The Labour Party has published its election manifesto.
The document, A Future Fair For All, pledges that Labour will rebuild the economy, protect and reform public services and renew politics. Here are the key elements that will affect employers:
Labour pledges to reform banks, modernise infrastructure and provide support to the private sector. Specific policies include:
- £11bn of operational efficiencies delivered by 2012-13.
- Halve the £167bn deficit by 2014 through economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower priority spending.
- Create ‘UK Finance for Growth’, with £4bn to provide capital for growing businesses and sectors.
- Introduce new global levy on banks and reform rules to learn lessons of past irresponsibility.
- Build a high-tech economy, supporting businesses to create one million more skilled jobs.
- Encourage sustainable company growth, with corporate takeovers requiring a super-majority of two-thirds of shareholders.
Jobs and pay
Labour pledged to return the UK to full employment and enable people to get better and higher-paid jobs. Specific policies include:
- A National Minimum Wage rising at least in line with average earnings, and a new £40-a-week ‘Better Off in Work’ guarantee.
- More advanced apprenticeships and Skills Accounts for workers to upgrade their skills.
- 200,000 jobs through the Future Jobs Fund, with a job or training place for young people who are out of work for six months, but benefits cut at 10 months if they refuse to take part.
- Anyone unemployed for more than two years guaranteed work, but no option of life on benefits.
Labour pledges to recognise the “huge contribution” older people make to society. Specific policies include:
- The right to request flexible working for older workers, with an end to default retirement at 65, enabling more people to decide for themselves how long they choose to keep working.
- Extension of statutory paternity leave to one month, up from two weeks currently.
- A new Toddler Tax Credit of £4 a week from 2012 to give more support to all parents of young children – whether they want to stay at home or work.
- A re-established link between the Basic State Pension and earnings from 2012.
Specific policies relevant to employers include:
- Every young person guaranteed education or training until 18, with 75% going on to higher education, or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training, by the age of 30.
- An expansion of free nursery places for two-year-olds and 15-hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three- and four-year-olds to encourage parents to return to work.
Health: Labour plans to ensure that doctors’ surgeries are open in the evenings and weekends, bringing inevitable changes to GPs’ working hours or shift patterns.
Crime: The Labour Party has pledged to maintain police and police community support officer numbers with neighbourhood police teams in every area, spending 80% of their time on the beat.
Immigration: Labour pledges to control immigration through the new points-based system, ensuring that as growth returns, the UK sees rising levels of employment and wages, not rising immigration.
Read the full Labour 2010 election manifesto.
The Conservatives will publish their election manifesto tomorrow, with the Liberal Democrats’ to follow on Wednesday.