Thank you to Michael for responding to our questions. Michael is the Labour candidate for Bromsgrove.
1. A Caring Economy
What will you do to support carers – professional and family-based – and how will your social care policy understand their work as a vital social investment rather than as a financial drain? What will you do to build a caring economy?
The Labour Party does not believe that any individual whose capacity to care is a financial drain. Such people are core in our society. Our manifesto makes clear our pledge to build a public National Care Service alongside our NHS. Providing care is a responsibility of the state – those in care and those who provide care do not come second to making a profit. Our pledges to provide equal rights to temporary and part-time workers, and our pledge to abolish zero-hours contracts indicate our position to support the rights of all workers. Our manifesto pledges to set targets to increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans, and ensure broad representation of women, BAME, LGBT and people with disabilities in all kinds of apprenticeships.
2: The Impact of Brexit
What will you do to ensure that the voices of women by which we mean all women – white women and women of colour, disabled women, migrant women, LGBTQ+ women, younger and older women – are heard and their rights and needs are protected?
Labour has pledged in its manifesto to encapsulate into British law the equal rights that the EU gave British citizens. It is paramount to us that the country does not lose the rights the EU gave to women. Labour pledges to strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children.
3: Women & Migration
What will you do to restructure the migration system, so that it responds adequately to the gendered realities of migration, separation and multiple marginalization of women and girl refugees?
It is important to differentiate between migrant workers and refugees.
For the former, we do not believe in setting numbers and targets. We believe a natural and positive equilibrium will be found by giving migrant workers equal rights as British workers to stop the exploitation and under-cutting that currently exists. In addition, we will set a minimum wage of £10/hour.
For the latter, Labour is proud to uphold Britain’s proud position to care and provide refuge from all those who run have traveled to Britain in fear of persecution, because of wars or otherwise.
What actions will you take as Member of Parliament to close the gender pay & pensions gap?
Labour brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Minimum Wage and introduced Sure Start. Every progressive piece of equality legislation has been delivered by Labour. Under the Conservatives, progress is being rolled back for women, people with disabilities, LGBT people and BAME communities.
Over 2.5 million women born in the 1950s have had their state pension age changed without fair notification. These women deserve both recognition for the injustice they have suffered and some kind of compensation for their losses. Alongside our commitment to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women, Labour is exploring options for further transitional protections, to ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.
5: Equal Education
What will you do to ensure gender becomes irrelevant in our education system and ceases to influence the life chances of all our children?
Put simply, Labour will act to irradiate any process in education that forced an un-natural gender divide or gave disadvantaged women in education. As a teacher, I have worked hard to redress the balance of women in science and engineering.
6: Equal Parenting
How will you work with us to implement universal childcare and our other proposals to enable all families however constituted – and in employment or self-employment – to have a full and productive family and working life?
Undoubtedly Labour and I are committed to this.
7: WE require an end to violence against women and girls.
What will you do to ensure that women are safe in their homes, at work, study and in public, that they are believed when they report violence and harassment? What will you do to stamp out the culture that blames the victim and to reinstate vital women’s services that protect and support women and girls fleeing abuse?
We will ensure that under the Istanbul Convention, disability hate crime and violence against women with disabilities is reported annually, with national actions plans to address these issues. The level of violence against women and girls is not acceptable. Labour will emphasise the safety of women and girls by appointing a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence. We will establish a National Refuge Fund and ensure stability for rape crisis centres. We will strengthen the law, banning the use of community resolutions as a response to domestic violence. Labour will continue to enforce effective measures to prevent all forms of abuse, including female genital mutilation.
8: Equal Representation:
What will you do as an MP to ensure that women are elected, appointed and promoted at all levels in politics, business, arts, culture, sports, education/academia?
A Labour government will gender audit all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation. Labour is the party who introduced AWS.* Our national and local policies insist on equal representation on Labour boards and executives.
(Editor’s Note*AWS = All Women Shortlists)
9: Equal Health
What are your proposals to create a health service that recognizes gender difference and offers equality of care and research for all?
Cuts to public services, such as health, are landing disproportionately on women and ethnic minorities, with 86 per cent of the money raised from the Tories’ tax and social security changes coming from women’s pockets. Labour will introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing – so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work.
10: Equality in the Media
How will you hold the media up to scrutiny and challenge the reductive gender stereotyping which it perpetuates? How will you act to end the attempts to suppress women’s and minority voices on social media?
To protect democracy and media freedom, I believe Labour will take steps to ensure regulation is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of all media ownership and put in place clearer rules on what is proper in all areas of media.