Young People and Labour Party Policy

Like everyone else in society, children and young people are affected by every decision that politicians make and every policy they implement. It is understandable that people tend to focus on the policies that affect them most directly. However, it is a mistake to overlook the values and beliefs that underpin each and every political decision.

The core values that the Labour Party stands for today are those which have guided it throughout its existence: social justice, equality, compassion, strong community and strong values, reward for hard work, decency, rights matched by responsibilities and opportunity for all.

The Tory Party made a clear political choice when it imposed its austerity programme which meant that the least well-off in society, those living in poverty and the most vulnerable, pay for the mistakes of the bankers and their cronies. This tells us a great deal about the values that drive the Tory policies. Each and every Tory government has always imposed policies that hurt ordinary working people whilst allowing the rich and powerful to be rewarded with tax cuts, huge bonuses and increased wealth.

An illustration of the consequences of a Government driven by Tory values is shown by the way that Child Poverty is significant issue in the UK. In May this year, a report commissioned by the United Nations (UN) said that the UK’s social safety net has been “deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos”. Special rapporteur on extreme poverty Philip Alston said, “ideological” cuts to public services since 2010 have led to “tragic consequences”. Read more about child poverty at http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/

It is therefore always important to look at the values and beliefs that lie behind any Governmental policy and to ask, who will the main beneficiaries of this policy. Always assume that each and every policy will, in some way, have a direct impact on you and your family.

Having said all of that, what follows are examples of the policies that a Labour Government would implement that have a direct and obvious impact on the lives of children and young people whether they are: school pupils, teenagers trying to find a constructive activity in their leisure time, young parents with childcare responsibilities, university students, looking for affordable accommodation, seeking work or an apprenticeship, or struggling on low wages or a zero-hours contact.

Some Good News For Young People

A Labour Government would give 16 year olds the vote. 1.5 million young people in the UK don’t have a say in their future because they can’t vote. This just doesn’t seem right. Sign our petition and tell the government it’s time for votes at 16.

Sign the petition here : ‘It’s time for votes at 16′

Youth Services, like youth clubs, youth centres and counselling for young people, are absolutely vital in our communities. The benefits of youth work are real and long-lasting, offering young people safe spaces to explore their identities, develop their interpersonal skills and increase their confidence.  Between 2012 and 2016, almost 140,000 places in youth centres for young people were cut. 600 youth centres closed down and 3,500 youth workers lost their jobs. This means that a generation of young people could potentially be left without the opportunity to play a full part in our communities.

A Labour Government will introduce statutory youth services in every local authority, providing a guarantee and reassurance to young people. We will also ring-fence the budget to deliver these services, ensuring that they’re protected from future cuts.

In terms of employment and unemployment, young people are usually hit the hardest. Labour will:

  • Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
  • Raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over, so that work pays.

Employer-led training is the most effective way of meeting our growing skills gap. Labour supports the apprenticeship levy, but will take steps to ensure that every apprenticeship is of a high quality. Labour will:

  • Maintain the apprenticeship levy while taking measures to ensure high quality by requiring the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to report on an annual basis to the Secretary of State on quality outcomes of completed apprenticeships to ensure they deliver skilled workers for employers and real jobs for apprentices at the end of their training. We will also work with the devolved administrations to improve the operation of the levy
  • Set a target to double the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3 by 2022
  • Give employers more flexibility in how the levy is deployed, including allowing the levy to be used for pre-apprenticeship programmes
  • Guarantee trade union representation in the governance structures of the Institute of Apprenticeships
  • Protect the £440 million funding for apprenticeships for small and medium-sized employers who don’t pay the levy
  • Set targets to increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans, and ensure broad representation of women, BAME, LGBT and people with disabilities in all kinds of apprenticeships
  • Consult on introducing incentives for large employers to train more numbers of apprentices to fill skills gaps in the supply chain and the wider sector
  • Set up a commission on Lifelong Learning tasked with integrating further and higher education.

Labour will create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use.

Sure Start, and the support it gives to vulnerable and hard-to-reach parents, was one of the great achievements of the previous Labour government but under the Conservatives 1,200 Sure Start centres have been lost. Labour will halt the closures and increase the amount of money available for Sure Start.

Schools are being starved of funding with ruthless cuts that are undermining the ability of teachers to deliver a first-class education. Crippling underfunding is driving up class sizes and forcing schools to cut corners. A narrow curriculum and a culture of assessment is driving away teachers, creating a recruitment and retention crisis.

Labour will not waste money on inefficient free schools and the Conservatives’ grammar schools vanity project. Labour does not want a return to secondary moderns. We will also oppose any attempt to force schools to become academies.

Labour’s schools policy will be built on the following four foundations:

  1. Investment – we will make sure schools are properly resourced by reversing the savage cuts imposed by the Conservatives. We will introduce a fairer funding formula that leaves no school worse off while redressing the historical underfunding of certain schools. Labour will also invest in new school buildings.
  2. Quality – we will drive up standards across the board, learning from examples of best practice, such as Labour’s London Challenge, to encourage co-operation and strong leadership across schools. We trust in teachers and support staff professionalism to refocus their workload on what happens in the classroom
  3. Accountability – Labour will ensure that all schools are democratically accountable, including appropriate controls to see that they serve the public interest and their local communities. 
  4. Inclusion – Every child is unique and a Labour-led education system will enable each to find their learning path through a wide choice of courses and qualifications. We will invest in measures to close the attainment gap between children from different backgrounds

In terms of ChildcareLabour will:

  1. Overhaul the existing childcare system in which subsidies are given directly to parents who often struggle to use them, and transition to a system of high-quality childcare places in mixed environments with direct government subsidy
  2. Maintain current commitments on free hours and make significant capital investment during our first two years of government, to ensure that the places exist to meet demand
  3. Phase in subsidised provision on top of free-hour entitlements, to ensure that everyone has access to affordable childcare, no matter their working pattern.
  4. Transition to a qualified, graduate-led workforce, by increasing staff wages and enhancing training opportunities. This will benefit staff, who are among our worst-paid workers and improve child development
  5. Extend the 30 free hours to all two-year-olds, and move towards making some childcare available for one-year-olds and extending maternity pay to 12 months

Since the Conservatives came to power, university tuition fees have been trebled to over £9,000 a year and maintenance grants have been abolished and replaced with loans.

The average student now graduates from university, and starts their working life, with debts of £44,000. To address this horrendous situation Labour will:

The Tories have created a housing crisis. Since 2010, twice as many people are sleeping rough. There are more than 120,000 children without a permanent home. Fewer people are able to buy their own homes, and private rent costs are rising faster than people’s pay. After nine years of failure, it’s clear that the Tories have no plan to fix the housing crisis. Young people are almost priced out of the market altogether.

Labour has a concrete plan to deliver quality, affordable homes for the many and will:

  • Increase housing benefit for under-21s
  • Start a renters’ rights revolution to ensure that renters are protected from unscrupulous landlords
  • Build one million real affordable homes to rent and buy over ten years.
  • Give renters a host of new rights and protections.
  • End rough sleeping within five years.
  • Give councils the new funding and powers they need to kick-start the biggest council house building programme in nearly 40 years.
  • Scrap the Bedroom Tax and introduce a ‘zero-carbon’ homes standard to build cleaner, greener homes.

Climate Change and the environment will affect us all. Labour has recently published two key policy documents on these issues, which, along with other information, can be found on the Penrith & Border website by clicking on the image below.

 

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