What is Liz Kendall's programme for government?
- 12 August 2015
- From the section UK Politics
Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall is calling for a "fresh start" for the Labour Party, and has promised a "hopeful alternative" for Britain's future.
She has identified "five causes" she believes need to be at the centre of Labour's vision for the country, and to root the party firmly in the centre ground of British politics.
So what is she promising to do if she did win power?
Ms Kendall says Labour lost the general election because "people didn't trust us on the economy" and felt the party did not share their "values and aspirations". She has also been highly critical of the party's approach to business.
The Leicester West MP and shadow care minister argues that she is the candidate to win back voters' trust and lead the party to victory in 2020. Her core message has been that Labour must again be seen as the party of work, not welfare. Labour, she says, needs to be "as passionate about wealth creation as we are about wealth distribution" and she has positioned herself as avidly "pro-business", saying she wants to champion those who take risks.
Ms Kendall has been the only leadership contender to endorse acting leader Harriet Harman's decision not to oppose to the government's Welfare Bill, which enacts various benefits cuts including to future child tax credits. She says she would not oppose the bill "unless we show how we can pay for the alternative". She backs the benefit cap set by the government at £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere.
Repealing the government's Trade Union Bill, designed to tighten the rules on strike ballots, is among Ms Kendall's aims to "secure protection at work". She would also give workers more of a say in their workplace, and allow ballots on industrial action to be held online.
She is critical of the government's new National Living Wage but has vowed to tackle low pay and build "a true living wage society", including plans to extend the remit of the Low Pay Commission. She would also restore working tax credits and ensure public sector pay increases, paid for by using proceeds from a review of Britain's £100bn tax relief bill, which Margaret Hodge, former chairman of the public accounts committee, is carrying out for her.
Ms Kendal has said the 50p top rate of income tax should not be permanent.
Ms Kendall opposes Chancellor George Osborne's plans to replace the student maintenance grant with a system of loans, pledging to reinstate them to ensure that young people can get a degree "whatever their financial background".
Childcare and education
Ms Kendall has a long-standing commitment to improving childcare, and says this would be her priority, "not cutting university tuition fees". She wants to see better, more flexible childcare provision as part of her plans to tackle social inequality from birth and give every child "an equal shot at life". She proposes an extension of early years education, paid for by repealing Chancellor George Osborne's "£1bn inheritance tax cut". The Leicester West MP would also drop Labour's policy of ending free schools, and she is calling for more support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities to ensure "fair access" to the curriculum.
Health and social care
Ms Kendall, a shadow health minister, is calling for "decent care and support" for all people in old age. She wants to tackle low pay in the care sector and to enable families to choose their own carer. She would close down Assessment and Treatment Units, which house people with learning disabilities or challenging behaviour, "to end the monstrous treatment that we have seen at places like Winterbourne View and ensure an improved standard of care".
Ms Kendall is calling for a "radical new political settlement" to devolve more powers to local communities over areas such as welfare, housing, health, education, transport and economic growth.
She wants to create a "more federal" United Kingdom, favouring the setting up an English Labour Party, on a par with the Scottish and Welsh parties with their own leaders, saying: "It's important to give England a greater voice."
Ms Kendall would also axe the government's Work Programme, and give local councils powers to deliver "real support" to help people back in to work.
Labour, under Ms Kendall's leadership, would commit to maintaining NATO's commitment to spend 2% of national income on defence. She has highlighted Islamic extremism, Russia and climate change as issues the UK must deal with. And the Leicester West MP has accused the government of overseeing a "quiet diminishing of Britain's role in the world" and pledged that she would ensure Britain would be "fully and passionately engaged in Europe and beyond".