Your chance to have your say on Labour policies
The majority of the population say that they are in favour of renationalising the railways. Yet the Tory-led government is determined to reprivatise the East Coast line despite it being really successful whilst in public ownership. What do you think? Contribute to the Party's discussion on transport policy here.
The majority of the population say that they are in favour of renationalising the railways. Yet the Tory-led government is determined to reprivatise the East Coast line despite it being...
One way councils are dealing with the draconian cuts imposed by the coalition government is to reduce the cost of outsourced care contracts. Councils are driving down the amount they are willing to pay to below the level at which contractors can afford to pay their care workers the minimum wage. The head of the Low Pay Commission has warned that rising numbers of care firms have to break the law by employing workers at below the minimum wage. Care firms are using zero-hors contracts, refusing to pay for travel time between care visits and only paying for time actually spent with clients in an attempt to cope with the low rates offered by councils.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has identified 120 care providers – almost equivalent to one in every English local authority area – for investigation into possible breaches of minimum wage rules. The idea of only letting public sector contracts to firms paying the minimum, or indeed the living, wage is a good one, but it must be backed up with legislation that stops employers from being able to pay lip service to the minimum wage whilst enforcing terms and conditions that reduce effective pay to below minimum pay levels.
In an article on LabourList, Stephen Cavalier suggest how Labour should amend the law to address three of the main impacts of zero hours working, that would go some way towards stopping the exploitation of care workers. He suggests that:
Exclusivity clauses require the worker to be available for work and prohibited from working for another employer. These restrictive covenants stop the worker from working. Courts take a tough line on this and will reject a clause which is unreasonable and not justified. A clause which requires a worker to be available at all times and which prevents them working for anyone else, without any guarantee of work or pay, should be outlawed.
Work in the National Minimum Wage Regulations is not just time when a worker is working. It also covers “time when a worker is available at or near a place of work for the purpose of doing time work and is required to be available for work”, except where the worker can be at home. This should be extended to include time when the worker is required to be available for work and is prohibited by the contract from working for another employer. This would have the effect of those periods being included in the calculation of the minimum wage. In practice this would mean that the employer would limit those periods when the worker is “on call” (similar to arrangements in the health service).
Establish a requirement, as with fixed term contract and temporary and agency legislation, to issue a contract for defined hours after a certain period of work. Every contract must include “any conditions relating to hours of work (including any terms relating to normal working hours)”. This should be strengthened to require a minimum number of hours of work and a maximum number of hours when additionally required to be available for work.
One way councils are dealing with the draconian cuts imposed by the coalition government is to reduce the cost of outsourced care contracts. Councils are driving down the amount they...
ü Abolish the bedroom tax because it’s unjust
ü Repeal the Health and Social Care Act and reverse the privatisation of the NHS – integrate physical health, mental health and social care
ü Freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017 and reorganise the energy market to help families, pensioners and businesses
ü Cut taxes for 24 million working people by introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax
ü Make work pay by expanding free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds to 25 hours a week for working parents
ü Build 200,000 homes a year by 2020 including new towns and action against land banking – use it or lose it
ü Get young people and the long-term unemployed back to work with a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee - a paid job they will have to take up or lose benefits
ü Vote for 16-17 year olds
ü End the abuse of zero hours contracts and strengthen the minimum wage. Increase fines for employers who deliberately break minimum wage laws from £5,000 to a maximum of £50,000
ü Back small businesses by cutting business rates in 2015 and freezing them again in 2016
ü Require large companies to train a new apprentice for each skilled worker they hire from outside the EU; creating up to 125,000 high quality apprenticeships over the next parliament
ü Primary schools would be forced by law to look after pupils from 08:00 until 18:00 to help working parents – but no other announcements about education policy
ü No increases in borrowing for day to day expenditure but Labour will make different choices
ü Introduce a mansion tax for properties worth over £2 million
ü An increased levy on banks
- Ø No blank cheque for HS2
- Ø Consultation regarding membership and relationship with the TUs started
- Ø Submit all plans to the Office for Budget Responsibility for an affordability audit
û Conference called for a pledge to renationalise the Royal Mail, but this was rejected by the leadership
- Ø We’re Britain - we can do better than this
ü Abolish the bedroom tax because it’s unjust ü Repeal the Health and Social Care Act and reverse the privatisation of the NHS – integrate physical health, mental health and...
Labour launch ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy’ consultation
Today Labour are launching ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy for Labour’, a new consultation as part of Labour’s Policy Review.
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said:
“We have come a long way since Labour introduced the Race Relations Act in 1968, but under this Government progress has stalled.
“It is unacceptable that as a non-white person today, you are twice as likely to be unemployed as the national average in the UK, and educational attainment is still linked to ethnic background.
“On so many fronts this Government is failing our BAME communities. We should be supporting entrepreneurship opportunities for ethnic minority businesses and helping the police to increase recruitment from minority communities.
“This is why Labour is today launching the ‘Realising One Nation’ consultation. We need a new race equalities strategy to address all these challenges and support stronger community cohesion.”
The outcomes of the consultation on developing a new race equality strategy will feed into the Shadow Cabinet’s work on equalities policy and to Labour’s Politics Policy Commission.
Responses to the consultation can be submitted via Your Britain, Labour’s online home of policy development, at yourbritain.org.uk. The document and submission form can be found in the Policy Review section of the website here.
Labour launch ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy’ consultation Today Labour are launching ‘Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy for Labour’, a new consultation...
Labour Tackles Cost of Living Labour announces policies to tackle the cost of living crisis. Click on 'Cost of Living' to see the full article and then click on the...