After the success of Labour’s 2017 manifesto, which answered so many of the concerns we have locally, activists have been waiting with excitement for our new 2019 manifesto. Every day we see the painful effects of cuts in local government finances, in our schools and in our NHS and we know that Canterbury, Whitstable and the villages are desperate for real change.
So here it is, Labour’s 2019 election manifesto is here (click on the link below). In the final weeks and days leading up to the General Election, our experts will be sharing opinion pieces in our new Canterbury Campaign Blog about how this manifesto will transform the lives of local people.
Here are some of the Manifesto highlights that will bring Real Change to our area –
Labour will kick start a Green Industrial Revolution
Back in July, when our Labour Councillors led Canterbury City Council to declare a Climate Emergency and aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, it was the beginning of necessary change. But it’s a huge task and needs a Labour government to kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution to by shifting to renewable energy, investing in electric rail and cars, and making housing energy-efficient, to reduce fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.
Well paid and secure local jobs are few and far between, so we welcome the promised creation of a million climate jobs and 320,000 climate apprenticeships across the UK. Secure, skilled jobs that will bring prosperity back to parts of our country neglected for too long.
Labour will tackle Poverty and Inequality
Local people’s lives are blighted by atrocious rail and shoddy privatised services. We welcome the Labour government’s pledge to bring rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership to end the great privatisation rip-off, improve these essential services and save all of us money on fares and bills.
Many people locally are freelance or have small businesses which depend on our piecemeal broadband. At the same time, people of all ages are more and more excluded from public services, learning and work opportunities by the cost of broadband that they can ill afford. They will welcome a Labour government which will deliver full-fibre broadband free to everybody in every home in our country by creating a new public service, boosting the economy, connecting communities and putting money back in people’s pockets.
Local jobs in Canterbury do not pay people enough to afford a local private sector rental or a mortgage. Labour will bring in a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers – with equal rights at work from day one on the job. We will end insecurity and exploitation by ending zero-hours contracts and strengthening Trade Union rights.
For the many who need them, Labour in government will build a million social dwellings in ten years, ending the homelessness and inadequate housing our residents have put up with for far too long. Private renters will at last have decent tenancies and housing standards.
The Tory system for social security has caused untold hardship locally. A Labour government will scrap Universal Credit, immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect. Labour’s ambition in designing this system will be to end poverty by guaranteeing a minimum standard of living.
Labour will Re-build our Public Services
For our local disabled people, Labour will stop the de-humanising Work Capability and PIP Assessments, which repeatedly and falsely find ill or disabled people fit to work. Labour will make sure all assessments are done in-house, not farmed out to private companies with no medical expertise or compassion for those who are suffering. Amongst other beneficial changes, Labour in government will increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
Our schools and colleges are suffering from cuts in teacher numbers and resources. They need a Labour government which will create a National Education Service to provide support and opportunity throughout our lives: from Sure Start centres to top-quality early years education; well-funded schools with lower class sizes to free University tuition with no fees. Labour will establish free lifelong learning, giving all of us the chance to re-skill throughout our lives.
Our local NHS campaigners have worked tirelessly to stop the loss of acute services from our valued local hospitals. With all of us living with the reality of creeping privatisation, we know only a Labour government will give the NHS the funding it needs, end contracts to private providers, and never let our health service be up for grabs in any trade negotiation. Labour will expand our NHS to offer free prescriptions for all and free basic dentistry, building on the founding principles that make our NHS so unique and precious.
Our ageing local population face a precarious future as cuts badly affect their friends and relatives. We welcome Labour’s promise to end the social care crisis that has left 1.5 million elderly people without the care they need. Labour will fund free personal care for older people and extra care packages.
With the real absence of any police presence in Whitstable and the villages, we share Jeremy Corbyn’s fears about the rise in crime – and the fact that the most serious violent crime has risen even further. Labour will reverse a decade of cuts to police and vital public services that have shown you simply can’t keep people safe on the cheap.
Labour will lead on a New Internationalism
Canterbury is a truly international area, where people from all parts of the world live, work and raise families together. We yearn for a more peaceful world and a Labour government which will protect our security at home and abroad. After years of failed foreign interventions and wars, Labour will end the ‘bomb first, talk later’ approach and instead have a foreign policy based on peace, justice and human rights.
Labour will give the country a Final Say on Brexit
Like the rest of the UK, in Canterbury, Whitstable and the villages we feel the division in our country and want a resolution to the crisis created by the Brexit referendum. Only a Labour government will bring the country together and get Brexit sorted in six months by giving people the final say – with a choice between a sensible leave deal or remain. Labour will implement whatever the British people decide.