Open Labour has launched a new position paper setting out what it has described as some “Britain-boosting” policy programs. The 37-page document is wide-ranging, covering areas from health and social care to internationalism and Labour Party reform, and the ‘soft-left’ group has said the policies outlined will allow people to live “freer, happier and healthier lives”. Below are all the positions Open Labour has taken…
Health and social care
- Significant investment in health and social care services, with the aim of building a resilient and robust NHS ready to face tomorrow’s challenges.
- Reversing privatisation of our health and social care services to ensure that services are publicly owned and run for people and not for profit.
- Placing local authorities at the heart of health and social care strategy alongside the NHS and public health agencies.
- Developing a national strategy on health inequalities led by the Prime Minister – with a strong focus on the social determinants of health. In 2010, the coalition government dropped the national health inequalities strategy.
- Reviews into inequalities in healthcare should be intersectional and recognise the prejudice some groups disproportionately face at all levels in the NHS.
- A recruitment and retention strategy to boost the NHS workforce, pay and working conditions.
- Free prescriptions and dentist and optician appointments
- Increased funding for mental health departments and specialist mental health treatment within the NHS and within schools.
- Trained mental health first-aiders and counsellors in every school, proportional to the number of pupils in the school, with the ability to refer pupils for NHS treatment if necessary.
- Clear standards for the treatment of anyone with mental health conditions, including a treatment guarantee within one month. This would mean that anyone receiving a referral for mental health related concern would receive their initial assessment much more quickly, followed by an agreed upon treatment plan, with a fuller range of treatment options.
- Make independent counselling services, such as those in universities, accountable to a central standards body.
- Roll out ‘crisis cafes’ in communities across the UK for use by local people and a UK-wide scheme modelled on the ‘Greater Manchester Student Mental Health Service’ for all students.
- Strive to build a strong mental health service to the point where a smoother, more accessible choice to ‘opt-in’ can be provided to those who have recently experienced a difficult life event such as a significant bereavement and to those
more likely to encounter difficult experiences as part of their day job (such as nurses, firefighters, etc).
- A harm reduction strategy for recreational drugs which will decriminalise and redirect users to health support and rehabilitation.
- More funding for research and treatment into complex mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, personality disorders and
- Abolish Serenity Integrated Mentoring and ensure patients get the treatment they need without police having powers over their healthcare.
- Social care is about quality of life. The brutal cuts that we have experienced as a consequence of Tory austerity have reduced care to the basic provision of food and help with washing and dressing. Decent social care should be focused on quality of life and ensuring that everyone is provided with the opportunity to flourish and to have social opportunities.
- Good social care benefits everyone. The provision of care should be publicly funded, not for profit and responsive to the needs of the diverse communities that make up our population. Investing properly in care means valuing people with additional needs who require support in their communities and the commitment and experience of care workers.
- Everyone should have the choice to live where they want and with whom they want. This means ensuring that adults who access social care are supported to live in their community in their home rather than in a ‘facility’ and that older people at the end of their lives are supported to stay at home for as long as this is feasible with access to good residential care if needed.
- Social care for adults (18-64) should provide opportunities and choices that reflect people’s wants and needs, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all model based on assumptions about what particular groups of people may or may not enjoy or want to do.
- The economic contribution of informal carers must be acknowledged and meaningfully addressed via carers’ allowance and meaningful support in workplaces.
- A national framework for care quality, with pay and training linked to standards.
Education and childcare
- A strategy to make affordable, quality childcare widely available in the immediate short term.
- A long-term plan for free and funded childcare for all families who need it.
- Investment to enable all local authorities to restore Sure Start provision, at a minimum, to the level which existed in 2010, and to supply further funding upon demonstration of how this will be used to level-up childcare and parental support provision within the local authority area.
- Working with other countries to create a childcare and education VISA, to stem worker shortages in the immediate short term.
- Giving all working parents – including zero-hours contract workers, agency workers and those in casual work – access to the same rights from day one in their jobs. This includes all family-friendly rights, which are often only available to ’employees’ and support for students.
- Introducing 10 days’ paid carer’s leave on full pay from day one in the job, to support all working parents.
- Introduce the ability to register on a national database of childcare workers to all nannies and childminders, with a legal requirement to be registered.
- A long-term strategy to reduce school class sizes to drive higher quality of education for every child and lower the work burden for teachers.
- Increase per-pupil spending and alter the national funding formula to ‘level-up’ disadvantaged schools ensuring all schools have sufficient resources.
- Extend free school meals to disadvantaged pupils over school holidays.
- Recruitment and retention scheme for current and prospective teaching staff to tackle shortages across all specialisms and improve working conditions.
- Enhance local authority powers to offer communities the freedom to open new schools to create the school places their area needs, and phase out existing grammar schools in favour of equal-opportunity, comprehensive schooling.
- Cease the creation of ‘free schools’, also known as academies and bring existing ones into local partnerships so they are accountable to the communities they serve.
- Reform the academy oversight system so that finances are transparent, properly scrutinised and publicly accountable.
- End high-stakes testing systems in primary schools and school and college league tables.
- Guidance and counselling should be built into student life with a guarantee that wellbeing and mental health support is available to every child who needs it.
- At the very least, charitable status and associated tax breaks for private schools should end within the first year of a Labour government and the money used to help ‘level-up’ state schools.
- Mentoring should be utilised instead of the overuse of harsh disciplinary measures disproportionately used against working-class students and students of colour.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
- Working to embed inclusive practice in every setting.
- A quicker, more responsive system which focuses on need rather than diagnosis.
- Provision in communities, ending the tendency to transport children out of the area and therefore reducing opportunities for building social relationships.
- Recognition that investing in SEND in early years and primary education settings has long-term benefits, including reducing longer-term funding requirements.
- Commitment to providing choices and opportunities rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to what a disabled young
person might want to do.
- Close the gap in funding for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, and reverse deficits in the High Needs Budget.
Universities and further education
- Replacing tuition fees with maintenance grants and phasing out student debt.
- Reforming student finance to ensure all applicants and their families are treated with dignity and respect and to make
entitlement calculations much fairer to students of all different family backgrounds.
- Ending insecure, zero-hours contracts to deliver teaching.
- Investing in accredited and non-accredited lifelong learning and reinstating the union adult learning fund.
- Promoting and funding skills training to meet the needs of Britain’s rapidly growing low-carbon sectors and to green the whole economy.
- Moving towards a post-qualification admissions (PQA) system where university offers are based on achievement rather than predictions.
- Ensuring properly funded and consistent additional learning support (ALS) funding to support disabled learners to fully access and participate in further and higher education.
- Greater protection of academic freedom through the development of open, democratic and collegial forms of institutional governance, including access to proper whistleblowing procedures and a changed approach to funding for UK research to reduce pressure on academics to seek commercial sponsorship.
- Scrapping the teaching excellence frameworks because they are not fit for purpose.
- Increasing transparency around senior pay in colleges and universities and link it to staff pay.
- Rebuilding Further Education to boost local communities and invest in upskilling and retraining.
- Returning further education colleges to local democratic control and closing the £7,000 pay gap between school and college teachers.
- Ending unfair section 21 evictions, ’No DSS’, ‘No Universal Credit’ and other such forms of discrimination against those seeking tenancies.
- Introducing a landlords’ database, a tenants’ rights’ charter and enforcement agency to protect the country’s 11 million private renters and give them access to more secure and longer-term tenancies.
- Overhauling the regulations which have turned landlords into an immigration control force.
- Private rent caps to stop spiralling prices.
- Limiting buy-to-let especially for new builds so that homes go to people who will actually be living in them.
- Work towards a ‘housing first’ policy to tackle homelessness.
- Property tax reform and legislation to outlaw house hoarding including fines and – ultimately – compulsory purchase lower than market rate.
- These reforms should include a requirement for private landlords to ensure housing does not stand vacant for more than one year. Local authorities should be allowed to double council tax on empty homes after six months and
then have the power to compulsory purchase these properties at their use value rather than property value.
- Increasing the capital gains tax for second homes and investment properties to at least 40%, reflecting higher rate taxpayers, with a potential super tax rate for the largest landlords. This would encourage people to seek more productive and socially beneficial ways to earn their income and support UK productivity.
- End the exemption on council tax for vacant and derelict residential land; require the transfer of such land to a community land trust where the owner cannot pay the tax levied. Reform the Land Compensation Act 1961 (Land Compensation Act 1963 in Scotland) to abolish ‘hope value’ in compulsory purchase valuations, as recommended by Shelter and Labour’s ‘Land for the Many’ commission.
- Establishing National and local Community Land Ownership Trusts, to vest land and utilise it for the common good and community benefit, whether for rewilding, housing or employment. The National Land Trust would not directly develop but hold land until Community Trusts could utilise it and land would be vested by a number of methods including reclamation of land left vacant or derelict for a defined period.
- Opening up data on who owns land, compelling the need to register all land holdings and publish the names of all persons of significant control of land.
- Merging the land registry, ordinance survey and the valuation office, made into a body immune from privatisation, and give both the public and HMRC access to this land and property ownership data.
- Measures to support a much more equitable ownership of land and property, such as a land value tax, and Overseas Land and Property Tax payable by individuals or companies domiciled or owned in tax havens.
Planning and building
- Enshrining the right to adequate housing in law.
- Building more homes closer to where people work. This is not just a matter of convenience, but better for the environment.
- A building programme for a new generation of social housing which is safe, green and well-designed.
- The revival and protection of the British steel industry.
- A strategy for a new generation of construction workers in well-trained, well-treated, well-paid, unionised jobs.
- Funding for local authorities to be able to sufficiently and properly maintain existing social housing.
- A change to planning law to ensure that a minimum of 50% of social housing is included in all new developments except the very smallest.
- Right-to-buy must be reformed. Local Councils should be able to reduce/abolish discounts or suspend RTB altogether and exercise the right to buy back homes already sold through RTB.
- Requiring local authorities to review all existing planning permission on sites to ensure that any developments yet to commence meet that standard.
- Opposition to the Conservatives’ Developer’s Charter which “would prevent local residents from objecting to developers’ plans to build poor quality housing, eyesores, or any other form of inappropriate new buildings on their streets, in their communities or on treasured public spaces”.
- Changing the planning consultation process to include under-represented voices, such as people who are suffering from homelessness and overcrowding who would benefit from new homes in an area.
- Restriction of new holiday homes in rural and coastal areas, which are facing increasingly unaffordable rises in local rent prices and communities being hollowed out.
Safe, green homes
- Retrofit existing homes with next generation heating and energy supply.
- Implementing a Zero Carbon Homes standard from the first day of a Labour government.
- Greater central funding for Fire and Rescue services.
- Fitting modern cost-effective fire suppression systems in new builds and retrofitting housing identified as having the greatest risk to life in the event of a fire.
- Reforms to tackle the construction, cladding, testing and certification industries’ seeming culture of deceit, adversarial contracting, risk-dumping, lowest price tendering, and trading on wafer-thin profit margins, all free from adequate scrutiny or public accountability.
- Protecting leaseholders from the financial burden of the cladding crisis. Details of at-risk properties should be made available to all, including potential homebuyers. Invest in the housing regulators so they can challenge Housing Associations and rogue landlords.
Work, welfare and pensions
Jobs and workplaces
- A real living wage which applies equally to all age groups as a minimum wage.
- Raising apprentice wage and ending Treasury raid of the apprenticeship levy.
- Reinstating the Future Jobs Fund and expanding it to cover all jobseekers out of work for six months or more. Build upon it as part of a longer-term objective to guarantee employment or training to all long-term unemployed people in Britain.
- Better sick pay and employee protections, including looking to EU directive rights under threat post-Brexit.
- End fire and rehire.
- Reform trade union laws to allow eballots for industrial action, eliminate unduly onerous procedural requirements for conducting such action and legalise, subject to free and fair strike ballots, secondary strikes and secondary picketing where an industrial dispute concerns workers from several employers.
- Private sector companies bidding for public sector work must demonstrate that they pay a living wage, are not an anti-union employer and have a good record of employee relations.
- Greater democracy in the workplace.
- A ‘social partnership’ which involves workers in public policy decisions that will have an impact on their working lives.
- Reforming the tax system to ensure the wealthiest and big business cannot avoid tax to the detriment of the less well-off.
- Reforming business rates and supporting high streets to produce local jobs.
- All except the genuinely self employed to have access from the same workers’ rights from day one.
- Protecting the self employed and small businesses within wider supply chains from poor business practice and exploitation by larger businesses.
- Introducing a right to flexible working as outlined by the TUC.
- Continued rollout of 4-day week trials and a long-term strategy of reducing working hours at no loss of pay
- Ending the privatisation in our welfare system.
- Ending the punitive culture in the DWP and the distressing fit-for-work testing system which often produces inaccurate results, with disastrous consequences.
- Ensuring that the basic services people need to go about their lives are universally accessible.
- A new welfare system which is a genuine safety net for all, automating support and reducing bureaucratic barriers wherever possible.
- End pensioner poverty and build a better link between state pension and average working incomes.
- Justice and compensation for the WASPI women.
- Remove the age limitations for automatic enrolment in workplace pensions schemes.
- Reversing cuts to legal aid funding and committing to support for law centres and legal advice charities.
- End privatisation in probation and across the justice system. Administering justice is a public good and should not be a profitable venture for companies whose main responsibility is to shareholders.
- Providing access to intermediaries and interpreters and ending NRPF (No Recourse to Public Funds).
- Ensure that lack of secure immigration status is never a barrier to justice.
- Workers in the justice system, including legal advocates, judges, police officers, and court staff, must receive mandatory, comprehensive, and regularly reinforced training on how to treat cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
- Automatic referrals to IDVAs, ISVAs, counselling and other emotional and practical support services for survivors.
- Opposition to the Nordic Model, which puts sex workers at higher risk of violence, police harassment, poor health outcomes and exploitation.
- Kickstarting a new, resourced effort to meet the Macpherson report’s overall aim of “the elimination of racist prejudice and disadvantage, and the demonstration of fairness in all aspects of policing”, and implementing the Lammy Review’s recommendations in full.
- Ending stop and search, and reviewing the impact of other such police powers with a look to reducing harm and closing racial disparities in interactions with police.
- Opposition to legislation designed to outlaw Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, instead supporting a fairer system to plan and authorise encampments.
- The return of neighbourhood policing with dedicated teams of police officers and police community support officers.
- High-quality and comprehensive training for police officers and an independent process for all police complaints.
- A liaison and diversion approach to mental health, ensuring individuals with complex mental health needs are assessed and diverted away from the criminal justice system where feasible.
- Opposition to the building of new prisons. The best way to alleviate strain on the prison estate would be to commit to improving existing prisons and striving to rehabilitate low level nonviolent offenders.
- Total reform of the culture of the Home Office and reviewing all policy decisions made since 2010.
- Opposition to the draconian measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill.
- Supporting a single and consistent definition of British Citizenship under which all Citizens are subject to equal treatment.
- A commitment to minimum standards of service from the Home Office through consideration of applications and provision of facilities, particularly for detainees and asylum seekers.
- The principle that all individuals arriving in the UK, by any means, are potential asylum seekers until a declaration by the individual to the contrary and to be treated as such.
- Guarantee safe routes for asylum seekers and rights to family reunion, work and social security.
- Scrapping ‘Hostile Environment’ measures, use of landlords and public service providers as border guards, and ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’.
- Equality under the law – removing double payments for access to the NHS through tax and National Insurance payments as well as the NHS Surcharge payments.
- A commitment that the UK’s immigration system will enhance workers’ pay and rights in the UK, not allow unscrupulous bosses to undercut and exploit.
- A commitment that the legal immigration framework will enhance and not restrict the quality of public services and industry in the UK.
- Using application fees and the immigration skills charge to encourage visa application conditions for public service visa categories under a new visa system committed to visa net gains.
- Appeal routes to be re-introduced for all applications made to the Home Office to ensure accountability and fairness.
- A commitment to properly resourcing Home Office services and a caseworker/application ratio minimum threshold to be enforced to ensure that individual’s access to rights are not lost through inefficient Home Office services and processing times.
- Increased involvement from other Government Departments in respect of specific visa routes to ensure visa eligibility and conditions meet standards applied to the settled population.
- Extending equal voting to all long-term residents in the UK.
- Actively challenging anti-migrant narratives and prejudice.
Local government and communities
- Reviewing the existing structures of local government and developing plans to democratise councils and empower local communities.
- Greater devolution of powers – including to raise finance – and resources.
- Reinstate redistributive resource allocation based on objective needs and deprivation.
- Reintroduce advisory and audit structures.
- The ability to determine local democratic structures more freely.
- Proportional representation in all local government and mayoral elections.
- Introducing a ratio of electors to councillors that applies across the UK.
- Inclusive structures that secure career progression and skills development based on capability.
- Employment rights for councillors including parental and care leave, and reintroduce employer reimbursement for time off for civic duties, so that councillors have greater freedom to go about their job of representing their communities, and to make it an accessible role for a much wider range of people.
- Improved capability, competence and safeguarding. An agenda of better training and assessment based on fuller vetting by all parties of candidates for first tier councils.
- More compassionate models of local governance, including ending the use of bailiffs to recover council tax and using much more effective and ethical debt collection schemes.
- Fully democratise the House of Lords, all members of UK parliament must be directly elected.
- Introduce proportional representation to all public elections in the UK including for general elections.
- Implement a codified constitution which sets out the rights and obligations of citizens, the scope of the powers of the executive, parliament and the judiciary, the checks and balances to ensure the proper functioning of the state and the operation of devolution, and entrenches human rights, including social rights.
- Reform parliamentary rules to allow fairer debate and introduce a mechanism for all MPs to be able to formally correct the record.
- Radical devolution of decision-making and spending powers across the nations and regions of the UK.
- Seeking to end austerity and neoliberalism, including through progressive reform of the Eurozone and regulation of the banks so as to achieve increased social redistribution across Europe.
- Global efforts to mitigate the climate crisis and introduce a green transition.
- Developing a fair, inclusive, and managed pan-European migration policy, strengthened digital rights, and the promotion of human rights and social and economic development globally.
- Continuing to work with our sister parties and organisations to build a Europe that respects national self-determination, a Europe that is fair, transparent, and fit for purpose.
- Promoting a safer world based upon the international rule of law, human and economic rights, human development, and global disarmament.
- Global civil society efforts to radically reform finance and trade to protect wellbeing (‘human security’) and ensure access to public goods are equitably shared.
- Radical reform of intellectual property to grow the knowledge commons and support for open access research pursued for the benefit of all, including waiving COVID-19 patents and sharing the technology with the global south.
- Antitrust measures to tackle corporate monopolisation of new technologies and new forms of common ownership to democratise global and local economies.
- The strengthening of international labour and environmental standards and enforcement.
- Truly anti-imperialist principles of self-determination and agency.
- Lobbying the UK government, no matter which party is in power, to never do business, establish state-led contracts, etc., with states that violate international law and deny human beings fundamental rights.
- Encouraging internationally supported initiatives, especially through the UN but also organisations like the European Union, the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE), for those opposing occupation, annexation of territory, and seeking self-determination.
- A Human Security approach which is able to protect people from war and genocide.
- An approach of targeted sanctions, improving financial transparency and addressing crucial material sources of conflict and authoritarianism – which the UK is at the centre of, being the destination of choice for global money launderers.
- Commitment to the defence of our citizens and to our treaty obligations including the mutual defence of our allies.
- The restoration of the Department for International Development.
- Restoring aid budget to 0.7% GDP as soon as possible, with an aim to go beyond – particularly with climate focused support and acceptance of the UK’s historic role in loss and damage to the environments of other countries.
- Halting the approach that causes trade deals to become a race to the bottom.
- Abolishing the investor state dispute settlement system which allows big business to sue governments in secret.
- A fairer global financial system to ensure debt doesn’t become a matter of permanent bondage for those who can safely borrow, and with more domestic resource mobilisation (taxes).
- A Green New Deal: a managed, fair and prosperous transition to net zero.
- A green, digital jobs revolution which will rebuild Britain’s industrial heartlands.
- Ensure that jobs and opportunities are spread evenly across our regions and nations.
- Make utilities community-owned and run for local people, not private profit.
- Rollout broadband and access to the digital world, so no one in the UK is left behind.
- Make green travel affordable and bring British transport into the 21st century.
- Building carbon neutral homes, and retrofitting existing ones.
- International approach to mitigate the climate emergency, support countries in the global south facing existential threat, and ensure that climate refugees are given safe haven.
- Action on polluting waste such as single use plastics.
- A new Clean Air Act in line with WHO guidelines.
- Strengthen flood defences and invest in the fire service.
- Work with UK food producers to develop sustainable agricultural technologies and food security.
- Ditching the failed private model for rail and buses, bringing public transport networks into the hands of local people, through common ownership and cooperative principles to give communities a stake in the fundamental services they use.
- Delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail, the full completion of HS2 to Scotland, and a full rolling programme of electrification of rail across the UK.
- Improved accessibility and step-free access in both existing and new travel routes across all forms of transport.
- A properly-organised freight system for the transport of goods across the UK.
- Establishing safer walking routes to schools, improved pedestrian crossings.• Cycle schemes in schools and greater safe cycle infrastructure to make cycling more attractive in towns and cities.
- Digitally connecting different forms of public transport to improve affordability and connections across the UK, and ‘level up’ transport infrastructure in areas which need it most.
- Funding for suicide prevention measures in train stations, particularly those identified as hotspots.
- Embedding equality as part and parcel of everyday policy making and governance.
- Listing British Sign Language (BSL) as an official national language in Great Britain and increasing braille provision.
- Properly funding SEN (Special Educational Needs) coordinators in schools.
- Disability Advisory Services should follow a student-led approach when it comes to putting in disability provisions for them.
- Equal reproductive rights and healthcare provision in Northern Ireland.
- Improved health outcomes for patients from ethnic minority backgrounds, including a strategy to narrow the racial disparities for black women in the maternal mortality rates.
- A national strategy to tackle violence against women and girls.
- Consequences for institutions which are complicit in violent misogyny by failing, sometimes deliberately, to tackle serious
problems when raised.
- A reformed police and justice system to tear down institutional racism and ensure justice is delivered.
- A decolonised curriculum and fully inclusive health, sex and relationships education in schools.
- Tougher measures on tech companies to prevent online platforms from becoming hotbeds for hatred.
- For public monuments which celebrate horrors such as slavery to be moved to museums or other such locations where the historical context can be explained, understood and learned from.
- A full ban on conversion therapy.
- An LGBTQ+-friendly asylum system.
- Legal recognition of non-binary gender, introducing an X gender marker on passports and other forms of ID.
- Improved healthcare, NHS culture, and NHS waiting times for transgender patients.
- Equalising access to IVF treatment.
Labour Party reform
- The NEC should approve new rules to formalise LGBT structures, as has been done for Women’s, BAME and Disabled
- The NEC should establish a timetable for the roll out of Local Government Committees (which are replacing Local Campaign Forums) to ensure consistency and progress over a reasonable period of time.
- Young Labour elections should adopt STV to bring the youth wing’s democratic structures in line with the new student structures.
- Expand preferential voting (AV) in single seat elections and STV in voting sections with 2 or more seats, across party structures.
- A commitment to ensure all CLPs without a Labour MP have a proper selection process to choose their parliamentary candidate in the next elections.
- Repeal new rules which give NEC and the regional executive committee control of longlisting, and put it back in the hands of local parties.
- Encourage the creation of local equalities branches and empower these to be able to make nominations.
- The continued roll out of all-women shortlists.
- Making sure sexual harassment and gender discrimination is dealt with, with a complaints system which those reporting such instances can have faith in.
- Efforts to increase representation of people of colour within positions of power in Labour, both amongst staff and elected officials, including regular diversity reports and targets.
- Implementation all-BAME shortlists where possible to increase representation in parliament and other levels of public office.
- A robust action plan to make this Party a safe space for all ethnic minorities, formed in consultation with mainstream community stakeholders.
- Adopt a formal definition of ‘transphobia’ in consultation with trans rights groups and stakeholders.
- Ensure all party events are in accessible venues.