Labour party conference at a glance: What the top five pledges mean for you
Amid the market turmoil, cost-of-living crisis and eye-watering inflation, the Labour party has pounced on key areas to help Brits.
These include home ownership, sky-high childcare costs, as well as promises to tackle long NHS waiting lists.
Here’s a round-up of the pledges made by party members for a potential new Labour government:
1) Home ownership
Labour leader, Keir Starmer’s keynote speech set out his vision to help Brits own their own homes which includes bringing in a new 70% target for home ownership.
He said: “I’ve seen home ownership rise almost my entire life – it’s the bedrock of security and aspiration. That pebble-dashed semi meant everything to my family.
“But now, under the Tories, the dream of owning your own home is slipping away for too many.”
Starmer went on to say it’s a “political choice” but “if you keep inflating demand without increasing supply, house prices will only rise and homes become less affordable for working people”.
Average house prices stood at £292,000 in July, according to the Office for National Statistics, and following the mini Budget last week which confirmed the stamp duty shake-up, industry experts suggested this could fuel further price hikes and failed to get to the core issue of poor supply.
“We will set a new target – 70% home ownership. No more buy-to-let landlords or second homeowners getting in first. We will back working people’s aspiration. Help real first-time buyers onto the ladder with a new mortgage guarantee scheme. Reform planning so speculators can’t stop communities getting shovels in the ground”, Starmer said.
He added: “My message is this: If you’re grafting every hour to buy your own home, Labour is on your side. Labour is the party of homeownership in Britain today.”
2) Childcare costs
The shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson announced today that a Labour government will introduce fully-funded breakfast clubs for every primary school in England.
She told the conference: “I can tell you that the next Labour government will build a modern childcare system.
“One that supports families from the end of parental leave, right through to the end of primary school. One that gives our children the start to their day, and the start to their life.
“As the first step on that road, today I can announce we will introduce breakfast clubs for every child in every primary school in England.
“Breakfast clubs drive up standards and achievement. They improve behaviour, and attendance. Because it’s about the club, as well as the breakfast.
“They enable parents to work. They give mums and dads choices.
“And they will help us build the economy we all need and the society we all want.”
Phillipson said this would be funded by restoring the additional rate of income tax (45%) which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng moved to abolish next year as part of last week’s mini Budget.
She added that Labour would also end the tax breaks “private schools enjoy”.
Starmer cemented the party’s commitment to 100% clean power by 2030, a “huge national effort that will double Britain’s onshore wind capacity, treble solar power, quadruple offshore wine, invest in tidal, hydrogen and nuclear”.
Another points was on insulating 19 million homes.
“We will set up Great British Energy within the first year of a Labour government. A new company that takes advantage of the opportunities in clean British power and because it’s right for jobs, growth and for energy independence from tyrants like Putin,” Starmer said.
He added: “Yes, Great British Energy will be publicly owned.”
4) Low pay
The Labour leader told the conference in Liverpool: “The real problem is we create too many jobs that are low paid and insecure. Lock too many communities out of the wealth we create. And public services aren’t strong enough to help working people succeed.”
Starmer added that the people of Liverpool “know what’s best for Liverpool” as the party wants to move away from the Tory view that “it’s ok” if the City of London “races ahead” while the rest of the country “stagnates”.
He said: “We will end the blight of low pay and insecure work with our ‘new deal for working people’.
“We will transform the state so the decisions which drive growth in communities are made by local people with skin in the game.”
Currently, the government-set national minimum wage stands at £9.50 for workers aged 23 and over. Last week, the voluntary real Living Wage for UK workers increased by a record 10.1%, taking hourly wages to £10.90 to reflect the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
5) NHS waiting lists
Another area fraught with concern relates to long NHS waiting lists.
Wes Streeting, shadow secretary of state for health and social care, said: “Labour will give all patients the ability to book online, the opportunity to self-refer to specialist services where appropriate and a wider range of choice so that we can choose whether we want to see someone face-to-face, on the phone or via a video link.
“The days of waiting on the phone at 8am to book an appointment with your GP will be over and we will bring back the family doctor.”