Monday, 13 April 2015

Women's Policies in the Labour Manifesto

The Labour Manifesto was launched today and I have picked out those policies which are significant to women's concerns in the UK. I am not offering an analysis because my job prohibits me from commenting publicly about party political issues. I am hoping that the launch of the political manifestos by all the parties this week (which I will also blog about) will add to a momentum that will encourage women to register to vote by 20 April,  if they haven't already done so, and to actually turn out to vote on 7 May.

The female vote is needed to collectively add up to a mass block of being an influential voice in British politics. 

Labour proposes the following women specific policies:

1. Tackling Crime  - According to Labour cuts to policing has resulted in a lower number of prosecutions in cases related to women such as rape, domestic violence and child abuse. Labour says it will protect frontline policing and tackle violence against women and girls by reforming the police governance system and by passing a 'Victims' Law' that will 'put victims at the heart of the justice system'.

Specifically, Labour will publish a Violence against Women and Girls Bill, appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence, and provide central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres; ban the use of community resolutions as a response to domestic violence, tighten the gun licensing regime so that people with a history of domestic or sexual violence will not be given an unrestricted license, make changes to DNA retention so that rape suspects have their DNA recorded and stored and will 'widen access' to legal aid for victims of domestic violence.

2. Work - According to Labour women, ethnic minorities and the disabled 'have been hit hardest' because 'progress on people's equalities is being rolled back'.

Labour proposes to tackle these issues by requiring large companies to publish their gender pay gap, increase the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour by October 2019 and introduce Make Work Pay contracts to provide tax rebates to firms becoming Living Wage employers and will ban zero-hours contracts.

3 For Parents - Labour will extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of three and four-year-olds, ensure all primary schools guarantee access to wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm, double paternity leave from two to four weeks and increase paternity pay by more than £100 a week.

4. For young people - Labour will guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who attains the grades and require any firm that gets a large government contract to offer apprenticeships and Labour has pledged to reduce tuition fees to £6,000 a year from £9,000 a year.


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