I had hoped that by now all the party manifestos would be available for review. It seems that in our new, populist politics that policies don’t really matter that much, and everyone is waiting for a more opportune moment to reveal their plans. The first manifesto off the stocks turns out to be the Labour Party’s, and that’s only because the manifesto has been leaked: I read it via Guido Fawkes’ site. It’s wordy, and there’s a lot of detail on some areas – just not the ones I usually get worked up about.
The main policies on social security are to
- keep the triple lock on pensions
- ‘review’ pension age
- ‘review’ the two child policy
- scrap sanctions
- reverse a series of cuts, such as the bedroom tax and recent cuts to ESA
- replace assessments with a “personalised, holistic assessment process”, and
- restore Universal Credit work allowances.
That looks, then, like a commitment to retain Universal Credit, and indeed most of the current structure of benefits; the biggest commitment is to roll back benefits to how they were five years ago.
On housing, Labour will build more.
On health, the main commitment is to spend more and to cap waiting lists at 18 weeks. For mental health, the main commitment is to spend more proportionally, and to do more about children’s mental health. For social care, care workers will be paid more.
The summary may seem sketchy; so, in my view, are the proposals. There is rather more on transport, business and energy. Nor is there much about general principles, such as liberty, equality, solidarity or democracy. The old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy stuff that excites me is just not what Labour is most concerned with.