Which policy motions are being backed by groups for Labour conference 2022?

Katie Neame

Motions are currently being submitted for Labour’s conference. The annual gathering will take place in Liverpool between September 25th and 28th.

Each Constituency Labour Party (CLP), affiliated trade union and socialist society can make one submission to the conference – either a policy motion or a constitutional amendment. The deadline for constitutional amendments, also known as rule changes, has passed but the deadline for motions is September 15th at 5pm.

The party told CLPs on Monday that their executive committees are allowed to agree and submit conference motions via email during the period of national mourning, following the Queen’s death and the suspension of meetings.

Below is a summary of the model motions being put forward by Labour to Win (the umbrella group comprising Labour First and Progressive Britain), Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, as well as the motions being backed by other groups including Open Labour, Labour Campaign for International Development and the Labour Campaign for Council Housing.

Labour to Win

Labour to Win has circulated six model motions that it is encouraging CLPs to submit to conference this year.

1. Ukraine and NATO 

The motion would see conference note that the invasion of Ukraine was an “unprovoked and unjustifiable outrage solely of Putin’s making”. It calls for Labour to continue to stand with its NATO allies by providing assistance to the Ukrainian people and to develop a long-term strategy on energy, economics and politics to “tackle Putin and dictators around the world”. It would also commit Labour to developing a strategy to ensure British forces are equipped to keep Britain and its allies safe and to supporting International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations into potential war crimes committed by Russian forces.

2. International development

This motion would mean conference stating its belief that the decision to merge the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has put at risk the “ability to spend every pound of British aid effectively to tackle extreme poverty and the climate crisis”.

It calls on Labour to seek to return to spending 0.7% of gross national income on official development assistance and commit to restoring British development expertise in government. It calls on the party to make the case for long-term development work to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and insecurity and to support the continued retention of the Commons international development committee and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

3. Human Rights Act

The motion states that the Conservative government has “relentlessly attacked” the Human Rights Act. It would commit Labour to defend the Act, as well as Britain’s continued membership of the European Convention on Human Rights.

4. NHS

This motion would see conference note that Conservative “underfunding, neglect and mismanagement” has left the NHS with waiting lists at the highest on record and that those needing mental health support have been particularly let down. The motion adds that Labour created the NHS and should be its “primary defender” and reject any plan to increase privatisation in the healthcare system.

It calls on Labour to build and maintain an NHS “fit for the future” by providing the staff, equipment and modern technology needed to treat patients on time. It also seeks to commit the party to guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it and placing specialist mental health support in every school.

5. Tax justice

The motion states that the Conservatives have chosen to impose “punishing” tax rises on working people during the cost-of-living crisis and that the UK’s “lax” regulatory and enforcement regime “allows billions in tax evasion and billions to be stashed offshore in tax havens via opaque legal vehicles”.

It would commit Labour to cracking down on tax evasion and closing loopholes through which people are able to reduce their tax burden. It calls on Labour to back a strengthened economic crime bill, reform the tax system to make it fairer for people with earned rather than unearned income and support international efforts to ensure multinational companies and tech giants pay their fair share.

6. Industrial strategy 

The motion would see conference note that the climate crisis and emerging technological trends will “necessitate structural economic shifts” and that the Conservatives remain “wedded to an outdated economic ideology” and have no strategy to capitalise on these trends or ensure they do not widen economic inequalities.

The motion would see conference state its belief that the UK needs an “active industrial strategy” if it is to achieve net zero, create good jobs in every part of the country and take advantage of new technologies. It would commit Labour to supporting an industrial strategy led by an active state in partnership with trade unions, business and other stakeholders. It calls on the party to tackle the “rampant short-termism” in the British economy, ensure jobs are not offshored and that the drive to net-zero creates good jobs in the UK and develop a plan for the everyday economy and foundational sectors where the majority of people work.

Momentum

Momentum members voted on 20 motions proposed by local Momentum groups, affiliates and campaign organisations in its second annual policy primary earlier this year. Members selected five motions for the left-wing organisation to support at conference:

  • For public ownership of energy
  • Two linked crises: the cost-of-living crisis and the climate crisis
  • Advancing workers’ agenda by repealing all anti-trade union laws
  • Proportional representation
  • Labour for a Green New Deal

Momentum’s national coordinating group (NCG) has subsequently added a further two motions with the aim of ensuring the platform “represents the full range of critical issues that Momentum believes the Labour Party should be focusing on”:

  • Build a welcoming Britain: towards an internationalist, socialist immigration policy
  • Policing and the right to protest

1. For public ownership of energy

The motion, submitted by local Momentum branches in Bristol, Stevenage and Southampton, calls for Labour to campaign for and implement full public ownership of the energy industry, including the National Grid and regional distribution. It seeks to commit the party to a permanent windfall tax on oil and gas companies like Shell and BP at a 56% rate (on top of corporation tax), using the revenue generated to expand publicly-owned renewables and cease subsidising energy supply companies.

2. Two linked crises: the cost-of-living crisis and the climate crisis

This motion, submitted by Momentum Norfolk, would commit Labour to campaign for: immediately placing energy, water and public transport into public ownership; a minimum wage of £15 per hour; an end to zero-hour contracts; repeal of all anti-trade union legislation; investment in green energy and retrofitting homes; creating millions of well-paid, unionised green jobs within publicly-owned entities; and control of domestic rent to 30% of local income.

3. Advancing workers’ agenda by repealing all anti-trade union laws

The third motion, proposed jointly by Momentum North Essex and the FBU, calls for Labour to commit to always supporting striking workers and to repealing all anti-union laws and replacing them with a code of labour rights using the proposals set out in Labour’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos. This commitment includes repealing anti-strike laws, such as the ban on striking in solidarity with other workers or political issues and preventing workers from taking action directly over climate change, the NHS and equalities. The motion also demands Labour actively enforces trade union membership among all party members.

4. Proportional representation

This motion, submitted by Labour for a New Democracy, demands that Labour make a commitment to introduce proportional representation for general elections in the next manifesto, that the next Labour government change the voting system for
general elections to a form of PR during its first term in office and that Labour convene an open and inclusive process to decide the specific voting system which it will commit to introducing. (This motion is also supported by Open Labour.)

5. Labour for a Green New Deal

The final motion voted for by members was proposed by Labour for a Green New Deal. It seeks to commit the party to supporting a state-coordinated industrial strategy for a rapid, just energy transition, introducing democratic public ownership models across the economy, led by national public ownership of key sectors and the promotion of public-municipal enterprises, worker-ownership and democratic control of firms, including buses, retrofitting and construction.

The motion also calls for Labour to commit to: the devolution of powers to regions, municipalities and nations to finance and create new public companies; democratic accountability, including through the participation of users, workers, trade unions and communities in the management of publicly-owned industry; workers’ full participation in transition planning; the creation of a government body supporting the expansion of cooperative and community ownership of land and everyday production and services; and using the procurement powers of an expanded public sector to promote justice and decarbonisation in global supply chains.

6. Build a welcoming Britain: towards an internationalist, socialist immigration policy

The first of the two motions added by Momentum’s NCG would commit Labour in government and opposition to: repeal the nationality and borders bill and all anti-migrant legislation; secure an immigration system “based on dignity” not numerical caps, minimum income, wealth requirements or utility to employers; allow asylum seekers to work immediately upon arrival; guarantee safe, legal routes for asylum seekers, day-one rights to education and social security and expand family reunion rights; and abolish “no recourse to public funds”, NHS access restrictions and all hostile environment policies.

The motion calls on Labour to commit to: introducing a simple process for all UK residents to gain permanent residency; introducing equal voting rights for all UK residents; replacing settled status with an automatic right to stay; closing all detention centres; ending all immigration raids, detention and deportations; supporting workers refusing to implement deportations, hostile environment measures and pushbacks; improving domestic workers’ rights to equal other workers; and re-entering Europe’s free movement area and pursuing free movement agreements with other countries, including in all future trade deals. (A similar motion has been put forward by Labour Campaign for Free Movement.)

7. Policing and the right to protest

The second motion selected by the NCG would commit Labour to campaign for and implement moves to tackle police violence and abuse, including replacing the so-called Independent Office for Police Conduct with a more independent and democratic body. The motion demands that Labour advocate full accountability of police to elected local authorities and implement curbs to police powers, including in terms of the use of force, stop and search and presence in schools, as well as general demilitarisation and disarming.

The motion also calls on the party to commit to addressing drug-related problems through public-health policies rather than criminalisation, to provide services so that mental-health crises are dealt with by trained civilian workers, not police and reduce the use of prisons and short-term sentences.

Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

Left-wing group Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) has put forward 16 model motions that it is encouraging local parties to submit to conference.

1. Cost-of-living crisis

This motion would see conference note a report from the TUC, which found that UK workers are set to experience the most severe “wage squeeze” among G7 countries over the next two years and that more than 93% of food banks surveyed in May 2022 reported an increase in demand since the start of the year.

It calls on conference to back the TUC’s call for a significant increase in the national minimum wage, a strengthening of collective bargaining rights to boost pay across the economy, a real-terms pay rise for public sector workers and an increase in Universal Credit to 80% of the real living wage. It would commit the party to supporting the trade union movement in its efforts to get pay rises for its members and welcome the support Labour MPs have given to the trade union movement, including by visiting and speaking at union picket lines.

2. Right to protest

The motion states that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act introduces “drastic new restrictions on the right to protest” and that penalties for breaching the new rules have been made more severe than before. The motion would see conference recognise that many current rights have only been won through protest. It seeks to commit the party to repealing the Act and introducing legislation setting out the right to protest as an essential part of a democratic society.

3. Tackling climate breakdown

This motion highlights the “terrible impacts of climate breakdown” and Conservative “backsliding” on climate targets. It notes that tackling the climate crisis could also help address the cost-of-living crisis. The motion calls on the party to campaign for the TUC’s affordable energy plan, which proposes to bring the big five energy retail companies into public ownership, and for a windfall tax on banks to pay for free public transport. It would commit Labour to campaigning for a reversal of planning restrictions on onshore wind, a tax of 56% on North Sea oil and gas producers pending public ownership and a planned transition for workers in that sector to comparable jobs in renewable energy.

4. Tory ‘hard Brexit’ has intensified the cost-of-living crisis

The motion states that the “negative economic consequences” of the Tories’ ‘hard Brexit’ are “significant contributors” to the cost-of-living crisis and that labour shortages are “compounded by the xenophobia released by the referendum and the Tory’s ‘hostile environment’”.

The motion would see conference state its belief that it was a “mistake” for Keir Starmer to whip Labour MPs to vote in favour of the Brexit deal and that Britain needs to significantly reduce the trade frictions it has imposed on its imports from the EU to start reversing the damage inflicted by the deal. The motion would see Labour commit to calling for a closer relationship with the EU, seeking to rejoin Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ and repealing the hostile environment.

5. Defend trade union rights

The motion states that conference is “alarmed” at the proposals put forward by those in the Conservative Party leadership that threaten trade union and worker rights in Britain. It calls on conference to demand an ongoing commitment to the proposals set out in the green paper, new deal for working people, and an agreement that the green paper is just a first step towards a major reform of labour law in Britain. It would also call on the party leadership to move beyond supporting a right to strike as an “abstract idea” and give physical and political support to striking workers.

6. Public ownership of utilities

This motion would see conference note that Labour’s 2021 conference voted to support public ownership of energy, that one of Starmer’s ten leadership pledges was common ownership of energy and water and that public ownership of energy and water is popular according to polling. It would commit the party to making public ownership of energy and water a priority of an incoming Labour government.

7. Public ownership of Royal Mail

The motion states that Royal Mail has been repeatedly fined by Ofcom for failures in quality of service and that privatisation has meant “worsening conditions” for the Royal Mail workforce. It notes that re-nationalisation is favoured by 69% of the public, that Labour’s 2021 conference voted to bring Royal Mail back into public ownership and that one of Starmer’s ten leadership pledges was common ownership of mail services. The motion calls on Labour to make re-nationalisation of Royal Mail a manifesto commitment for the next general election and a priority for the next Labour government.

8. Greater protection now for disabled people from Covid-19

The motion notes that, during 2020, 60% of people who died due to Covid were disabled and that mortality rates due to the pandemic continue to be higher for disabled people than the rest of the population. It commits Labour to “continuously” campaign for more resources to help reduce the pandemic’s ongoing impact on disabled people.

It also calls on the party to monitor the official Covid inquiry and ensure that it hears evidence directly from disabled people, investigates how the needs of disabled people were considered when government policy decisions were made and determines the funding required for disability organisations to build capacity and resilience for future pandemics, as well as ensuring that disabled people are explicitly identified as a priority group in the inquiry’s terms of reference and that the inquiry is transparent.

9. A new official measure of inflation for uprating benefits

This motion would see conference back an urgent review of the scope and methods used in calculating current official measures of inflation. It would commit the party to campaigning for: an alternative official inflation measure based on spending patterns for households on low incomes or receiving benefits; a ‘double lock’ or safety-net approach to uprate benefits using the higher of inflation rates; and a procedure to uprate benefits and pensions more frequently when inflation exceeds a specified rate.

10. Improvements in the ways claims for disability benefits are assessed

The motion notes that the government is likely to publish a white paper on disability benefits later this year. It commits Labour to campaign for a “fundamental” reform of the disability assessment process, including: measures to ensure that healthcare professionals assessing entitlement to benefits are allocated to cases according to their knowledge of the specific disability or illness which the benefit claimant suffers from; informal observations about a claimant’s condition must be put to claimants, especially if the claimant decides to appeal against the assessment; and reversing recent decisions to reduce the eligibility for receiving benefits.

11. Ofgem must protect consumers, not the interests of energy companies

This motion states: “Instead of acting as a regulator and protecting the interests of consumers, Ofgem are effectively siding with the energy companies who offer no real plan on how to bring down or restrict energy prices from rising.” The motion calls on conference to demand that Ofgem name and shame the energy companies making excessive profits and negotiate reduced prices, as well as penalising companies who employ “unscrupulous” debt collecting agents to extort payments or use scare tactics and outdated information. It commits conference to call on Ofgem to reduce the standing charge and compel energy companies to reintroduce a social tariff for low-income households.

12. Better support for unpaid carers

This motion would commit conference to campaign to ensure national health institutes, local health authorities and social care organisations provide “effective and comprehensive support” to unpaid carers. It also calls for conference to ensure carers are recognised as “partners” in the care of the person they are supporting, not as a “cheap alternative to the social care system”. The motion adds that financial support given to carers needs to be included in the review.

13. Building a successful economy

The motion would see conference recognise the “damage inflicted by over four decades of neo-liberal market economics”. It commits conference to calling for an incoming Labour government to “re-establish an interventionist role in the national economy to the benefit of working people and their families”.

It states that this role should involve: the re-creation of a “substantial and democratically accountable” public sector; the insourcing of services across the whole range of national and local government activities and the NHS; the establishment of a national investment bank and statutory measures of regional industrial aid; the rebuilding of a strong manufacturing sector; the management of exchange rates and interest rates appropriate to the country’s economic needs; and the reimposition of exchange controls and controls on capital movements across the country’s borders.

14. Renationalise rail 

The motion highlights that Labour’s 2021 conference voted to support public ownership of the railways, that one of Starmer’s ten leadership pledges was common ownership of rail and that public ownership of rail is popular, with 64% of voters supporting it. It also notes that Labour has a detailed plan for public ownership of rail, published in March 2020. The motion calls on conference to reaffirm its commitment to public ownership of rail as a priority for an incoming Labour government.

15. Addressing the Forde report

The motion states that the Forde report made a number of observations and recommendations that “recent changes to the party’s processes do not address to any great extent” and that it is “undoubtedly still the case” that, as the report concluded, “there are serious problems of discrimination in the operations of the party”.

The motion would see conference state its belief that a “sexist and racist culture” has become embedded in party HQ and that this culture “seriously damages Labour’s ability to achieve its objectives as well as its reputation with voters”. It calls on conference to demand that the NEC and party leadership acknowledge the issues raised in the Forde report and implement a plan of action to root out racism, sexism and misogyny, working with the elected women’s committee and ensuring that committees for BAME and disabled members are elected as a “matter of urgency”.

16. Labour should oppose the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

This motion – a suggested draft from Arise: Festival of Left Ideas volunteers – would see conference resolve that Labour should “clearly oppose” the Tory policy of forcibly sending asylum seekers to Rwanda in its entirety as part of campaigning for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ and against racist anti-immigrant narratives, including a commitment that the next Labour government will immediately cancel the Rwanda asylum scheme. The motion also commits conference to oppose ‘no recourse to public funds’, NHS access restrictions and other ‘hostile environment’ policies.

Open Labour

‘Soft-left’ group Open Labour is backing Labour for a New Democracy’s motion, which would commit Labour to introducing proportional representation for general elections in the party’s next manifesto. This motion is also being backed by Momentum and has been summarised in more detail above.

Labour Campaign for International Development

Labour Campaign for International Development (LCID) has drafted one motion that it is encouraging its supporters to table through their CLPs. The motion would see conference resolve that Labour should commit to restoring an independent department responsible for international development and to the restoration of the aid budget to 0.7% of gross national income. It also calls on Labour to ensure that all aid and development spending “works for the most marginalised communities around the world”.

Labour Campaign for Council Housing

The Labour Campaign for Council Housing’s motion would see conference agree that Labour must challenge the government’s failure on the housing crisis and “urgently demand a long-term housing strategy backed by appropriate levels of government funding”, to include fully funding 150,000 social rent homes a year, fully funding the retrofitting of all council housing to address fuel poverty and ending the Right-to-Buy policy.

Labour & Palestine

Labour & Palestine has drafted one motion for local parties to consider submitting to conference, which is jointly sponsored by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The motion would commit Labour to: supporting the application made to the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling for an investigation into the Israeli government’s targeting of journalists; standing in solidarity with all human rights defenders; adhering to an “ethical policy” on all UK trade with Israel; and opposing any UK legislation aimed at preventing “legitimate and democratic solidarity actions” in support of the Palestinian people.

Ukraine Solidarity Campaign

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign’s motion would see conference resolve to declare solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their labour movement. It would commit Labour to campaign for a free united Ukraine, the increased military aid necessary to liberate Ukraine, justice for victims of war crimes, lifting of restrictions on refugees fleeing Ukraine and cancellation of Ukraine’s debt. It also calls on Labour to support Ukrainian and global trade union opposition to attacks on workers’ rights in the country, promote Ukrainian union fundraising appeals and call a national day of action, Labour Supports Ukraine.

Everything Labour.
Every weekday morning.

By clicking ‘subscribe’ you confirm you have read and agree to our privacy policy

More from LabourList

Donate to fund our journalism

or

Subscribe to our Daily Email