Conference 2013 details

Rule changes

There were votes on proposed rule changes:

  • CLPs currently get £1.50 per paid member minimum – this flat rate will now increase with inflation
  • any person found guilty of electoral fraud will not be allowed to stand for any future election except by approval of the NEC
  • for clarification, all branches who hold funds must send annual accounts to their CLP Treasurer before the end of February
  • the 2% levy on councillor allowances can now be paid in 5 instalments
  • a proposal for election of council group leaders by electoral college rather than councillors alone was defeated


Heidi Alexander and Tom Blenkinsop were elected to the Conference Arrangements Committee, and Maggie Cosin to the National Constitutional Committee.




Housing – East Surrey, Epsom & Ewell, Horsham, NE Hants, Oxford East, South Thanet

Cost of Living – Oxford West & Abingdon, Reading East & West

NHS – Chatham & Aylesford, Chesham & Aylesford, Guildford

Royal Mail – Banbury, Bognor Regis & Littlehampton, Faversham & Mid Kent, Hastings & Rye, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth N & S, South Thanet, Tunbridge Wells


Syria – Henley


Bexhill & Battle, Brighton Kemptown & Pavilion, Buckingham, Crawley, Fareham, Mid Sussex, Slough, Southampton Itchen & Test, Spelthorne, Witney, Wokingham, Worthing West



Emergency Motion – Rail

Conference notes the 16th September announcement by the Office of Rail Regulation (0RR) that First Capital Connect (FCC) had been heavily fined after failing to protect the safety of passengers trapped on a broken down train at Dock Junction, London. Inaccurate updates and poor on-board conditions resulted in many passengers opening the doors and leaving the train thus putting their lives at risk. This is wholly unacceptable and symptomatic of a privatised industry that puts profits first.

Conference further notes newspaper reports on l-6th September which shows private train operators “short-changing” passengers by more than £100 million. Last year, rail companies were paid £136 million in compensation by Network Rail for late running and cancelled trains but paid less than £30 million in refunds to passengers.

Conference believes that to improve services and cut fares. public ownership is a must. By May 2015, East Coast Rail will have returned over £1 Billion to the Treasury. lt is also delivering a successful service after private rail operators totally failed to do so, The Government’s wish to re-privatise it is based on dogma and ignores reality,

Conference calls on a future Labour Government to run our railways in the interest of passengers by retaining and extending this successful model of public ownership to each franchise as it expires and by integrating track and train operations. The billions that this will save must be used to invest in our rail network and to cut fares for hard pressed passengers.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association



Conference notes that in the week that the Halifax Housing Price Index, released on 6th August reported an increase in the average price of a UK home to £169,624 more than 6 times UK average earnings, Fitch, the credit rating agency, warned that the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme will push prices higher, boosting the profits of banks and builders, but would not alleviate the housing shortage.

Conference also notes housing statistics released by the Department of Communities and Local Government on 1-5 August 2013 highlighting a 9 per cent fall in the annual number of house completions.

Conference further notes that under this failed Tory Government house building is now at the lowest peacetime level since the 1920s,

Conference believes that George Osborne’s measures will put home ownership out of reach of low and middle income earners making them increasingly dependent on the private rented sector.

Conference is concerned that rents in the private rented sector have increased on average by 9 per cent since 2010. Tenants in the private rented sector pay around 41 per cent of their disposable income on rent making it one of the major contributors to the cost of living crisis.

Conference believes that the increase in the size of the private rented sector has led to a number of rogue landlords operating in the market, which gives the majority of decent landlords a bad name. In such cases the standard of private rented housing falls below an acceptable level.

Conference believes that there is a lack of transparency in the way letting agencies operate, especially around fees and charges.

Conference believes that attacks on social rented housing by the coalition Government and the Tory Mayor of London will drive up housing benefit bills and plunge many on low incomes into poverty through lack of access to genuinely affordable housing.

Conference further believes that Labour’s housing and planning policies should be realistic and ambitious.

Conference regrets Government proposals in the Technical Housing Standards Review, announced in August 2013, which will lower standards in new hosing in many respects and believes that high standards should be required for all new developments.

Conference calls upon the Labour Party to campaign for, and for the future Labour Government to:

  • Deliver a large scale programme of building of new and genuinely affordable homes for social rent, to buy and with councils once again building much needed council homes
  • Encourage longer private leases leading to predictable rents
  • Regulate letting agents to ensure transparency and consistency of fees and charges
  • Review the local authority borrowing caps for councils who want to invest in new and improved council housing.
  • Introduce a statutory national register of landlords, There can be no place in the future for either rogue landlords or letting a3ents.

Moved: Warwick and Leamington CLP                         Seconded: East Surrey CLP



Conference notes the Committee stage of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, completed on 11 September 2013.  Furthermore, part I is not a serious attempt to regulate lobbying activities, The Bill’s proposed statutory register of lobbyists fails to cover most lobbyists. It will not prevent the ‘cash for access’ scandals that have blighted the coalition and even industry bodies believe that it will reduce transparency around lobbying. This confirms that the Bill is not a serious attempt to regulate lobbying activities, Conference believes  that it is absurd to introduce legislation that would not stop the tobacco lobbyist Lynton Crosby from advising David Cameron against introducing standardised cigarette packaging, but would stop a cancer charity campaigning in favour of it.

Conference notes that the amended Bill fails to allay the serious concerns raised by charities, campaigning groups, trade unions and members of the public about restrictions of their ability to campaign, Reducing spending limits and extending the type of activity that is classified as election campaigning, will seriously curtail the work that can be undertaken by third parties. conference believes that the Bill is a sinister gag on charities and campaigners in the run-up to an election. The very future of some group is under threat, for example, it will prevent anti-fascist groups targeting constituencies where the BNP pose a threat. It will have a chilling effect on the quality of our national debate. It is a cynical attempt by the Government to insulate their record and their policies from legitimate, democratic criticism 12 months before general elections.

Conference is concerned that part lll is an attack on trade union autonomy which will make industrial action balloting even more difficult and prevent trade unions from keeping their membership data confidential. Conference calls on the Labour party to build a coalition of opposition to the Bill and to legislate for an effective register of lobbyists, and to ensure that the freedom of charities, campaigning groups, trade unions and other organisations is not restricted

Moved: UCATT                    Seconded: Labour Students


Cost of Living

Conference notes the Labour Party report of 6 August showing that wages have failed to keep pace with the cost of living in three years of the coalition government.  Working people are an average £1350 per year worse off in real terms.

Conference also notes the Resolution Foundation report published on 4 September showing that one-fifth of all employees (over five million individuals) earned less than the low pay threshold in 2012.

Conference believes this situation reflects the way in which structural problems in the labour market are being reinforced by the rise of casualisation, zero-hours contracts, and agency worker loopholes across the whole economy and the Coalition’s pay and privatisation policies in public services, which play off public and private sectors and fuel a race to the bottom.  Conference notes that the combination of these measures contribute to the falling share of national income being paid to workers which is a major cause of the cost of living crisis.  Labour should commit to publish the share of national income paid in wages as a key economic indicator.

Conference is encouraged that local community and union campaigns for a living wage have gathered momentum with Labour councils such as Oxford City in the lead.

Conference calls on the Party to include in the Manifesto a commitment to:

Decent wages across the economy, and a strategy to end the public sector pay cap to help support economic growth, improve services and tackle the cost of living crisis;

  •  A living wage as part of a strategy to reduce in-work poverty
  • Ending the abuse of workfare and zero hours contracts
  • Stronger minimum wage enforcement
  • Public procurement to support pay and pensions and sick pay

Moved: Unison               Seconded: Oxford West and Abingdon


Employment rights

Conference deplores the systematic erosion of employment rights since 2010 leading to a rapidly increasing culture of ‘hire and fire’ among employers, the most recent of which (5/9/2013) is to dilute the TUPE regulations which offer protection for employees in the event of a company takeover.

Conference believes that the workplace is becoming more insecure for workers in the UK as a result of this Government’s policies. The Coalition government have launched an assault on the basic rights of working people making it easier to fire, not hire is not a substitute for a credible growth strategy. Conference rejects the accusation that employee rights have been holding back growth in our economy, or that they should be watered down even further, in particular conference expresses concern at the measure included in the Beecroft Report, the Government’s ‘Shares for Rights’ policy; scheme which attempts to bribe workers into giving away their hard fought workplace rights (01/09/2013);

Conference condemns the introduction of punative fees for employment tribunals which will limit access to justice for working people; the increased, two year period to bring forward a case of unfair dismissal; the abolition of legal aid for employment related issues; the abolition of employers civil liability arising out of breaches of Health and safety legislation; compulsory surveys of employers attitude for indirect discrimination cases and employer’s liability for third party harassment.

Conference notes that according to the OECD, the UK already has one of the most lightly regulated labour markets amongst developed countries .

In 2012 conference passed a contemporary motion calling on the Labour Party to establish a commission on employment rights.

Conference calls upon the Labour Party to convene such a body as a matter of urgency.

Conference calls upon the commission to not only redress new anti-trade union policies but to support rights for trade unions to access workplaces in order to promote trade union membership.

Conference applauds the action take by the Welsh Assembly Government to blacklist the blacklisters (11/09/2013) which demonstrates what can be achieved by political will and Labour values – we call upon Labour authorities to follow suit.

Conference believes that preventing exploitation in the workplace must always be a priority for Labour.

As part of this Conference believes that a future Labour government should ensure that the employment rights of the low paid and vulnerable employees are not removed in place of a proper strategy for economic growth; and for fairness in the workplace to be a priority for a Labour government. This includes proper standards in our economy, real protection for agency workers and action against blacklisting.

Moved by GMB



Conference notes reports on August 15 that waiting lists for operations reached their longest in 5 years and figures published on August 21 that show 5,276 fewer nurses in NHS since May 2010.

Conference expresses concern over the recent crisis in A&E under David Cameron. Since the election, people waiting over 4 hours have more than doubled ambulance queues have doubled too.

Conference believes the Tory-led Government’s cuts to elderly care are a major cause of the A&E crisis Conference notes that in 2013 under the Tory-led coalition government, the A&E winter crisis has become endemic, with half of Trusts in London failing to meet the 4 hour waiting target, with chronic shortages of Emergency Medicine staff.

Conference is not surprised that under this government we have had the first summer crisis in the NHS for years. Nearly 1 million people waited more than 4 hours in A&E over the last year. Jeremy Hunt has spent August looking for people to blame for the unprecedented increase in waiting times in casualty departments across England.

Conference notes that:

1. The NHS is not safe in the hands of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats

2. Professor Don Berwick’s report to the Government published on 6 August makes it clear that NHS staff should not be scapegoated when services are overstretched and that good people can fail to meet patients’ needs when their working conditions do not provide them with the conditions for success’;

3. David Cameron’s 8 August announcement of funding for struggling A&E Departments fails to address the fundamental threats to our NHS posed by increasing privatisation and continual cuts to nursing numbers. Conference notes the 11 hospitals placed into special measures in the Keogh report leaving public confidence in the hospitals at an all-time low and hospital staff under huge pressure

The Tory led coalition government has again demonstrated it cannot be trusted with the NHS.

They are creating poorer quality, failing and fragmented services, as demonstrated by the breakdown of parts of the NH5111 service. Conference also recognises that A&E services  are stretched as never before, Conference is proud of Labour’s record of investment in the NHS and reaffirms that the NHS should be free at the point of use, for all, based on need and not the ability to pay, that values collaboration over competition and which delivers care according to the needs of the patient and not the market.

Conference notes with concern the research published by the NHS Confederation on 8th September highlighting that less than half of Accident & Emergency expect to meet waiting time targets in the coming months. Conference recognises that hospitals are struggling to cope, as the NHS deals with David Cameron’s cuts and a £3 billion top-down reorganisation, Conference notes concerns raised by experts who say that A&Es don’t have safe staffing levels.

And Conference notes the recommendation for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to develop benchmarks on staffing requirement and notes concerns over some extortionate PFI charges.

Conference recognises the high court judgement of 31st July that overturned the Government’s decision to downgrade services at Lewisham Hospital, and congratulates everyone who contributed to the campaign which recognised that real consultation should be guided by clinical consideration, informed by public health knowledge, and include patient and public engagement – a clear rejection of the government’s top-down approach.

Conference recognises the people of Lewisham for successfully challenging the decision to downgrade & close their hospital’s Accident & Emergency, Paediatric and Maternity services and highlighting broken promises made to Parliament by the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister.

Conference notes the threatened closures of A&Es and other hospital units. David Cameron promised to protect the NHS; he has broken that promise. Conference recognises that the  Government’s botched reorganisation of the health service, especially its impact across South London, is putting intolerable pressures on hard pressed staff who continue to strive to provide high quality care,

It was Labour that fought to create the NHS. It is now up to labour to fight to defend it. Conference believes that the Government’s harmful, market-led approach should be replaced with a system driven by responsible, clinically-led choices, where the priority is continuity of care and consideration for the whole person, not competition and fragmentation.

Welcomes Labour’s commitment to repeal the Health and Social Care Act “Reaffirms our urgent call for Labour to work with health unions and other NHS supporters to campaign against privatisation

Conference supports Labour’s aim of developing a unified, national system of high quality health and social care based on the values of caring, compassion, fairness and equality.

Conference believes that you can’t trust David Cameron with the NH5. Conference calls upon Labour to break down the barriers between health and care, into a single service to meet all of a person’s care needs Conference calls on all those in the Labour movement. To stand united to defend our National Health Service,

Moved: Lewisham Deptford CLP                 Seconded: Newcastle upon Tyne Central CLP


Royal Mail – composite 1

Conference notes the August publication of Royal Mail’s executives’ pay levels, with its Chief Executive earning £1.47m.

Conference notes the intention of the Coalition government to privatise Royal Mail in the autumn or winter. Conference states its opposition because it will lead to:

  • higher prices for small businesses and domestic consumers
  • pressure to end the six day delivery and uniform tariff
  • a deterioration of services in rural and ‘non-profitable’ areas
  • the prioritisation of shareholder dividends over service provision

Conference believes it is vital Labour is seen to defend the public postal service. The most recent YouGov poll registered 67% against the privatisation of Royal Mail. Conference notes Royal Mail made £403million profit in the most recent financial year.

Any necessary investment in Royal Mail can be secured from its own profits, and by allowing it to borrow from commercial markets. Across the EU, government related entities like Royal Mail are allowed such facilities. Royal Mail could become a successful ‘not for dividend’ company whilst remaining a publicly owned service. In line with practice elsewhere in the EU, such borrowing would not be counted on the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement.

Conference believes privatisation will jeopardise the contribution Royal Mail makes to the national economy through the universal service obligation. Conference agrees an incoming Labour government should re-nationalise Royal Mail in the event of the Coalition government actually selling the company.

Finally, Conference agrees organising against the proposed sale should be an immediate focus for the whole Party.

Moved: Communication Workers Union                         Seconded: Northampton Labour Party


COMPOSITE 9-Royal Mail

Conference notes the publication of the Royal Mail annual report on 2 August and the news that the Chief Executive had a received a £399,000 bonus payment and a £250,000 relocation allowance.

Conference opposes the Tory-led Government’s plans to privatise the Royal Mail and believes that these are driven by the desire to plug a financial hole in our economy caused by the Government’s failed economic policies. Conference notes that last year Royal Mail made a £400 million Profit,

Conference believes privatisation is not needed, Conference notes that the last Labour Government opposed the full privatisation of Royal Mail, believing that both the Royal Mail and the Post Office should at all times be publicly owned, giving the taxpayer an ongoing interest in the maintenance of the universal service obligation and an ongoing interest in the inter-business agreement between the Royal Mail and the Post Office.

Conference expresses concern that privatising Royal Mail could mean that profit comes before the needs of our communities and could put local post offices, which rely on Royal Mail for most of their business, at risk, Conference notes that concerns have been raised that privatisation could lead to higher prices and puts the daily service at risk.

Conference believes the Government’s approach is not being driven by what will secure the universal service obligation and deliver best value for the taxpayer, Conference calls on Labour to continue to campaign against the Government’s privatisation plans.

Moved: Cannock Chase CLP                               Seconded: Sefton Central CLP


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