From boosting schools to a green energy revolution, here’s how Britain could be transformed by a Labour Government
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Keir Starmer declared Labour was “back in business” under his leadership as he used a crunch conference speech to outline how he would transform Britain.
Giving his first in-person speech to Labour conference, in Brighton, the leader attempted to draw a line under the Jeremy Corbyn era and the party’s worst election defeat since 1935.
Mr Starmer said his party faced a choice between “shouting slogans, or changing lives” as he was repeatedly heckled by members of his party who claim he is pulling the party to the right.
But the Labour leader also turned his attack on “trickster” Boris Johnson, who he said had no plan for Britain.
“Too often in the history of this party our dream of the good society falls foul of the belief that we will not run a strong economy.
“But you don’t get one without the other. And under my leadership we are committed to both.
“I can promise you that under my leadership Labour will be back in business.”
Here are the policies his party announced this week.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
SCHOOLS : Labour would raise taxes on private schools to pay for better state education. Keir Starmer has said he would end the charity status of private schools, which would bring in £1.6bn factoring in VAT and business rates. He also unveiled “the most ambitious school improvement plan ever”, including thousands of extra teachers. Ofsted would also be asked to refocus on struggling schools. Referencing Tony Blair’s “education, education, education” drive, Mr Starmer told delegates: “Education is so important I am tempted to say it three times.”
EUROPE : Labour has said it would seek a new “policy partnership with Europe”. Mr Starmer said a Labour Government would improve on Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, adding: “The government is learning that it is not enough to Get Brexit Done. You need a plan to Make Brexit Work.
ECONOMY: Labour would phase out business rates and replace it with a “modern” business tax. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said she would launch a review of all tax breaks, underlining Labour would target tech firms’ huge profits, buy-to-let landlords and those who make millions from trading stocks and shares.
ENVIRONMENT : A Labour Government would invest £28bn a year on making the UK more green, with cash to be targeted at including offshore wind farms, planting trees and developing batteries. “If we delay action by a decade the costs of climate transition will double,” said Mr Starmer.
CRIME: The Labour leader underlined Labour would become the party of law and order. He said: “Today I’m here to tell you what I stand for. But I also want to tell you what I won’t stand for. I won’t stand for the 2 million incidents of anti-social behaviour this year. I won’t stand for the record levels of knife crime that we have in this country today. And I won’t stand 9 out of 10 crimes going unsolved.” Labour would back a pro bono service to compel firms to offer a certain amount of free legal advice to those who need it. The Labour leader restated his party’s policy that it would “fast-track rape and serious sexual assault cases and we will toughen sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers”.
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DEFENCE : Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said Labour would use the £35 million on supporting Afghan interpreters and veterans’ mental health. The cash for town halls would come from cancelled MoD interpreter contracts.
HEALTH : Labour would double the current funding for dementia research, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth announced, and would seek to “build a national care service” in the image of the NHS. Anyone needing mental health treatment would get it from the NHS within a month under a Labour Government. Keir Starmer’s plan for mental health includes recruiting 8,500 new staff and putting an open access mental health hub for children and young people in communities. A Labour Government would introduce a healthy living index to track happiness. Shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said as the Office for Budget Responsibility tracks spending the index would monitor wellbeing and help government make better decisions.
HOMES : A Labour Government would slash affordable rents and give first-time buyers exclusive rights to purchase new-build homes for six months. Declaring Labour the “party of home ownership” Mr Starmer said first-time local buyers would get priority. Mr Starmer also revealed Labour would upgrade insulation for up to 19 million homes. It will aim to deliver greener homes, lower bills and require an annual investment of £6 billion. He said it “will be Labour’s national mission over the next decade, to fit out every home that needs it, to make sure it is warm, well-insulated and costs less to heat”.
WORKERS’ RIGHTS : Labour would boost fairness at work with new laws introduced within the first 100 days of Labour winning a general election. Plans include bringing workers and employers together to negotiate pay and conditions in every sector. Labour says it would also increase statutory sick pay, back rights to flexible working and hand employers day-one rights. Labour’s deputy leader AngelA Rayner said the measures would restore “common decency” in the workplace.