Labour is ready to hit the ground running after May 7.
Ed Milband has revealed the 10 bills which would make up Labour’s first Queen’s Speech. These are bills which Labour has ready to go. They’re a combination of key election pledges and promises – a serious programme for government, both short and longer-term. They are a positive agenda for hope and change.
Strong economic foundation bill
The main aim of this is to fulfil Labour’s pledge to get the deficit down. But it would also be used to implement a mansion tax and a tobacco levy to fund the party’s “time to care fund”, as well as one of Ed Balls key demands – getting the Office of Budget Responsibility to audit all party manifestos in future.
Energy freeze bill
Does what it says on the tin – freezes energy prices so that they can fall but not rise, until 2017 – as well as giving the energy regulator the power to cut prices.
Make work pay bill
This would crack down on zero hours contracts and make it illegal to use agency workers to undercut the wages of other employees. It would instruct the low pay commission to ensure the Minimum Wage reaches at least £8 an hour by 2019 – and introduce “make work pay contracts” to give a tax rebate to employers who become living-wage employers in the first year of the new government.
Stronger families bill
Free childcare for all working parents of 3 and 4 year olds (up to 25 hours a week) and “wrap-around” childcare from 8am-6pm for all primary school children.
NHS time to care bill
Repeal the market framework in the NHS (essentially scrapping the Tory Health and Social Care Bill) and guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours.
Immigration and exploitation bill
Make it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting immigrant workers, ban recruitment agencies from hiring only from overseas – and force large firms to hire a UK apprentice for every worker from outside the EU they hire.
Tuition fees reduction bill
Cut tuition fees to £6,000 whilst boosting the student maintenance grant by £400.
21st-century technical education bill
Compulsory work experience for teenagers, revamping careers advice for all young people – and a vocational route from school to university. That means a technical baccalaureate for 16- to 19-year-olds, a guaranteed (and good) apprenticeships for all school-leavers that get the grades and new technical degrees at university. This is the Ed Miliband strategy for the “forgotten 50%” of young people who don’t currently go to university.
Anti-tax avoidance finance bill
Abolish non-doms, crack down on both personal and corporate tax avoidance and scrap the Tory “shares for rights” scheme.
More homes and fair rents bill
This is the bill that seeks to make Miliband’s plan for a million new homes over the next parliament real – as well as tackling unfair rents and practices in the private rented sector. It would give councils new “use it or lose it” powers to stop developers “land-banking”, as well as allowing local development corporations to build homes at scale where the private sector has failed to. The legislation would also allow for garden cities and suburbs – creating more than half a million new homes – as well as cracking down on letting agents’ fees and capping rent rises.
[The above list is reproduced from LabourList.]
The overall emphasis is on positive change – an agenda of hope, to replace the negative attacks of the Coalition on the weak and needy. Along with Labour’s commitment immediately to act on the Bedroom tax, and its first 100 days commitments on the NHS – this is what the first weeks of a Labour government will look like.
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