Tag: Labour

Virtual Hustings – Michael Thompson’s response

Virtual Hustings – Michael Thompson’s response

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.

 

 

 

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Virtual Hustings – Joy Squires’ Response

Virtual Hustings – Joy Squires’ Response

Thank you to Joy for responding to our questions. Joy is the Labour party candidate for Worcester.

Thank you for the questions for the ‘virtual’ WEP hustings.

I am sorry that I am not in a position to provide the detailed answers that are required. Please do not take that as an indication that I am not interested in either WEP’s position on the issues listed or that I have nothing to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. But with a very short timeframe for this general election campaign,  my campaign schedule was set some time ago and there is insufficient flexibility in it for me to be able set aside the hours needed to do justice to your searching questions.

I am sorry if this means I come up short. Labour remains the Party that has done more to promote women’s equality than any other and done more to promote women in politics and promote issues that matter to women more than any other Party.

It is clear to me, however, that the Labour Party has much to do before it can meet the not unreasonable demands made by WEP. Should I be elected MP for Worcester on Thursday, I would hope that we can work constructively together to further the issues you have raised in your ‘virtual hustings’.

With all good wishes

Joy

 

 

 

Virtual Hustings – Samantha Charles’ Response

Virtual Hustings – Samantha Charles’ Response

Thank you to Samantha for responding to our questions. Samantha is the Labour party candidate for West Worcestershire.

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?

Our social care sector is in crisis, with severe consequences for the quality of care, public finances, personal assets, pressures on unpaid carers of family and friends, often women, and delays to discharging patients from hospitals.

Care services have been slowly but relentlessly privatised. In recent years, one in ten people reaching the age of 65 have faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000, with some homeowners paying the entire value of their homes.

The Conservatives’ cuts have led to £4.6 billion lost from social care budgets, despite rising demand. Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. Care in the community has become a cover for unseen neglect.

In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.

Our first urgent task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide. It will allow implementation of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, already adopted in 28 council areas, ending 15-minute care visits and providing care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours.            

Labour will also increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers to align the benefit with rates of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.

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?

The Labour Party is the party of equality and seeks to build a society and world free from all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Labour has a strong record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms that we can be proud of.

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. Cuts to public services and social security 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.

It was a Labour government that enshrined the rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, marking the birth of the Human Rights Act.

Devastating cuts to the Equality and Human Rights Commissioned by the Conservatives reveal their real attitude, beyond the rhetoric, to issues of equality and discrimination. These cuts have been made amid the rise in hate crime recorded by the police in the last year. A Labour government will enhance the powers and functions of this commission, making it truly independent, to ensure it can support ordinary working people to e ectively challenge any discrimination they may face. A Labour government will reinstate the public sector equality duties and seek to extend them to the private sector, ensuring all citizens benefit from this Labour legislation.

The advances for women in Britain and around the world have been fought and won by determined women working together for real change, often in the face of resistance and even abuse.

Labour has a proud record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms. We brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Minimum Wage and introduced Sure Start. Ours will be a government for women, with a cabinet of at least 50 per cent women, which fights inequality and misogyny in every part of society.

A Labour government will gender audit all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation.

Labour will continue to ensure a woman’s right to choose a safe, legal abortion – and we will work with the Assembly to extend that right to women in Northern Ireland.

Violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic, affecting an estimated one in three women worldwide. In the UK, on average two women are killed by their current or a former partner every week. Under the Conservatives, over a third of all local authority funding to domestic and sexual violence services was already cut by 2012.

Labour will appoint a new commissioner to enforce minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence.

A Violence Against Women Commissioner would also provide stable central funding for women’s refuges and rape crisis centres and encourage sharing of best practice between local authorities.

Maternity discrimination under the Conservatives is out of control, almost doubling in the past ten years. Many mothers are reluctant to raise complaints about discrimination and unfair treatment. Unlawful maternity and pregnancy discrimination is now more common in Britain’s workplaces than ever before, with 54,000 pregnant women and new mothers forced out of their jobs in 2015. Labour will reverse the unfair employment tribunal fees which literally price people out of justice. Labour will also extend the time period for applying for maternity discrimination to the employment tribunal from three to six months.

Labour will work with the Health and Safety Executive to make mandatory a workplace risk assessment for pregnant women so necessary adaptions can be made, and review support for women who have miscarriages.

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?

Labour offers fair rules and reasonable management of migration. In trade negotiations our priorities favour growth, jobs and prosperity. We make no apologies for putting these aims before bogus immigration targets.

Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union. Britain’s immigration system will change, but Labour will not scapegoat migrants nor blame them for economic failures.

Labour will develop and implement fair immigration rules. We will not discriminate between people of different races, gender or creeds. We will end indefinite detentions and distinguish between migrant labour and family attachment and will continue to support the work of the Forced Marriage Unit. We will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds. New rules will be equally informed by negotiations with the EU and other partners, including the Commonwealth.

Whatever our trade arrangements, we will need new migration management systems, transparent and fair to everybody. Working with businesses, trade unions, devolved governments and others to identify specific labour and skill shortages.

Working together we will institute a new system which is based on our economic needs, balancing controls and existing entitlements. This may include employer sponsorship, work permits, visa regulations or a tailored mix of all these which works for the many, not the few.

Labour will protect those already working here, whatever their ethnicity. Our National Education Service will raise the level of skills and training. We will take decisive actions to end the exploitation of migrant labour undercutting workers’ pay and conditions.

Labour will crack down on unscrupulous employers. We will stop overseas-only recruitment practices, strengthen safety-at- work inspections and increase prosecutions of employers evading the minimum wage. Working with trade unions, we will end workplace exploitation.

Labour values the economic and social contributions of immigrants. Both public and private sector employers depend on immigrants. We will not denigrate those workers. We value their contributions, including their tax contributions.

For areas where immigration has placed a strain on public services we will reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund and boost  it with a contributory element from the investments required for High Net Worth Individual Visas. Labour will restore the rights of migrant domestic workers, and end this form of modern slavery.

Labour will ease the underlying pressures in any areas struggling to cope with seven years of austerity by our programme of investments. We will not cut public services and pretend the cuts are a consequence of immigration.

Refugees are not migrants. They have been forced from their homes, by war, famine or other disasters. Unlike the Tories, we will uphold the proud British tradition of honouring the spirit of international law and our moral obligations by taking our fair share of refugees. The current arrangements for housing and dispersing refugees are not fit for purpose. They are not fair to refugees or to our communities. We will review these arrangements

4: Equal Pay

What actions will you take as Member of Parliament to close the gender pay & pensions gap?

Work should provide people with security and fulfillment. But for too many people work is insecure and does not make ends meet, especially for women.

The Conservatives boast about the recovery of employment, but our labour market is failing. Real-terms pay is still lower than before the crash, and jobs are increasingly low skilled and insecure. The gap between men and women’s pay still exists some 45 years after the Equal Pay Act.

A Labour government will invest in enforcement through a new Ministry of Labour, and empower workers and their trade unions – because we are stronger when we stand together. So we will review the rules on union recognition so that more workers have the security of a union.

At the same time as strengthening workers’ rights, including equal pay for women, we will make work more fulfilling by using public investment to upgrade our economy and create high-quality jobs. While the Conservatives stand back and allow insecure work to spread, Labour will act to guarantee good jobs and businesses.

The next Labour government will bring in a 20-point plan for security and equality at work:

  1. Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent – so that working conditions are not driven down.
  2. Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
  3. Legislate to ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when one workforce is used against another.
  4. Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining – because the most e ective way to maintain good rights at work is collectively through a union.
  5. Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces – so that unions can speak to members and potential members.
  6. Propose four new public holidays – bringing our country together to mark our four national patron saints’ days. These will be additional to statutory holiday entitlement so that workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries.
  7. Raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over, so that work pays.
  8. End the Public Sector Pay Cap – because public sector workers deserve a pay rise after years of falling wages.
  9. Amend the takeover code to ensure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners – because workers shouldn’t su er when a company is sold.
  10. Roll out maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and in companies bidding for public contracts – because it cannot be right that wages at the top keep rising while everyone else’s stagnates.
  11. Ban unpaid internships – because it’s not fair for some to get a leg up when others can’t afford to.
  12. Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work – so that all workers can be supported when negotiating with their employer.
  13. Abolish employment tribunal fees – so that people have access to justice.
  14. Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies.
  15. Strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children.
  16. Hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – to ensure that blacklisting truly becomes and remains a thing of the past.
  17. Give equalities reps statutory rights – so they have time to protect workers from discrimination.
  18. Reinstate protection against third party harassment – because everyone deserves to be safe at work.
  19. Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions.
  20. 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.

A Labour government will ensure Britain abides by the global Labour standards of the ILO conventions.

All workers should be able to work in a safe environment and return to their families at the end of the day. Labour will enforce regulations that save lives.

As well as legislating against zero hours contracts, there are many more workers on short hours contracts (some only guaranteed a few hours per week), but who regularly work far more. We will strengthen the law so that those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract, re ecting those hours.

We will also scrap the changes brought in by the Conservatives in 2014 to TUPE, which weakened the protections for workers transferring between contractors, and we will abolish the loophole to the agency workers regulations known as the Swedish derogation.

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?

Education is what empowers us all to realise our full potential. When it fails, it isn’t just the individual that is held back, but all of us. When we invest in people to develop their skills and capabilities, we all benefit from a stronger economy and society.

At a time when working lives and the skills our economy needs are changing rapidly, governments have the responsibility to make lifelong learning a reality by giving everyone the opportunity to access education throughout their lives.

To meet this responsibility, Labour will create a unified National Education Service (NES) for England to move towards cradle-to-grave learning that is free at the point of use. The NES will be built on the principle that ‘Every Child – and Adult – Matters’ and will incorporate all forms of education, from early years through to adult education.

When the 1945 Labour government established the NHS, it created one of the central institutions of fairness of the 20th century. The NES will do the same for the 21st, giving people con dence and hope by making education a right, not a privilege for all children regardless of gender, ethnic group or background and building bridges where the Conservatives build barriers.

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?

Labour will introduce double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies and strengthen protections against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children.

Maternity discrimination under the Conservatives is out of control, almost doubling in the past ten years. Many mothers are reluctant to raise complaints about discrimination and unfair treatment. Unlawful maternity and pregnancy discrimination is now more common in Britain’s workplaces than ever before, with 54,000 pregnant women and new mothers forced out of their jobs in 2015. Labour will reverse the unfair employment tribunal fees which literally price people out of justice. Labour will also extend the time period for applying for maternity discrimination to the employment tribunal from three to six months.

Labour will work with the Health and Safety Executive to make mandatory a workplace risk assessment for pregnant women so necessary adaptions can be made, and review support for women who have miscarriages.

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?

Violence against women and girls continues to be a global epidemic, a ecting an estimated one in three women worldwide. In the UK, on average two women are killed by their current or a former partner every week. Under the Conservatives, over a third of all local authority funding to domestic and sexual violence services was already cut by 2012.

Labour will appoint a new commissioner to enforce minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence.

A Violence Against Women Commissioner would also provide stable central funding for women’s refuges and rape crisis centres and encourage sharing of best practice between local authorities.

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?

The advances for women in Britain and around the world have been fought and won by determined women working together for real change, often in the face of resistance and even abuse.

Labour has a proud record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms. We brought in the Equal Pay Act, the Sex Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Minimum Wage and introduced Sure Start. Ours will be a government for women, with a cabinet of at least 50 per cent women, which fights inequality and misogyny in every part of society.

A Labour government will gender audit all policy and legislation for its impact on women before implementation.

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?

We will guarantee and uphold the standards of service to which patients are legally entitled under the NHS constitution.

By guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks, we will take one million people off NHS waiting lists by the end of the next Parliament. We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours.

By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy, and we will end mixed-sex wards

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?

 

We will improve diversity on and off – screen, working with the lm industry and public service and commercial broadcasters to end rapid solutions to improve diversity.

The Labour Party is the party of equality and seeks to build a society and world free from all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Labour has a strong record on progressing women’s rights and freedoms that we can be proud of.