Councils deliver vital local services to our communities, but their budgets have been slashed by Conservative cuts. This has led to a deterioration of local services, from bin collection to road repair, and the loss of important community assets such as libraries, youth centres and women’s refuges.
Labour believes in devolving power to local communities but that requires the necessary funding follows. You cannot empower local government if you impoverish it.
A Labour government will give local government extra funding next year. We will initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.
Labour is the party of devolution and we believe in handing back power to communities. We will devolve powers over economic development, complete with the necessary funding.
It is through the planning system that communities can shape the kinds of high streets, homes and amenities that they want. But under the Conservatives, planning has been under-resourced and disempowered, with democratic planning authorities unable to stand up to big developers. As a result, planning decisions have become too influenced by narrow economic considerations, with developers’ profit taking precedence over community priorities.
A Labour government will properly resource and bolster planning authorities with fuller powers to put people and communities at the heart of planning. We will update compulsory purchase powers to make them more effective as a tool to drive regeneration and unlock planned development.
Under the Conservatives, nearly £400 million has been cut from youth services and over 600 youth centres have closed. Labour will end the cuts to youth services.
We will continue to support all training routes for social workers, including initial social work training provided within or accredited by a higher education institution. We will also prevent the private sector and subsidiaries of private companies from running child protection services. We will deliver earlier protection to victims of abuse by strengthening mandatory reporting, and guaranteeing allegations will be reported and action taken to make children safe.
And we will refocus social care to work with families in local communities to prevent children becoming at risk of going into care.
The government is currently failing to develop a strategy for the wholesale improvement of the care system that delivers for all, not just those children being considered for adoption. We will promote the care and educational achievement of our most vulnerable children and increase support for children in kinship and foster care, and their families. It is important that other forms of care, such as kinship care and fostering, are not marginalised, as this will not result in the step-change we need to see in outcomes for looked after children. Labour will support further regulation of commercial fostering agencies, as well as commissioning a review on establishing a national fostering service.
We will extend Staying Put arrangements to support all children and young people in residential and other forms of care until they are 21.
We will enshrine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.
Labour will fund child burial fees for bereaved parents, ensuring that they are scrapped in all council areas. We recognise that some councils have already made this humane move.
Libraries are vital social assets, valued by communities across the country. We will ensure libraries are preserved for future generations and updated with wi-fi and computers to meet modern needs. We will reintroduce library standards so that government can assess and guide councils in delivering the best possible service.
Labour will end the closure of Crown Post Office branches, which play a major role in serving their communities. We will also set up a commission to establish a Post Bank, owned by the Post Office and providing a full range of banking services in every community.
Labour will give communities more power to shape their town centres, by strengthening powers to protect post offices, community pharmacies, high street banks, sports clubs, pubs and independent shops, and promote measures to decrease high-street vacancies.
We will set up a national review of local pubs to examine the causes for their large-scale demise, as well as establishing a joint taskforce that will consider future sustainability.
We will reduce the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2. Labour will also legislate to increase the delay between spins to reduce the addictive nature of the games.
We will give members of the Local Government Pension Scheme full trustee status to help control investments, and reduce fees and charges.
This Conservative government has taken rural communities for granted, with chronic underinvestment in transport, broadband and public services, including the closure of local schools, post offices and libraries.
Rural infrastructure and industry has been neglected. Labour will invest in broadband, housing and transport to create jobs and ensure that the nation’s prosperity is felt beyond our large towns and cities.
Labour’s national investment plans include coastal protections, better flood management and the broadband and 4G extensions that will underpin the future success of rural small businesses.
Rural councils deliver public services differently, and this needs to be reflected in funding allocation mechanisms. We will considerthese differences in our re-evaluation of the business rate schemes.
We will introduce a 'rural-proofing’ process so that all our laws, policies and programmes consider their impact on rural communities.
Labour will support tourism at the heart of government. The tourism industry represents 9.6 per cent of UK employment, 4.9 per cent of export and 9 per cent of GDP, but its importance is too often forgotten. Labour will ensure that tourism becomes a national priority again. We will reinstate the cross-Whitehall ministerial group on tourism, and ensure that government ministers across departments understand how their roles fit into the national tourism agenda.
The Conservatives have failed to provide a clear, ambitious or sustainable vision for the future of the farming, food and fishing industries.
We will expand the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure suppliers and consumers get a fair deal.
We will reconfigure funds for farming and fishing to support smaller traders, local economies, community benefits and sustainable practices.
We will allow EU workers employed across farming, fishing and food manufacturing to remain in the UK, and reinstate the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.
We will reinstate the Agricultural Wages Board to underpin employment standards and wages.
We will make utility companies return roads to a condition no worse than when they started digging.
Labour will build a fairer Britain where no one is held back
Labour will invest in a modern, integrated, accessible and sustainable transport system that is reliable and affordable.
Our transport systems illustrate the abject failure of Tory policies: relentless deregulation, privatisation and fragmentation.
They say we get choice and efficiency but the reality of their transport privatisations has been that services are less reliable, safety is compromised, fares have risen, ticketing has become complicated and air quality has worsened.
On our railways, we pay some of the highest fares in Europe for increasingly unreliable and overcrowded services.
The beneficiaries of public funding siphoned off through transport privatisations have been the earnings of directors, dividends for shareholders and the coffers of overseas governments.
Labour will prioritise public service over private profit. And we will start by bringing our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire or, in other cases, with franchise reviews or break clauses. We will introduce a Public Ownership of the Railways Bill to repeal the Railways Act 1993 under which the Conservatives privatised our railways.
In public ownership, we will deliver real improvements for passengers by capping fares, introducing free wi-fi across the network, ensuring safe staffing levels, ending the expansion of driver only operations, and introducing legal duties to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
Across the country we will enable councils to provide first-class bus services by extending the powers to re-regulate local bus services to all areas that want them, and we will support the creation of municipal bus companies that are publicly run for passengers not profit.
Under the Conservatives, bus fares have risen and services have been cut. Labour will introduce regulations to designate and protect routes of critical community value, including those that serve local schools, hospitals and isolated settlements in rural areas.
A publicly owned railway system can be the backbone of our plans for integrated transport. It will be built on the platform of Network Rail, which we will retain whole, working with the devolved administrations. We will ensure new rolling stock is publicly owned and will encourage expansion of public freight services in a publicly owned railway that will leave our roads freer of traffic and our air cleaner. We will facilitate British procurements, including steel, whenever possible.
A Labour government will invest to regenerate the local and regional economies across the whole country, so that every area gets its fair share of transport investment.
A Labour government will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester and then into Scotland, consulting with communities affected about the optimal route. We will link HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North (tying together our great Northern cities) and on to the Durham Freight Centre. We will build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East.
In London, to ensure our capital continues to prosper, we will build Crossrail 2.
To harness the economic potential of new technologies and science, we will complete the Science Vale transport arc that runs from Oxford to Cambridge through Milton Keynes.
And we will deliver rail electrification and expansion across the whole country, including in Wales and the South West. We will also consult with local communities to re-open branch lines.
To prepare for global new trade arrangements, we will study the feasibility of port development across the UK.
We will invest in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too, working with devolved administrations through the UK National Infrastructure Commission and its devolved counterparts.
Our plans will encourage and enable people to get out of their cars, for better health and a cleaner environment.
Labour will position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport through investment in low emission vehicles.
We will retrofit thousands of diesel buses in areas with the most severe air quality problems to Euro 6 standards.
We will reform the legislation governing taxi and private hire services, introducing national standards to guarantee safety and accessibility, updating regulations to keep pace with technological change and ensuring a level playing field between operators.
We will invite the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network. We reaffirm the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
We will continue to upgrade our highways and improve roadworks at known bottlenecks. The A1 North, the Severn Bridge and the A30 provide essential connections and require our urgent consideration. We will work with the Welsh Government to scrap the tolls on the Severn Bridge.
After seven years of stalled progress, Labour will reset the UK’s road safety vision and ambitiously strive for a transport network with zero deaths, reintroducing road-safety targets, setting out bold measures that will continuously improve safety standards.
We will refocus the roads building and maintenance programmes, connecting our communities, feeding public transport hubs and realising untapped economic potential.
Labour recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East. We welcome the work done by the Airports Commission, and we will guarantee that any airport expansion adheres to our tests that require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported.
We will continue working with our neighbours through the European Union’s Highways of the Sea programme and by negotiating to retain membership of the Common Aviation Area and Open Skies arrangements.
Investing in our environment is investing in our future. We will defend and extend existing environmental protections. We will champion sustainable farming, food and fishing by investing in and promoting skills, technology, market access and innovation.
The Conservatives broke their promise to be the greenest government ever. They have allowed fracking in national parks, evaded their responsibilities on air quality and cut the funding for flood defences. The future of our farming, food and fishing industries hangs in the balance, to be used as leverage in Brexit negotiations.
We will give the Fire and Rescue Services a statutory duty to co- ordinate and respond to floods.
Only a Labour government will prioritise a sustainable, long-term future for our farming, fishing and food industries, fund robust flood resilience, invest in rural and coastal communities, and guarantee the protection and advancement of environmental quality standards.
The Conservatives’ threatened 'bonfire of red tape’ is a threat to our environmental protections and to the quality of our lives. Their record on combating climate change and environmental damage has been one of inaction and broken promises.
The balance needs resetting: our air is killing us, our farms face an uncertain future, our fish stocks are collapsing, our oceans are used as dumping grounds, and our forests, green belt, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are all under threat.
Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality. We will safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island. We will set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste. We will protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so. We will work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management. Unlike the Conservatives who attempted to privatise our forests, Labour will keep them in public hands.
Our stewardship of the environment needs to be founded on sound principles and based on scientific assessments. We will establish a science innovation fund, working with farmers and fisheries, that will include support for our small scale fishing fleet.
Animals in our food chain need welfare standards. Domestic animals require stronger protection from cruelty. Wild animals need a sustainable ecosystem.
Labour’s vision is for the UK to lead the world with high animal welfare standards in the wild, in farming and for domestic animals. Labour will increase the maximum sentence for those convicted of committing animal cruelty.
We will promote cruelty-free animal husbandry and consult on ways to ensure better enforcement of agreed standards.
We will prohibit the third-party sale of puppies, introduce and enforce a total ban on ivory trading, and support the ban on wild animals in circuses.
We will cease the badger cull, which spreads bovine TB.
Labour ended fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing. Only a Labour government will maintain the bans.
CULTURE FOR ALL
Britain’s creative industries are the envy of the world, a source of national pride, a driver of inward investment and tourism, and a symbol of the kind of country we are now and aspire to be in the future. As Britain leaves the EU, we will put our world-class creative sector at the heart of our negotiations and future industrial strategy. We need to do more to open up the arts and creative industries to everyone.
We will introduce a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age and invest in creative clusters across the country, based on a similar model to enterprise zones. Administered by the Arts Council, the fund will be available over a five-year period. It will be among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever, transforming the country’s cultural landscape.
Labour will maintain free entry to museums and invest in our museums and heritage sector. Conservative cuts to the Arts Council and local authorities have created a very tough financial climate for museums, with some closing or reducing their services, and others starting to charge entry fees. The Cultural Capital Fund will have a particular focus on projects that could increase museums’ and galleries’ income and viability.
Labour will end cuts to local authority budgets to support the provision of libraries, museums and galleries. We will take steps to widen the reach of the Government Art Collection so that more people can enjoy it.
We will continue to mark the ongoing centenary of the First World War, and the sacrifice of all those who died during it. Labour remains committed to honouring the role of all who have served our country, including the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish soldiers who fought for Britain.
Our thriving creative sector, from the games industry to fashion, needs a strong pipeline of skilled talent to sustain its growth.
Labour will introduce an arts pupil premium to every primary school in England – a £160 million annual per year boost for schools to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer term. We will put creativity back at the heart of the curriculum, reviewing the EBacc performance measure to make sure arts are not sidelined from secondary education.
Labour will launch a creative careers advice campaign in schools to demonstrate the range of careers and opportunities available, and the skills required in the creative industries, from the tech sector to theatre production.
Being a performer is a great career. But too often the culture of low or no pay means it isn’t an option for those without well-off families to support them. We will work with trade unions and employers to agree sector-specific advice and guidelines on pay and employment standards that will make the sector more accessible to all.
We will improve diversity on and off- screen, working with the film industry and public service and commercial broadcasters to find rapid solutions to improve diversity.
We recognise the serious concern about the ‘value gap’ between producers of creative content and the digital services that profit from its use, and we will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age
Music venues play a vital role in supporting the music industry’s infrastructure and ensuring a healthy music industry continues in Britain. Labour will review extending the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues.
And we will introduce an ‘agent of change’ principle in planning law, to ensure that new housing developments can coexist with existing music venues.
We all need to work harder to keep children safe online. Labour will ensure that tech companies are obliged to take measures that further protect children and tackle online abuse. We will ensure that young people understand and are able to easily remove any content they shared on the internet before they turned 18.
The BBC is a national asset which we should all be proud of. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will always support it and uphold its independence. We will ensure the BBC and public service broadcasting has a healthy future. Labour is committed to keeping Channel 4 in public ownership and will guarantee the future of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C.
Victims of phone hacking have been let down by a Conservative government that promised them justice, but failed to follow through. We will implement the recommendations of part one of the Leveson Inquiry and commence part two which will look into the corporate governance failures that allowed the hacking scandal to occur.
Local newspapers and broadcasting in Britain are an important part of our democracy and culture. We are concerned about closures of local media outlets and the reductions in number of local journalists. Labour will hold a national review local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality.
To protect democracy and media freedom, we will take steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership and to put in place clearer rules on who is fit and proper to own or run TV and radio stations.
Sport must be run in the interests of those who participate in it and love it, not just for a privileged few. We will give football supporters the opportunity to have a greater say in how their clubs are run. We will legislate for accredited supporters trusts to be able to appoint and remove at least two club directors and to purchase shares when clubs change hands. We will review fan participation in sports governance more widely.
Sporting events must be open and accessible to all. We will push sports authorities to make rapid improvements on access provision for fans with disabilities.
Labour will ensure the Premier League delivers on its promise to invest 5 per cent of its television rights income into the grassroots game to help the next generation of players and coaches, and to improve facilities and pitches. The Premier League has so far failed to do so, despite lucrative new domestic and international TV deals.
The broken ticketing market in the UK means tickets sell out instantly and are put up at vastly inflated prices on ticket-tout websites. Labour will enforce anti-bot legislation and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review to ensure fair opportunities for fans to buy tickets.