Policies announced and motions passed at Labour conference 2019

Sienna Rodgers

Labour conference 2019 may have got off to a turbulent start, but it also featured many new policy announcements from frontbenchers and lots of radical policy motions passed. Below are lists for both.

The policies announced by Labour…

Dawn Butler:

  • Workplace menopause policies. “I am pleased to announce that a Labour government, with the help of the unions, will ensure that training is provided for line managers so they can understand what adjustments may be necessary to: ensure flexible working; conduct risk assessments; review sickness absence procedures; and to consider the specific needs of menopausal women.”
  • Commission an independent review into the rise of far-right extremism. Full story here.

Read Dawn Butler’s full speech.

Angela Rayner:

  • Private schools. “That is why we’ll upgrade social mobility to social justice, turning the Social Mobility Commission into the Social Justice Commission. And we will set that Commission to work on making the whole education system fairer through the integration of private schools… our very first budget will immediately close the tax loopholes used by elite private schools.”
  • Sure Start Plus.
  • Free nursery education for all two- to four-year-olds.
  • Scrap Ofsted. “A new system of peer review will deliver school improvement, led by the experts in our schools, who can achieve more working together for the common good. And a new, independent body will ensure every provider from nursery to college delivers the education that will be the right of every citizen.”
  • End the spiralling cost of school uniforms and equipment. “We will set a clear price cap, and stop the scandal of children priced out of school.”
  • Establish a comprehensive, co-operative university. “Academic and vocational teaching on an equal footing. Common ownership of the production, distribution, and exchange of knowledge itself.”

Read Angela Rayner’s full speech.

Jonathan Ashworth:

  • The greenest health service in the world. “As we rebuild our hospitals we’ll invest in solar panels and energy efficiency schemes. We’ll move to a fleet of low emission ambulances. And we’ll guarantee patients and staff a right to green space with an ‘NHS Forest’ – 1 million trees planted across our NHS estate – a tree for every member of staff.”
  • Increase the number of GP trainees. “A Labour government will expand GP training places to 5,000 a year, helping deliver 27 million extra GP appointments there for you and your family when you need it.”
  • Scrap prescription charges in England.

Read Jon Ashworth’s full speech.

Diane Abbott:

  • Stop detaining torture survivors. “We will proudly uphold the torture ban and treat the victims of torture with humanity, not detentions and deportations.”

Read Diane Abbott’s full speech.

Richard Burgon:

  • Reverse all cuts to legal aid-funded Early Legal Help in first 100 days.
  • Launch a fund £20m fund for law centres. “These People’s Law Centres will be run by the community, for the community… I want to see new Law Centres in the heart of our communities. In health centres. In community centres. Working with housing groups. With women’s organisations. Ensuring the law serves not just the privileged few – but everyone.”
  • New community lawyer initiative. “Government-funded training contracts for 200 lawyers to serve their communities. A new generation of lawyers using the law to secure justice for the many.”
  • Improve access to justice. “I announce that a Labour government’s Constitutional Convention will look at how to give every citizen a constitutional “Right to Justice”, as the Bach Report into Access to Justice calls for.”
  • Restore prison officer numbers to 2010 levels.
  • Legislate “for a presumption to end ineffective super-short sentences of six months or less for non-violent and non-sexual offences”.
  • Extra £20m in funding for women’s centres focussing on rehabilitation.
  • Introduce a “Public Accountability Law that would force officials and private companies to come clean about wrongdoing and failures”.

Read Richard Burgon’s full speech.

Richard Leonard:

  • Scottish Labour will force a vote in the Scottish parliament to end the Abellio franchise of ScotRail.
  • Deliver a new Scotland Act “that will provide for the devolution of employment law with a UK-wide floor”.

Read Richard Leonard’s full speech.

John McDonnell:

  • End in-work poverty within first term of office. “We’ll restore full trade union rights and workplace rights from day one. We’ll roll out collective bargaining to enable workers to get their fair share of what they produce. We’ll bring in a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour. We’ll end the barbaric roll-out of Universal Credit. We’ll cap rents and build a million new genuinely affordable homes.”
  • Four-day week within 10 years. “The next Labour government will put in place the changes needed to reduce average full-time hours to 32 a week within the next decade. A shorter working week with no loss of pay.” Full story here.
  • Introduce personal care free at the point of use in England. Full story here.

Read John McDonnell’s full speech.

Emily Thornberry:

  • Give a “£50,000 lump sum payment to every surviving test veteran to help them and their families cope with their medical problems”.

Keir Starmer:

  • Immediately legislate for referendum. “I can announce today that an incoming Labour government will legislate immediately for that referendum to take place. It will take place as soon as possible – and no later than 6 months from a Labour government taking office.”

Read Keir Starmer’s full speech.

Rebecca Long-Bailey:

  • People’s Power Plan. Full story here.
  • Electric cars. “We will accelerate the electric car revolution with a vehicle scrappage scheme to take 400,000 of the dirtiest cars off our roads and 2.5 million interest free loans for the purchase of EVs. We’ll require that 100 per cent of the government car fleet is electric by 2025. That’s 70,000 new electric vehicles alone.”
  • ‘Gigafactories’.”We’ll invest £1.8bn in collaboration with private investors, to build three huge battery production facilities, called ‘Gigafactories’ in Stoke, Croydon and South Wales.”
  • Community car clubs. “Labour will invest £300m to support the creation of ‘community car clubs’ owned by the community.”

Read Rebecca Long-Bailey’s full speech.

Sue Hayman:

  • Food banks. “Labour will halve food bank usage within our first year in Government. And we aim to end the need for food banks completely within three years.”
  • Right to Food. “Labour will set up a National Food Commission to uphold the Right to Food. We will set up a £6m People’s Access to Food Fund in the 50 most insecure food areas in the country.”

Jeremy Corbyn:

Read Jeremy Corbyn’s full speech.

The key motions passed by conference…

Many motions were passed by conference this year. Momentum had a 100% success rate on the conference floor. These were the key proposals approved.

Labour’s Socialist Green New Deal. Commits to “work towards a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030”. Rebecca Long-Bailey confirmed her support for the composite motion, as did Labour. The original motion, which changed from ‘zero’ to ‘net zero’, was drafted by Labour for a Green New Deal and backed by Momentum, CWU and the FBU.

Brexit. Composite 14 commits to a public vote, not to a pro-Remain stance now. The NEC Brexit statement commits to a one-day special conference following the election of a Labour government to decide how to campaign in the referendum. Full story here.

Working hours. CWU’s motion for a four-day week urges the party to “set out a plan to achieve a standard four day or 32 hour gross week with no loss of pay within a decade”. McDonnell backed this move. Full story here.

Universal Credit and employment support. Composite motion from women’s conference. Commits to scrapping UC and replacing it with a progressive benefit system, scrap work capability assessments and abolish punitive sanctions.

Schools. Commits to integrating all private schools into the state sector via: withdrawal of charitable status and all other public subsidies and tax privileges; ensuring universities admit the same proportion of private school students as in the wider population; redistribution of endowments, investments and properties held by private schools. Jeremy Corbyn has said he will prioritise the tax/charitable status aspect, not land ownership. Full story here.

Homelessness. Commits to treating it as a national emergency, shifting away from criminalisation and adopting the Homeless Bill of Rights. Moved by Community, promoted by Labour Homelessness Campaign. Comment piece here.

Housing. Commits to linking private sector rents to local incomes, ending Right to Buy, abolishing assured shorthold tenancies and more.

Free movement and closure of detention centres. Labour for Free Movement’s motion commits to maintaining and extending free movement, closing all detention centres, awarding equal voting rights to all UK residents, ending “no recourse to public funds” and more. Full story here.

Mental heath. This wasn’t a controversial one, but did mean a lot to many conference goers. Known as ‘the Caerphilly strategy’. Requires £2bn of ring-fenced funding, a comprehensive review within the first 100 days, and committing every sector of government to policies that promote mental health.

Plus… Click here for rule changes passed and rejected.

More from LabourList


We provide our content free, but providing daily Labour news, comment and analysis costs money. Small monthly donations from readers like you keep us going. To those already donating: thank you.

If you can afford it, can you join our supporters giving £10 a month?

And if you’re not already reading the best daily round-up of Labour news, analysis and comment…