As Britain’s political parties start launching their manifestos, we take a top-line look at what it would mean for families, should that party gain overall control of Parliament and stick to their election pledges.
Gordon Brown unveiled The Labour Party Manifesto 2010. What does it mean for families?
Many financial initiatives that the Labour Party want to implement will have profound effects on individuals and the families they make up.
- 200,000 jobs through the Future Jobs Fund, with a job or training place for young people who are out of work for six months; anyone unemployed for more than two years guaranteed work; no option of life on benefits.
- National Minimum Wage rising at least in line with average earnings; £40-a-week Better Off in Work guarantee.
- More advanced apprenticeships and Skills Accounts for workers to upgrade their skills.
- No stamp duty for first-time buyers on all house purchases below £250,000 for two years, paid for by a five per cent rate on homes worth more than £1 million.
- A People’s Bank at the Post Office; a Universal Service Obligation on banks to serve every community; a clampdown on interest rates for doorstep and payday loans.
“Better Off Under Labour”
Labour claims that families will be on average £1,450 per year better off in 2010-11 than in 1997.
“A family with one child and one person working full time will have a minimum income of £310 a week in October 2010 27 per cent higher in real terms than in 1999. Tax credits will be increased not cut.”
There are also pledges about keeping Council Tax increases to a minimum and implementing schemes to assist with energy bills.
We know from the pre-Election Budget that Labour plans to scrap stamp duty on first-time buyer property purchases below £250,000.
Additionally, Home Buy Direct scheme will continue to enable working people to rent an affordable home at below market rates while they build up an equity stake.
In education and schooling, Labour pledges:
- Spending increased on frontline Sure Start and free childcare, schools and 16-19 learning.
- An expansion of free nursery places for two year olds and 15 hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three and four year olds.
- Every pupil leaving primary school secure in the basics, with a 3Rs guarantee of one-to-one and small-group tuition for every child falling behind; and in secondary school, every pupil with a personal tutor and a choice of good qualifications.
- A choice of good schools in every area and, where parents are not satisfied, the power to bring in new school leadership teams, through mergers and take- overs, with up to 1,000 secondary schools part of an accredited schools group by 2015.
- Every young person guaranteed education or training until 18, with 75 per cent going on to higher education, or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training, by the age of 30.
“Zero tolerance of poor behaviour”
“Home School Agreements” will make clear the responsibilities of families and pupils, with every parent agreeing to adhere to the school’s behaviour rules, and real consequences if they fail the live up to them.
Labour pledges to invest further in schemes that reach out to children and families on low incomes, with special educational needs or disabilities, or those children in care.
There is a commitment to reducing the teenage pregnancy rate through higher quality, compulsory sex and relationship education.
Labour’s Manifesto has a whole section on ‘family life’. Here are the main points:
- More help for parents to balance work and family life, with a ‘Father’s Month’ of flexible paid leave.
- A new Toddler Tax Credit of £4 a week from 2012 to give more support to all parents of young children – whether they want to stay at home or work.
Under Labour’s premise that “strong families are the bedrock of our society”, and there is a pledge to financially support any loving, committed couple who brings up children.
Labour pledges to support parents “who challenge aggressive or sexualised commercial marketing”.
The family justice system will be reformed in order to make it more child-focused and family-centred. “Parents who are clear their relationship has broken down and cannot be restored need more help to reach agreement about future arrangements early on in the process, for the benefit of their children.”
Parents will be able to share out maternity leave between themselves after a minimum of six months.
Labour remains committed to ending child poverty by 2020.
Naturally, many elements of governmental policies affect families both directly and indirectly. Here we have highlighted some of the major pledges. The full manifesto can be downloaded here.