Labour unveils its five flagship policy pledges

Saturday, March 14, 2015

 

Today Ed Miliband has revealed the key policies that his party will promise the British electorate should Labour be elected in May.  Among them are raising living standards, dealing with the NHS crisis and, crucially for young people, raising aspirations for the youngest generation.

Here are the five policies:

 

“A Strong Economic Foundation”

 

Miliband may have forgotten to mention the deficit in his conference speech in last autumn, but it takes precedence here. Labour will “balance the books and cut the deficit every year”, stressing that “none of [Labour’s] manifesto policies require additional borrowing”.

 

“Higher Living Standards for Working Families”

 

Over the past five years, Labour’s regular criticism of the coalition is that the cost of economic recovery is hitting “hardworking families”. With this pledge, they plan to act on it.  Labour will “freeze energy bills until 2017”, “ban exploitative zero hours contracts”, “raise the minimum wage to £8” and “provide 25 hours [of] free childcare”.

 

“An NHS With Time To Care”

 

One of the issues where Labour is more trusted than the competition is on the NHS. It is therefore no surprise that Miliband will make dealing with the ongoing problems one of his priorities. Labour will fund “20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs”, “join up services from home to hospital” and “guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week”.

 

“Controls on Immigration”

 

Prompted by the rise of UKIP, party leaders like Miliband have struggled to gauge the public feeling on immigration. Therefore his plan to tackle it comes at a risk of losing support from the right and left of the party. Labour will make it illegal for new immigrants “to claim benefits for at least two years” and “introduce fairer rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers”.

 

“A Country Where the Next Generation Can Do Better Than the Last”

 

In a policy aimed at attracting support from young people, Miliband wants to raise aspiration and achievement within the youngest generation.  Labour will “reduce tuition fees to £6,000”, “guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades” and “ensure smaller class sizes for five, six and seven year olds”.

 

Critics will call the aims vague and populist, without any detail on where funding for these policies will come from.  Others may argue that Labour should be aiming higher than this.

However, just two days ago Miliband told BBC Three's Free Speech “I want to be the first Prime Minister to under-promise and over-deliver”.

These policies will give him the room to do that.

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