The Labour Party's 2020 Election Manifesto is out, and it promises a comprehensive reworking of the British state to benefit the vast majority of Britons, not the tiny minority who have waxed ever-richer through decades of neoliberalism and ten years of cruel Tory austerity.
The manifesto's pledges include:
* Scapping the Department of Work and Pensions and replacing it with a Department for Social Security, charged with a mission to "support people, not punish and police them." The new Department would scrap the "Work Capability and PIP Assessments, which repeatedly and falsely find ill or disabled people fit to work" as well as the practice of witholding benefits to sanction poor people who fail to comply with bureaucratic requirements. Labour will end the bedroom tax, lift the benefit cap and end the two-child limit.
* Support for parents of children with disabilities will be improved: disability benefits will be made level with the child tax credit, and the Carer's Allowance will be the same as the Jobseeker's Allowance
* Labour will ban zero-hours contracts and institute a minimum wage of £10/h. Firms will not be able to class their workers as independent contractors to evade these requirements, though the genuinely self-employed will still be able to enter into contractor relationships with their customers.
* Workers whose shifts are canceled at the last minute will be entitled to compensation; they will also be guaranteed breaks during their shifts.
* Labour will ban union-busting, scrap anti-union laws, and ensure that all workers have the right to join a union and participate in collective bargaining.
* Labour will build 100,000 public housing units, with many rented at a simple formula based on income that will be available to all people, not just poor people in need of subsidised housing; thus a large fraction of British housing provision will be removed from the market, shifting power from speculators to residents.
* Developers who do not build on land they own will face "use it or lose it" rules.
* Labour will end right-to-buy, ensuring public housing stocks are not drawn down through privatisation.
* Rent rises in the commercial rental sector will be capped at the rate of inflation, and the British state will subsidise renters' unions that defend tenants who are unfairly evicted.
* Landlords will be barred from excluding tenants based on immigration status or whether they are receiving benefits.
* 8,000 new homes will be built specifically for people with a history of rough sleeping.
* Councils will receive an additional £1b/year to help alleviate homelessness.
* Home care will be free for anyone over 65.
* The WASPI women will be fairly compensated.
* Labour will end the privatisation of the NHS and increase NHS funding by 4.3% annually. Prescriptions and dental care will be free, and the NHS will hire an additional 4,500 health visitors and school nurses, and receive and extra £1.6b for mental health care.
* Not really. Though the UK is a sovereign currency issuer that can never default on its debts, Labour promises to close tax loopholes exploited by the super-rich and multinational corporations to increase the amount of tax the state brings in by £100b.
Also in the manifesto: new standards for animal welfare and nature restoration, green transport, and a just transition to carbon-free energy.
There's a second Brexit referendum, community policing and cybersecurity, restorative justice and renewed Legal Aid funding, free nationwide broadband, additional funding for arts in schools, full funding for the BBC and other public service media, and a seat at the table for football supporters' trusts in the management of leagues and teams.
I am a member of the Labour Party and a donor to this electoral campaign. I am also a member of, and donor to, Momentum.
The misery stunting the lives of so many millions in this country is not inevitable. Britain has extraordinary wealth, built by the work of the vast majority but hoarded in the fortunes of the very few. It has not always been such an unequal country. Elite CEOs are today paid 130 times as much as their average workers. In the 1980s, it was between thirteen and forty-four times. No amount of individual genius can ever justify such inequity, especially in a society with so much poverty.
The Labour Party's Manifesto Is Lifting the Floor for Everyone [Ronan Burtenshaw/Jacobin]