It’s polling day tomorrow.
So on your last day of decision – here’s a reminder of what Labour is pledging.
But also, remember, it’s a local election here in Leeds. So here’s a reminder, too, of what Labour in office locally has achieved.
Labour’s manifesto is here – and we’ve provided links to all the policy statements relevant to different groups of people – the young, older people, LGBT, women – here.
It’s impossible to sum them all up in a single post.
But the agenda for hope and change contained in Ed Miliband’s promised first Queen’s Speech captures much of it.
Here are its major headings.
Strong economic foundation bill – 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 Labour’s strategy for the “forgotten 50%” of young people who don’t currently go to university.
Anti-tax avoidance finance bill Abolish non-dom status, crack down on both personal and corporate tax avoidance and scrap the Tory “shares for rights” scheme.
More homes and fair rents bill The bill that seeks to make Labour’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 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.
Here in Leeds, you’ve seen Labour government in action over the last few years, since we retook control of the Council after the Rainbow Alliance of Tories, LibDems and Greens.
That Labour Council has much to be proud of – much achieved in spite of 45% cuts in its revenues by the LibDem/Tory Coalition at Westminster.
– signing up to the Ethical Care Charter – the largest authority to do so – to help care workers, but also their weak and vulnerable clients
– a huge commitment to jobs, skills and apprenticeships http://wp.me/p3nrSW-7Vl
– the highest score of all Core Cities in the care for vulnerable children
– protecting Sure Start.
– the Council is delivering on the Green Agenda with Leeds in the top 4 authorities for energy efficiency
– and it’s making headway on eradicating low pay – as far as the Coalition’s cuts will allow that.
The 2015 Labour Budget here in Leeds showed how Labour is continuing to make Leeds a city to be proud of – against all the cuts the Coalition can throw at us.
Tomorrow you can vote for our candidates locally – Neil Walshaw in Headingley, Al Garthwaite in Weetwood, Mark Henley in Adel and Wharfedale, John Eveleigh in Otley and Yeadon.
You’ll notice there’s a pattern, nationally and locally in what Labour is offering, and doing. It’s an agenda of hope and change, looking to the future – but also one about protecting the young, the weak, the vulnerable – in the face of huge cuts and difficult times.
Labour values really do mean we work for EVERYONE. And when the going gets tough, we look out for those most likely to fall by the wayside and be ignored.
And those are the values of our candidate here in Leeds NW – Alex Sobel.
Alex has already been working hard for the constituency – even before he’s elected.
He’s spent almost two years on the doorstep, going round Leeds North West, talking to its people, listening to them and their concerns.
You can read more about that, and about him – here.
He’s already shown that no-one could work harder for Leeds NW.
And he would be part of a Labour government which would help ALL Leeds NW’s people.
Tomorrow Labour is holding out a message of hope and change – nationally and locally.
Read about it – and vote for it.