The elections taking place across Great Britain on 6 May will be decisive for the country, and for Labour. Ahead of the vote, Labour:COAST&COUNTRY has prepared a manifesto for our town, village and coastal communities. We are encouraging Labour candidates standing for local, regional and national office to sign up to these principles as a commitment to the British people. Please get in touch with us if you have further thoughts or ideas.
Labour’s Offer to Britain’s towns, villages and coastal community
Over 60% of the population live in smaller conurbations, towns and rural areas. History shows how well, given the chance, Labour can represent seats in all types of places. We are passionate to understand and deliver for the needs of local communities, given how poorly served they have been by over a decade of Conservative-led government, and the stake we all have in each other’s wellbeing. This is what the people in those communities have told us.
Britain is wonderfully diverse, with villages and market towns set in fine landscapes, from the mountainous uplands through to magnificent coastlines. Covid has scarred all of our communities, revealing the need for strong and effective public services, especially in health and social care, highlighting the things that bind us together at home and work, and reinforcing the need for action that helps local business thrive.
Livelihoods – Flourishing Local Distinctiveness
Many people run their own small business and countless are finding the effects of Covid lockdowns and the new bureaucracy around trade extremely challenging. Strengthening resilience in local economies means giving businesses support to develop, as well as providing training opportunities for young people and returning adults. Successful local businesses are key to what makes our towns and villages flourish.
Britain’s rich tapestry of towns and villages is a national treasure. Lockdowns have left us more intimately rooted in our places, seeing our local area anew. We need to recognise, protect and enhance those features that make places distinctive, including local pubs, leisure, the arts, high streets, local products and services, its heritage and environmental assets. Guarding against everywhere becoming the same by keeping places special strengthens local pride, helping everyone thrive.
Being able to thrive is a good route to wellbeing, and good quality health, education and work opportunities are essential. People want decent access to services, and much better responsiveness from service providers. And as Town & Parish Councils across the country will know, as more and more people walk locally, there are renewed needs for improved traffic management, footpath maintenance and general environmental quality, as access to nature and green space all add to our wellbeing and quality of life.
Covid has shown how dependent we now are on digital connectivity for work, for family and wellbeing. Frustratingly, too many of us cannot access the digital infrastructure we will need, be that for home schooling, remote working, or the green opportunities becoming ubiquitous, from smart meters, green transport, to local renewables. Connectivity is essential to everyone’s wellbeing and a thriving livelihood.
To meet these needs, and reflect its nationwide ambitions, Labour should:
- Strengthen opportunity – with targeted support for the self-employed and small local business
- Create The Coastal University to support training, reskilling for every age in every coastal community
- Support distinctiveness – with a recovery ‘Pride in Place’ grant of £50,000 for each Community Council
- Set minimum service standards of access for all public services and essential utilities
- Ensure hassle-free full fibre connectivity for every community, prioritising places without a bus service
Labour’s commitment is to protect livelihoods and wellbeing, strengthen bonds between people and communities, and make our localities places we can be truly proud of. Key to that are Connections. Labour will connect communities of coast and country to opportunities that help them thrive, and strengthen local pride.