Labour for Communities on the Coast and of the Countryside

While it’s clear that the Tories have a deliberately ‘lite’ manifesto, Labour have produced one that really does get into the detail of how a Labour government would go about improving the lives and opportunities of the many – we have pulled out here all the policies we think would have a positive effect for communities of the coast and the country.

Labour recognises the devolution settlement of the UK, much of which it helped create, and which only Labour can fulfil for England – proper devolution to and within England will be good for every community of coast and country; as will the following policies:

The Green Industrial Revolution will be a significant source of new jobs as well as supporting many jobs and local economies outside of our cities, for example, the Green Transformation Fund, £250bn, is dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration; much of which can only take place with the active involvement, and benefit to non-urban communities; enhanced by:

  • The smaller loans that will be available through our new Post Bank based in Post Office branches, enabling thousands of bottom-up transformational changes by start-ups, small businesses, local co-operatives and community projects in towns and villages up and down the country;
  • A Local Transformation Fund in each English region will be used exclusively to fund infrastructure projects decided at a local level, as will devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – as part of Labour’s commitment to levelling up the UK economy;
  • The creation of Regional Development Banks;
  • By placing the National Transformation Fund Unit, a key part of the Treasury, in the North of England and build up the regional offices of government in each of the nine English regions to co-ordinate government policies at the regional level, as well as ensuring a regional voice in Whitehall.

Other specific policies that should benefit communities on the coast and of the country will include:

  • Support for an expansion of distributed and community energy generation;
  • Regionally owned regional Energy Agencies;
  • Labour will ensure that councils can improve bus services by regulating and taking public ownership of bus networks, helping to reinstate the 3,000 routes that have been cut, particularly hitting rural communities;
  • Labour will provide an extra £5.6 billion in funding to improve the standard of flood defences and respond to the increased risk of flooding, prioritising areas at risk in North West England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands that have been neglected by Conservative investments;
  • We will give fire services the duty to co- ordinate the emergency response to floods locally.

Food and Farming

  • A Labour government will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production;
  • Labour will invest in more county farms to replace those lost, and will work with agricultural organisations to increase access into farming for new entrants;
  • Labour will introduce A Right to Food, to help halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether in three years. We will establish a National Food Commission and review the Allotments Act. We will make food security a reason to intervene in the economy and work with local councils to minimise food waste;
  • Labour will put farmers, fishers, food producers and workers at the heart of our plans for delivering healthy food locally;
  • Will re-establish an Agricultural Wages Board in England so every part of the UK is covered;
  • Setting maximum sustainable yields for all shared fish stocks, redistribute fish quotas along social and environmental criteria and, if people vote to leave the EU, require the majority of fish caught under a UK quota to be landed in UK ports.

Public Services

  • Labour will uphold the principle of comprehensive healthcare by providing free annual NHS dental check-ups;
  • A Labour government will develop a planned model of joined-up community care, enabling people to live longer lives in better health in their own homes. We will ensure the voices of local people and NHS staff are heard in future developments of the health system;
  • Labour will allocate a greater proportion of overall funding to close-to-home health services and build interdisciplinary, patient-focused services across primary care, mental health and social care. We will ensure patients in deprived and remote communities will have better access to primary care services;
  • We will abolish prescription charges in England;
  • A Labour government will build a comprehensive National Care Service for England;
  • Increasing the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers;
  • Labour will reverse cuts to Sure Start and create a new service, Sure Start Plus, with enough centres to provide a genuinely universal service, available in all communities, focused on the under-2s;
  • Within five years, all 2, 3 and 4-year- olds will be entitled to 30 hours of free preschool education per week and access to additional hours at affordable, subsidised rates staggered with incomes;
  • Labour will make sure schools are properly resourced with increased long- term funding, while introducing a fairer funding formula that leaves no child worse off.

Local Government, Housing and Planning

  • Rural councils deliver public services differently, and this needs to be redirected in funding allocation mechanisms. We will introduce a ‘rural- proofing’ process so that all our laws, policies and programmes consider their impact on rural communities;
  • Labour will put the voices of local people at the heart of planning. We will rebalance power in the planning system by giving local government greater freedom to set planning fees and by requiring the climate and environmental emergency to be factored into all planning decisions.
  • We will establish a new duty on councils to plan and build council homes in their area, and fund them to do so, with backing from national government;
  • We will make brown field sites the priority for development and protect the green belt;
  • We will give local people ‘first dibs’ on new homes built in their area.

Local Economy, Culture and Leisure

  • Labour will stop Crown Post Office closures;
  • Pubs are community hubs but 18 are closing each week in Britain. Labour will list pubs as Assets of Community Value so community groups have the first chance to buy local pubs when they are under threat;
  • Labour will build a properly funded, professionally staffed National Youth Service, and will guarantee every young person has access to local, high-quality youth work;
  • Labour will deliver free full-fibre broadband to all by 2030;
  • Labour will introduce an Arts Pupil Premium to every primary school in England;
  • We will invest in the towns and communities neglected for too long, with a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to transform libraries, museums and galleries across the country;
  • Building on the success of the UK City of Culture, we will launch a Town of Culture competition;
  • Labour will rapidly introduce a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 and over;
  • Self-employed people will benefit from a broad range of our policies, from free childcare and full- fibre broadband to face-to-face lending and business support through our Post Bank;
  • We will also seek to develop tailored support and protections for the self- employed, including: collective income protection insurance schemes, annual income assessments for those on Universal Credit, and better access to mortgages and pension schemes [greater % of self employed in non-urban areas];
  • For small businesses, we will ensure no quarterly reporting for businesses below the VAT threshold;
  • The Conservative’s ‘digital only’ approach to social security is excluding vulnerable people. Labour will end the digital barrier and offer telephone, face-to- face and outreach support. We will recruit 5,000 additional advisors to deliver this;
  • Labour will maintain the ‘triple lock’ and guarantee the Winter Fuel Payment, free TV licences and free bus passes as universal benefits.

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