Institute commentary on the Labour Party manifesto
After a draft version of the Labour Party manifesto was already leaked last week, the Party has now published their full manifesto and it is committing itself to do a lot of consultations if it wins the General Election.
Take for instance its promise to consult on “establishing an environmental tribunal with simplified procedures to hear challenges to unlawful government decisions, like those made on the air quality strategy, without engaging in prohibitively expensive processes.” It is important to note that there already is a planning court in place but the prospect of avoiding spending a fortune on legal expenses will certainly be appealing to a great many. Will such a court, however, only be applicable to environmental cases or will its remit expand to other areas?
The Rescue & Fire Services across the UK, not immune to cuts, are promised a consultation on national minimum standards for the service. According to the manifesto, 1000s of firefighter jobs were cut since 2010 and from what we see in local media outlets is that many people are concerned this leads to slower response times and even deaths.
Another important commitment to highlight is Labour’s proposal to establish a Constitutional Convention to examine and advise on reforming the way “Britain works at a fundamental level.” What this in practice will mean is that the Convention will look at extending democracy locally, regionally and on a national level, considering the option of a more federalised country (i.e. Devolution XL). It suggests ending the hereditary principle and reducing the size of the current House of Lords as part of a “wider package of constitutional reform to address the growing democratic deficit across Britain.” Labour would also like to extend the FoI Act to private companies that run public services, something that doesn’t excite the minds of many consultors but it does for consultees.
Other commitments include consulting on the introduction of new legislation to amend existing company law; introducing teacher sabbaticals and placements with industry; to consult on legislation for statutory bereavement leave and redundancy leaves; a consultation on breaking-up the RBS bank; introducing new rules on minimum space standards to prevent ‘rabbit hutch’ properties; and to consult on ways to ensure better enforcement of animal welfare standards.
In total, 18 references are made to consultation, compared to just 1 in its 2015 manifesto. In that year, Labour committed itself only to consult on creating a statutory requirement for all private companies to report cyber-attacks threatening UK infrastructure. Just how many public consultations it will actually intend to run is something we’ll only know after 8th June.
The Conservative Party manifesto is expected to be launched later this week so readers can look forward to a commentary on that as well!