Why the Tories arenâ€™t ready to govern and Labour is The manifestoâ€™s an analysis and comparison. Comparison of economic, health and education policy.
Introduction The election is in full swing and we have now seen the manifesto’s of the majority of the parties contesting this election. A manifesto is a parties plan for Britain and the conservative one is lacking to say the least. It comes across as if the conservatives don’t care about devolution- there are some startling omissions from the manifesto to start with, most notably these include departments such as:
Scotland Wales Northern Ireland Work and Pensions Equality and Civil Liberties Democratic Reform Pensioners
If the conservative party were ready for government we would have seen a radical progamme for government on how they plan to fix what was once referred to a “broken Britain.” If we take each of these issues and compare labour and conservative policy it is clear to see that we do not know the conservative party’s plans for the aforementioned departments. Labour on the other hand have policies for every single department. Unfortunately we cannot compare the policies for said departments due to the conservatives lack of policy. This election cannot be won on PR. We want to argue about the big issues which are facing the people of Britain today. In short the labour manifesto is detailed and precise. We are ready for government and we will deliver on those promises. I would however, question, the point of having a secretary of state for the departments listed above is the conservatives don’t have a policy for them.
The economy The conservative party say that it is “labour’s debt” and how they’d cut the deficit. As is not surprising they want to declare war upon the public sector. The conservatives talk of eliminating the “bulk of the structural deficit” but it raises one big question- where are you going to cut? Labour on the other hand have always said that we wish to ensure that growth returns as we have outlined in our “New Start for Britain” The conservatives say that they will start by freezing public sector pay for the lowest paid, what this approach does not take into account is inflationary increases and what if inflation were to increase as inflation goes up so does the price of everything else. The conservative plans don’t stack up because people would end up losing money rather than gaining it- in short you will be worse off under a conservative government. Labour have not said that we will freeze public sector pay- it is important to keep people in work at times such as these. The chancellor has stated that “boosting demand is of vital importance.” By removing demand from the economy in cuts you weaken economic growth when securing growth must be central to any economic policy as the country emerges from the worst recession since the wall street crash. Furthermore, the tories continue by explaining that the want to reform the public sector and make it more “efficient,” These cut to the public sector will cost jobs and destroy the livelihoods of the many. Labour believe that it is important to keep people in work and get the country working again. The conservatives add further insult by saying that they will increase the statutory retirement age from 65 to 67. This is monstrously unfair and it is important that we ensure fairness for all despite these harsh economic times. We would not raise the retirement age. Vital Public services according to the Conservatives “must not become victim to cuts,” what their manifesto does say is this “we promise not to cut NHS funding, other than where savings can be made.” Now that’s a complete contradiction of monumental proportions. What they are effectively saying is this “we won’t shut down your hospital but we’ll shut down a ward.” Labour on the other hand has promised that we will increase health spending with inflation. This is realistic and does not put the NHS at risk from cuts. What the conservatives have not doe is detail where the axe will fall with regards to spending. This means your job may be on the line. Labour economic policies are fully costed and we have been honest with you with regards to spending and funding for our policies.
Document 1. 1
“New Start for Britain Labour's Common Sense Economics
Britain has under the past year been struck by an international recession on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. We have gone through difficult times, but now there is a chance to turn things around and deliver a Britain that is fairer, stronger and more prosperous than before. For this, we need common sense economics, economics that say we need jobs, not cuts, opportunity, not
austerity, hope, not doom-and-gloom. New Start for Britain repesents a forceful set of policies to catapult Britain back into growth and prepare this country for the future. James Nicholson Chancellor of the Exchequer
Boosting demand In order to gain the upper hand in our battle against unemployment, it is vital that demand is upheld and strengthened so that new jobs may be created. For this purpose, we propose a veriety of measures to stimulate consumption and lower the cost of living for the British people. 1. Cut the reduced rate of VAT to 0% The reduced rate of VAT applies to many products, most prominently domestic fuel, and represents a substantial burden on many households’ bills, and especially so for the elderly and poor. To ease their burden we want to scrap this tax altogether, giving strength to consumption and improved economic security for millions. Cost: £650 million
2. Reduce VAT on home maintenance and improvements from 17,5% to 8% The construction sector has been hit harder than most other trades in the financial crisis, and layoffs have been in their thousands. To reverse this decline and improve the poor condition of Britain’s housing we will cut VAT on home maintenance and improvements to 8% from the current rate of 17,5%. This will mean more, better living conditions, less tax evation, thousands of new jobs in the construction sector and much new badly-needed housing made available. Indeed, experience has shown this cut actually increases revenue as tax evasion drops and the shadow economy shrinks. Cost: £1,6bn
3. 10% increase in child benefit for middle and low income families In these harsh economic times many families are struggling with the cost of living, in particular families in with one or both parents in unemployment. Increasing child benefit for these families will not only boost personal spending and create jobs, but also help untold numbers of struggling families all across this country, and reduce child poverty. Cost: £780 million
2. Supporting small businesses and encouraging job growth The most productive, innovating and job-creating sector of the economy is the small business sector. They form the backbone of our national finances, thus providing by far the most jobs and innovation. In difficult times such as these however they are also much more exposed to economic perils, as many live on very tight financial margins. To see the return of growth and the creation of jobs, we need to support the small businesses and entrepreneurs as much as possible, without it blowing huge holes in the state coffers. 1. Growth capital fund Possibly the biggest problem of all for small and start-up businesses is the caution of banks in lending capital to allow expansion. In recessions, with the banks in crisis, this problem runs the risk of getting acute. So when private banks fail, the government should step in and provide the opportunity instead. We will set aside £750 million in loans to start-up businesses in selected areas where economic development is low, given to applying start-up companies. Cost: £750 million directly, although cost neutral in the longer run
3. Start-up grants Every start-up business should have the best opportunities to succeed and grow, however, in these troubled times, economic difficulties often discourage entrepreneurship, robbing the economy of jobs and growth. Providing a start-up grant for every new business is a way of ensuring that job growth is not held back. Cost: £4000 per business, £1bn for 250,000 new businesses
4. First employee NI break For a start-up business hiring a first employee is a risky and costly investment that under the present economic conditions could be perilous. This often puts small business owners off from employing. To encourage the creation of these new jobs and reduce the risk it means we propose a 50% rebate of the employer’s rate of National Insurance for the first employee hired for all small and start-up businesses. Cost: £300 million
5. Small business tax cut In the long term we must encourage small business investment and job growth, and reduce their tax rate. Rather than pouring money into tax breaks for already wealthy big corporations as the Conservatives would do we will reduce the small business tax rate from the current 21% to 17,5% over three years. Cost: £1,7bn
3. Improving infrastructure Updating and improving Britain's national infrastructure will create jobs and lay the foundations for future growth and prosperity. Embracing the digital revolution in society we must move forward with a modern and constructive approach to expand th broadband network and make our country more energy efficient.
1. Smart grids Smart grids mean turning the power grid from “dumb”, one-way wires to a responsive system that can monitor and manage demand. Since electricity is generated to service peak demand, this has significant environmental benefits as well as cost savings. Building the smart power grid will spur a host of new products and services from hybrid plug-in electric vehicles to smart appliances to more investment in renewable energy. Spurring new investment in smart grids, we conclude, would help to create or retain 231,000 jobs, of which more than 145,000 would be in small businesses. Cost: Phased-in investment of £625 million annually
2. Next-generation broadband Next-generation broadband, with the seamless transmission of data including two-way voice and video, means that new services can be traded online globally. That could mean that an individual with professional skills who has been laid off could start selling their services without upfront costs or delays, effectively creating a microbusiness. Or new business models could emerge within existing sectors, such as retail, just as we saw with the first wave of the internet. We calculate that this investment in broadband would help to create or retain 280,000 jobs, of which almost 100,000 would be in small businesses. Cost: Phased-in investment of £750 million annually
Intelligent transport systems (ITS) enable the country to get a second bite of efficiency and productivity out of its existing infrastructures for a fraction of their original cost. ITS would improve traffic flows through measures such as adaptive traffic signals and provide travellers with real-time traffic information. Investment here would help to create or retain 188,000 jobs, of which more than 120,000 would be in small businesses. Cost: Phased-in investment of ÂŁ500 million annually
Funding Commencing this full scheme is expected to cost approx. ÂŁ8,7bn. However, we do not intend to borrow the funds for this ambitious investment. We are a government that is fiscally responsible and that understands the need to keep the state budget in good shape. We therefore propose the following means of financing our plans: - A temporary surtax on the highest incomes - Increases in carbon tax, CGT, inheritance tax and stamp duty on stocks and shares - Increased excise on vehicles and cigarrettes and higher air passenger duty - Means test of the pension credit - Reduce our military presence in nations not under any military threat - Target our health campaigns more efficiently, reducing costs but improving effects - Strict control of public spending over the coming years, no additional costly projects approved - A four-year pay freeze for the highest paid in the public sector - Clampdown on tax evasion - No real-terms pay increases for public sector workers apart from the lowest paid - Abolition of the 10% dividend tax credit In conclusion, this is a fully financed plan that will stimulate the economy and create masses of new jobs that will not only make Britain more prosperous and give hundreds of thousands of people a renewed purpose in life, but also dramatically cut the deficit and the debt. It is the most responsible economic policy a government can do, and is truly common sense economics. â€œ
Education Education is of paramount importance for society as it prepares young people and children for the future. A key pledge by the conservatives is that the will abolish and replace SATs. Now, this system has proved to have worked otherwise we would not have the best examination results ever achieved by pupils. Why would that be changed- if it is not broke donâ€™t fix it! Furthermore, over the past 13 years we have achieved record levels of literacy and numeracy because of SATs and the hard work of parents and teachers. The conservatives continue by saying that they want to construct more grammar schools or do they Iâ€™m still waiting on a further clarification from the shadow education secretary. Grammar schools show elitism and not everyone can afford to attend such a school. Labour has always said that we would turn around education and we have as results prove. Labour would protect education from cuts because it is the right thing to do and not jeopardize the education of our nations children unlike the conservatives. Furthermore, grammar schools penalize those who are worse off, therefore such a policy would only benefit the minority and those who are well off and high up the social-economic scale. Education is about opportunity to gain new qualifications. SATS have proved successful but we need to ensure that our pupils are aptly prepared for later life and entering the job market. Labours plans to expand career, future direction and employment advice will provide students with the necessary support and guidance for entering the workplace or entering further education. It is a well known fact that many student are not sure where they wish to go with regards to what they want to do with their life and itâ€™s important that students are able to be supported to make the informed decisions about their future. The conservatives plan to freeze university places. This is nothing more than discrimination against those who are academically minded and it is clear to see that they want to punish the bright and academically gifted. We accept that not every child is capable of going to oxford or Cambridge, in fact few of the cabinet trained at the aforementioned universities. It is important that we do not freeze university places because by freezing them the tories are allowing many clever students to slip through the net and in times like these it is important that children are not put at risk in order to pay for the conservatives axe wielding frenzy of spending cuts.
Healthcare and the NHS Decument 1. 2
Building a Patient based NHS The Nations Health is of paramount importance even throughout these times of economic hardship it is vitally important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and protect the NHS from any cuts in expenditure. We will as a government spend prudently but Labour has always valued the NHS and the service it provides. Throughout the past 13years we have made the NHS fairer and ensured that it receives the best possible investment and that patients receive the best possible care. However, we still face many challenges in terms of health. Over the past 13 years we have made mistakes- we havenâ€™t always got anything right. I personally believe that the brown government placed too much importance on targets and numbers. At the end of the day a target is just a number. When I took the post as health secretary I vowed that weâ€™d re-connect with what really matters on the NHS- the patients. Patient care is of a good standard but we can make it better by 2015 I want to have the best health service in Europe. Aside from patients our country has many challenges with disease and obesity. In terms of jobs the NHS has become the biggest employer within the public sector and we will ensure that again the NHS continues to grow and to improve. The underlying ideal of every reform which we embark on will have two key things based on it: the patients and improving public health as a whole. Dr Ian Gallagher Secretary of State for health.
1. Refocusing on patients Improving the health of masses has always been important to any government. As we battle with economic difficulty it is important that we maintain a high standard of healthcare and make the NHS fairer for all by cutting waiting times even further and improving service to patients.
a- Weekend access to appointments with your GP At the moment you have to wait until a Monday to see your local doctor if you become unwell at the weekend. Hospitals provide top quality care 24/7 and we want to make sure that you can see your GP when you need them. So will set legally binding guarantees which will mean you can get an appointment with your GP at the weekend.
b- Your Record for your viewing Under the data protection act 1998 you have the right to see what information an organization holds on you. We feel that you should be able to read your own medical records which the NHS holds on you. This is an important step in forming a decision so that you and your doctor are both aware of your full medical history. We will pass a “hospital transparency act” which will make it your right to see what information the NHS holds on you and the right to see your record. Cost: £4mil c- Quicker test results and treatment time Over the past few years we made sure that you got your test results within two weeks but for cancer patients that is too long a timeframe therefore you will get your test results within ONE WEEK. Waiting lists have dropped from 18 months under the tories to roughly 18 weeks under labour. This shows signs of progress. However, we want to impose legally binding guarantees for a maximum wait of 18 weeks for treatment on the NHS or the option of going private. Cost: £234 mil (60,000 doctors and 60,000 nurses) 2- Reviewing and reforming Drink and drugs The NHS can be improved but we face many challenges in making treatments more effective. Therefore, over the next 5 years if elected a labour government will review nearly every aspect of health care. During tough times like these we cannot rapidly expand the NHS so we promise to protect the NHS from cuts and ensure that services are maintained . a-
We promise to raise health spending in line with inflation.
b- A war on drugs We have a national drug problem and we believe that we need to fully review drug classification. This review shall take into account those drugs deemed legal highs. The department of health shall work with the Home office with regards to sentencing. We shall also work with the Drugs Advisory council and the chief medical officer in order to ensure that we make sure that drugs are tackled effectively and those who deal drugs are brought to justice. c-
What’s the legal limit? Many people find the units system confusing and we want to review the legal limits for both men and women. We shall also review the units system to make it easier to understand. Furthermore, binge drinking among minors is a major concern. Therefore we shall impose a £300 fine on those who purchase alcohol for minors and for public houses or those who carry an alcohol vending license a fine of £1000 and a review of their license. Finally, we shall make it a legal requirement to carry ID if you are under 21 and wish to buy alcohol.
3- Increasing awareness Understanding the dangers to your health are important. Labour has always understood how you value your health however we still have to tackle alcohol and drugs. Furthermore, sexually transmitted diseases and infections are on the rise. The underlying fact is that awareness and understanding comes from education and feel that it’s vital to understand the risks of such things as drinking heavily and unprotected sexual acts. a-
Know the score? Drug abuse is a big problem within the united kingdom and we feel that it’s important that the public know the dangers of drugs and the effects it can have on you, your family and to society. Cost: £50million
b- Know your limits Alcohol is a drug. I am not saying that the occasional drink is bad for you however, constant binge drinking and drinking to excess is of great danger to you health. Therefore, labour are committed to ensuring you know and understand the legal limits and what excessive alcohol consumption does to your body, your family and to society as a whole. Cost: 50million c-
Improving sexual health Sexually Transmitted Infections are on the rise and this needs to be decreased. We believe that it’s important that people understand the risks associated with unprotected sexual acts such as pregnancy. Cost: £50million.
The plans which have been outlined by both the conservatives and Labour show that there is one thing which matters overall and that is patients. The conservative plans re to say the least very empty. They do not clearly define what they will actually do, therefore patients and health professionals remain in the dark, The conservatives lave the following questions unanswered: How are you going to improve patient services? How are you going to improve the general health of the country? These two questions are key when discussing the importance of healthcare. Labour on the other hand have shown (doc. 1.2) that they have a clear plan and vision for the NHS. These plans shall be achieved within a 5 year government term. Labour has gone to great lengths to improve the NHS and the above questions are clearly defined and answered. This shall mean that the health secretary has a clear vision for the NHS and where he sees where the priorities lie. Upon taking the post it is well known that Dr Gallagher said “I shall tackle the big issues with regards to health”
The plans outlined by labour show HOW they shall solve the big health problems and the conservative plans in short do not add up.
a comparison of both labour and tory manifestos (for VG:UK)