Final NPF Report to be debated at Conference

Annual Conference starts this weekend, and debates will focus on the report of the National Policy Forum. We would like to thank all the local parties and members who sent in submissions and amendments to the draft documents issued in the Spring.

The NPF met in Milton Keynes in July and as reps we took forward many of those amendments. The focus on key subjects meant we had time to discuss issues properly and consensus was reached on all the issues.

Now the final, revised documents have been published and they will be debated and hopefully agreed at Conference. We think the consensus reached by all parts of the NPF – reps of local and regional parties, the unions and socialist societies as well as MPs, MEPs and councillors is a real first. Some long standing policy debates have reached consensus, including agreeing:

  • a public rail operator to bid for franchises
  • more council house building
  • every home sold under Right to Buy must be replaced with a new council home
  • free schools to join the local authority family
  • a full and transparent review of all defence needs, including Trident

The final documents (in a single report) are available NPF Report 2014 to Annual Conference – but if you want a shorter guide, here is a shorter summary of the changes made as a  result of the work by all the reps representing local parties and your own submissions.

We hope your CLP delegates will support the report at Conference, and making it the basis of our 2015 General Election Manifesto. Please pass on this email to your conference delegates as well.

And if you are at Conference, we will be there to answer any questions your delegates have.

New policy documents launched – have your say on the 2015 Manifesto

Dear colleague
With less than 15 months to go to the next general  election, the party’s policy making process is entering the last round of consultations, and new policy documents have been released covering the whole range of policy.

This is your chance, as a local CLP, branch or as an individual, to have your say on the policies you think should be in our 2015 Manifesto. Please look at the documents and have your say on the issues already included, and add your own ideas. Then as your elected reps, we will be able to take forward your views.  Every CLP is entitled to propose up to ten amendments (maximum of 4 per document), which National Policy Forum representatives can then choose to bring forward to a meeting of the NPF in July. The final papers will then be adopted by Annual Conference in September as our official policy programme ahead of the election next year.

There are a set of eight papers that will provide the foundation of the manifesto. These are based on what has already been discussed and debated over the past three years. Click on the title to go to the relevant page. The papers are:

1.      Stability and Prosperity
Our policy on the economy — from growth and the economic recovery, to public spending, taxation and how we can reduce the deficit in a fair way.
2.      Work and Business
Our thinking on how the UK can compete in a global economy, including how we can support business, rights at work, fair pay and the future of pensions.
3.      Living Standards and Sustainability
Issues affecting quality of life in Britain, the cost of living, and our environment. Key topics include energy, climate change, food, rural affairs and transport.
4.      Stronger, Safer Communities
How we rebuild our communities and create a society in which everyone plays their part — including community safety, housing, local government and immigration.
5.      Education and Children
Our childcare plans, and thinking on young people’s wellbeing and learning — from early years through to further and higher education and apprenticeships.
6.      Health and Care
Our plans for the NHS, health and social care — and how we’ll bring about a new focus on whole person care.
7.      Better Politics
How we can build a One Nation politics — looking at engagement, equality, civil society and the change our political system needs.
8.      Britain’s Global Role
Britain’s role within the global community — including foreign policy, international development and defence.

The deadline for you to submit your comments is 13 June. We know that the deadline is tight and it is not ideal that these documents have been released in the run up to the May elections. CLP reps got the date extended from the original proposal of June 6. But we hope your local party will still be able to put time aside to discuss them. For example, one successful way to do this is to have local party branches divide the papers up between them.

Every CLP is entitled to propose up to ten amendments (maximum of four per document – originally this was going to be 2 per document, but we got this increased), which National Policy Forum representatives can then choose to bring forward to a meeting of the NPF in July. The final papers will then be adopted by Annual Conference in September as our official policy programme ahead of the election next year.

Here is the link to the whole document set
http://action.labour.org.uk/your-manifesto-input

We look forward to reading your submissions.
Deborah, Helena, Karen,. Martin and Simon

The Labour 2015 pledge card

There have been several important policy announcements at and since Conference. Here’s what our 2015 pledge card will say:

  • Gas and electricity prices will be frozen until 2017, and ensure companies cannot both generate and sell energy, to break up Big 6 cartel
  • reintroduce the 10p tax rate and save tax for 24m people
  • free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds to increase to 25 hours a week
  • build 200,000 homes a year by 2020
  • increase the minimum wage
  • give business a tax break for a year if they pay the living wage
  • guarantee a job to people unemployed for two years or more
  • scrap the bedroom tax
  • cut business rates in 2015 and freeze them in 2016
  • repeal Cameron and Clegg’s NHS act

Motions at Conference

We think members will be pleased with the motions passed this year. There are a lot of issues raised by members that were dealt with in the motions. The full texts are here, but in summary:

  • rail – Conference voted to take back into public ownership all rail franchises as they come up for renewal (a policy hinted at by Maria Eagle already and backed by her speech when she said the East Coast franchise should remain in public hands)
  • housing – Conference voted for a large house-building programme of social and council housing; longer private sector leases; letting agency regulation
  • cost of living – Conference voted to scrap the public sector pay freeze
  • NHS – a motion passed calling for a single health and social care service (an idea that Andy Burnham has personally championed for years)
  • Royal Mail – Conference voted for two composites on Royal Mail condemning privatisation and one calling for renationalisation
  • employment rights – establish a commission to strengthen trade union rights
  • opposition to the “gagging” bill

Rule changes and elections at Conference 2013

Details here

NPF Annual Report 2013

You can read the 2013 NPF report passed by Conference here NPF Report 2013. It reports on the conclusions of the past 12 months of debates on the issues agreed by conference last year.

Ending the 2012-2013 cycle

Thank you for all your comments and submissions to the National Policy Forum debates over the past six months. As you may know, the policy process was changed after a vote at Annual Conference last year, so that each year the NPF spends most of its time working on a few priority issues set by Conference. A lot of party members and NPF reps suggested this change, as the previous process covered an enormous range of issues, but with little depth to the discussions.

So Conference voted for a list of priority issues last year, and those subjects made up the documents that CLPs and the NPF have discussed this year. The NPF met at Aston University last month to finalise documents taking submissions into account. To keep this report brief, our website has a page for each priority issues, where you can see a summary of the issues and conclusions – plus the full documents for anyone who wants to look in more detail. Here are the links to each page:

Our Buses and Railways: Giving Communities more of a say

A British Investment Bank

Tax avoidance: Tax havens

Childcare: What matters to parents and children

Young people and politics: making a fresh start

Protecting workers, including the role of agency workers, the Living Wage and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority

Vocational education, apprenticeships and the role of job guarantees in tackling youth unemployment

Britain’s role in Global Development

21st Century NHS and Social Care : Delivering Integration

The housing crisis: house building and a private rented sector that works for Britain’s families

Each Commission will present its annual report at Conference and the final documents on the issues above will be debated and agreed. So we hope these pages will be especially useful for those who are going to Conference.

As well as this joint report, you can see a copy of Helena’s report to Young Labour here 

Priorities for next year

Annual Conference will also hold a ballot on the next set of priorities to be discussed. If you have any views on issues not covered above, that you think are priorities, please let us know. You should also speak to your CLP’s conference delegate, as they will be asked to vote on this. NPF reps at Aston did discuss some ideas on this, and you can see the conclusions here,

We have also spent a lot of time speaking to members across the region about this, and based on what you have told us, these are the biggest issues that we think should be priorities over the next 12 months:

  • ·         Getting everyone back to work in good quality jobs
  • ·         Bringing down the cost of living
  • ·         Ownership of the railways
  • ·         Europe
  • ·         Replacing Trident
  • ·         Welfare reform – doing it fairly

 All issues are discussed

A lot of people have asked us, “What happens if an issue isn’t a priority issue?” If you do want to make a submission or debate an issue that isn’t on the list above, that’s no problem. Have your discussion and then make a submission through the Your Britain website (see below). Each policy commission will discuss all submissions, as eventually all manifesto issues will have to be discussed.

 

Your Britain – the policy discussion website

For many years, party members (and we) have asked for a website that allows party members to post submissions publicly and to debate policy. There is now a website to do just this -

www.yourbritain.org.uk

There have already been over 1500 submissions made and a lot of debate. The site lets you see what other CLPs, members, unions and affiliates think (as well as some outside organisations). You can add your own submissions and comment on others. It’s really worth a look – so we hope you will use it to have your say.

 Conference 2013 – Brighton

Conference is back in Brighton this year. As it’s in our region, we know a lot of you will be at Conference, and we will be too, so please find us and say hello. If you want to speak us at Conference, please email us npf.southeast@ntlworld.com.

If you are a delegate at Conference, we would recommend the private delegate-only policy seminars. Lobbyists, visitors and the media are banned from them, so they give you a much better chance to discuss issues with shadow ministers and, as the media isn’t there, the discussions can be more open.

 

 

New policy documents

Dear colleagues,

At Annual Conference the final changes to the new party policy-making process were agreed. New policy documents are now available to be discussed, but these are a new type of document and the process is quite different, so here is some more information.

The new process means that instead of large documents trying to cover all aspects of each policy area (something members regularly complained about), each year the main policy debates will focus on a few priority areas agreed by Conference. So this year the priority list of issues is:

  • ·A British Investment Bank: making it a reality
  • ·Tax avoidance: tax havens
  • ·Protecting workers: including the role of agency workers, the living wage, and Gangmaster Licensing Authority
  • ·Vocational education, apprenticeships and the role of job guarantees in tackling youth unemployment.
  • ·Our buses and railways: giving communities more of a say
  • ·Childcare: what matters to parents and children?
  • ·The housing crisis: house building and a private rented sector that works for Britain’s families
  • ·21st Century NHS and social care: delivering integration
  • ·Young people and politics: making a fresh start
  • ·Britain’s role in a post-2015 development vision

There is a document for each one of these – a short document outlining some key questions. You will find them all here http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/join-the-debate/current-topics

The questions are open-ended and CLPs and individual members should send in submissions to them before the end of February. Then the Policy Commission for each subject will look at all submissions plus evidence it has taken from experts, to produce a longer and more detailed consultation document that will be issued at the end of March for further debate. Then a final report on each subject will be debated and voted on at Conference 2013 – at which time there will also be a vote on the next set of priorities.

Of course, the Commissions will also consider submissions on any other subject beyond the priority list, but the aim of the priority process is to debate in detail key areas agreed by members at Conference so that good policies emerge.

As well as this major change, at long last we will have a properly transparent process and use technology to widen the debate beyond meetings. A new website – www.yourbritain.org.uk is the new policy “hub” for debate. You will find copies of all the papers for the subjects above in the section “Current topics” but there are also online discussions on the site on the papers and other subjects too. You can post your own views and see what others have said too. We hope you will all use this website to make your points, individually or a branches or CLPs.

We believe that these changes are a positive step forward, and they should address many of the concerns that members (and we) have raised for years now. As always we want to know your views – as your reps we can see your comments on the website but if you have any other points you want to raise with us or send to us, please email npf.southeast@ntlworld.com And if you want any of us to come to a local meeting, you can also email us.

 

Simon Burgess, Helena Dollimore, Deborah Gardiner, Karen Landles and Martin Phillips

SE CLP reps on the NPF

Thank you

Dear colleagues,
We would all like to thank you for our support during the NPF elections. The results were announced yesterday and we are pleased to say that we were all elected.
We look forward to continuing to work hard to represent your views over the coming two years – together we have to develop the policies to win the next elections and to undo the terrible damage being done by the Tories. At the weekend the NPF discussed the new policy documents and they will be revised in time to be discussed at Conference – but

please do still continue to add your comments to the document online (sending us copies too) over the coming couple of weeks. The documents will be re-drafted and signed off by the policy commissions and the Joint Policy Committee which meets in the second week of July.

At the NPF meeting the party leadership did acknowledge again that if they had listened to party members more in government, they would have had better policies on council house building, on workers rights and other issues. Jon Cruddas is now heading up the shadow cabinet’s work on policy and he made a very candid speech on the need for policies that are more radical and that address the problems so many people face. The mood at the NPF meeting was very positive and united – and we will send a report shortly with details of what was discussed, so we can get your views.
Thank you again for your support. If you want to speak to us, want more information or would like one of us to come to a local meeting, please get in touch. Our website www.npf-se.org.uk has our contact details and also more information on Labour and Coalition policy as well as the various NPF discussion documents and details on how and where to send submissions.
Simon Burgess, Helena Dollimore, Deborah Gardiner, Karen Landles and Martin Phillips
South East Constituency Reps

Kent Young Labour and Labour Students policy forum

 

Kent Young Labour and Labour Students held a joint policy forum meeting in May. You can read the summary document here

Kent Uni Policy Forum May 2012