, which will "provide a paid starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year"
- Stop migrants claiming benefits until they have lived in the UK for two years
- Recruit an additional 1,000 border staff, paid for by a small charge on non-visa visitors to the UK
- Safeguard over 10,000 frontline police officers over the next three years
- People working in public facing roles in the public sector will have to speak English
- End the badger cull, ban wild animals in circumstances, improve protection for dogs and cats
- Action on high strength, low cost alcohol
- Set maximum permitted levels of sugar, salt and fat in children's food
- End marriage tax allowance
Religious liberty & equality
- Labour pledge to appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And we will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.
- The party promises to devolve powers from Westminster and lower the voting age to 16.
- Establish a "people-led constitutional convention" to look at governance across the UK
- Replace the House of Lords with a senate of nations and regions
- Devolve £30bn of resources and powers to English cities and counties
- Fulfil pledges to devolve further powers to Scotland and Wales
- Give more power to local communities to "shape their high street"
- Ban MPs from holding paid directorships and consultancies
- Create a statutory register of lobbyists
- Require large companies to publish details of their gender pay gap
It also confirms Labour will consider introducing a regional benefits cap, an idea that some within the party have previously rejected.
- Reform the EU so it "works for Britain"
- Allow no further transfer of powers to Brussels without a referendum
- Hold a Strategic Defence and Security Review in the first year of the next parliament
- Appoint a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender envoy and global envoy for religious freedom
- Outlaw discrimination against Armed Forces members
- Push for a target of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century
- Enshrine the Military Covenant in the NHS constitution
- Establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage to provide global support to help countries provide free healthcare