Labour must outline a new settlement for public services

The future of public services is at a watershed in this election.   The independent Resolution Foundation has calculated that Tory plans to balance the deficit by 2018 mean £37bn more cuts still to come.   The stark truth of that means a cut in local government spending of no less than 42% between 2010-18, nearly halving the services that councils are able to provide.   The public service jobs lost as a result will almost certainly reach beyond a million.   What Labour should therefore be arguing for is a new settlement for public services, including higher taxes on the very rich, writing off some of the debts created by the financial crisis, and more financial freedom for local authorities to set council tax and to borrow.   Councils should be enabled to set higher council tax bands for higher-value properties and business rates, as well as to levy small local taxes such as a tourism tax.

One particularly urgent is to ensure that the social care sector is properly funded so that it can meet the care needs of a growing ageing population.   This must mean a legal requirement that home care workers receive at the very least the national minimum wage, which over 220,000 do not currently receive because of unpaid travel time abuses.

The increasing marketisation of public services must be stopped and greater democratic accountability introduced.   In probation the so-called Transforming Rehabilitation privatisation programme should be reversed.   Clause 119 of the Care Act should be repealed so that local communities have greater say over their local NHS.   The same accountability of schools to our communities should be brought back where it has been eroded.   The entire Lobbying Act needs to be repealed so that civil society organisations and trade unions can campaign freely.

To tackle the cost of living crisis and ensure a fair and sustainable recovery, we need to restore collective pay agreements alongside pay review bodies and equal pay.   The artificial public sector pay cap should be removed and the abuses of zero hours contracts stamped out.   In addition the role of public sector investment needs to be developed in creating decent employment, paying fair wages, and delivering important public infrastructure such as new affordable housing which is desperately needed.

 

6 thoughts on “Labour must outline a new settlement for public services

  1. Ed Miliband visited my town yesterday. He gave a short speech and then conducted a very good Q&A session. Many of the points you raise here also came up. I got the impression that he agrees with a lot of what you say, so that bodes well!

    Perhaps you could get together with the official policy makers so instead of saying “what Labour should” do, you could state with confidence that this is what they WILL do! This would be far more effective and not give the impression that they won’t be doing what’s needed.

    However, my concern is that these points are not reaching a wide enough audience, although the people who were invited to this session were by no means all Labour supporters.

    There are all the people who read the rubbish printed in newspapers and are being led to believe what the Tories want them to believe. They’ve issued a very large pamphlet, which was distributed in my area, making various dubious claims and stating “Labour’s deficit halved this year” (did they get Merlin to wave a magic wand to achieve this)!?

    I printed out a few questions for Mr Miliband, including the ones you often ask, such as why isn’t Labour tackling the Tories on their lies about the economy and putting the record straight. I now await his response.

  2. The trouble with these cuts doesn’t hurt the tories but the poor you now that money saved will go back to those mates companies who take the savings off shore yet they do this under the guise of austerity funny world when the ninty nine percent who aint rich suffer this the one percent dont but untill this party wakes up austerity is a sham and put real jobs without the yanky companies whose only roll is to make profits which are taking offshore yes austerity suited you all while we suffered it mps had a pay rise oh my oh my isnt it strange when all around the people were dying because of this austerity
    jeff3

  3. Public services, (including the NHS,) urgently need to cleaned up just as much as the banking sector, (your favorite Bette Noir here,) the well endemic and well documented criminal abuses of AVANTA, G4S, A4E, CAPITA et all have been done to death, without any useful or positive out come for either their, client’s (victims, including our disabled, old and our unemployed,) or the tax payer.

    This seems completely typical:

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/02/probation-chief-inspector-paul-mcdowell-resigns

    As does this:

    Rachel Reeves; Reeves a former professional lobbyist, is married to Nicholas Joicey, director of the international department of HM Treasury. and a former private secretary and speech writer to Gordon Brown. Reeves’ younger sister, Ellie, is a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee and Joint Policy Committee, and is married to John Cryer, another Labour MP.

    The failures of Labor the safely, adequately and professionally discharge their responsibilities in Rochdale, Rotherham and in Mid Staffs, contributing to the premature and frequently humiliating deaths of perhaps as many as 1200 elderly and vulnerable patients their at Mid Staffs and perhaps 14oo vulnerable and at risk young women being sexually exploited and preyed upon on their watch in Rotherham, (and other less well publicized examples came to light after Rochdale, in Sheffield, Oldham and elsewhere.)

    Then this:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/04/eric-pickles-tower-hamlets-london-borough

    “The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, is to take over the administration of Tower Hamlets council, in east London, for two years after an inquiry commissioned by his department found evidence of a crony culture in which grants and properties were handed to favoured groups, and proper procedures were ignored.”

    Then this:

    http://manchestergazette.co.uk/10093/labours-record-of-shame-in-wigan

    Simply throwing more money at these people won’t do anything useful not without root and branch reform that includes clear public accountability, transparency and a more criminal convictions.

    But faced with things like this and the cuts to policing, with budget and policy being determined by unsavory charterers like Shaun Wright, (Before becoming the PCC, ; (one ballot box contained just 5 votes.) Wright was a councillor on Rotherham Council. He was in charge of children’s services for five years from 2005; he also sat on the Police Authority of South Yorkshire Police.)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-20343812

    This more than anything else is the real Blair legacy and is the real rot, (corruption, cronyism, nepotism and every form of graft at every level that is undermining this country and our public services.

  4. Michael:

    I listened to Ed Miliband at the Stroud meet the people session, he really isn’t listening.

    The arguments he put up after his leadership election are same that he espouses now, I asked him why he was still pursuing his Preferred provider, if he really wanted to save the NHS, hw waffled that the preferred provider would put the NHS first.

    Ignoring the fact that I made, that the Tendering Process must mean more not less privatisation, and if it wasn’t there in the first place, the NHS would be the preferred provider by default.

    In other words he knows, and that his rhetoric is all about obfuscation, like the Tories the Neo-Liberal agenda rolls on.

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