Manifesto Watch 2015: Labour

April 13, 2015 at 17:09

CFG’s analysis of the party manifestos starts with Labour, which unveiled its manifesto today.

Britain can be better – The Labour Party Manifesto 2015

Summary of policies affecting charities:

Sector-wide

  • Support for charities and social enterprises in creating social value and supporting the social economy
  • Large companies to publish gender pay gaps
  • National Minimum Wage to be raised to £8 an hour by October 2019
  • Supporting the Living Wage through government procurement, alongside wider social impact considerations
  • Cutting and then freezing business rates
  • Repeal the Lobbying Act

Local government

  • Multi-year budgets for local authorities
  • Local Public Accounts Committees to be set up to scrutinise local spending
  • Extend the Freedom of Information Act to all organisations carrying out public services
  • An ‘English New Deal’ on devolved public services with more local engagement for designing services

Health & Social Care

  • More ‘pooled budgeting’ across areas such as health, social care and mental health
  • 5,000 new home-care workers to help people get back into and stay in their homes

Education & Young People

  • Open Sure Start Centres up to charities and other local childcare providers to help services co-locate and integrate
  • A new National Primary Childcare Service to promote voluntary and charitable delivery of quality extracurricular activities
  • Directors of School Standards to be created to oversee education in local communities and commission new school places
  • Support for volunteering through ‘Step up To Serve’ and National Citizen Service

Policing/Criminal Justice

  • Abolishing Police and Crime Commissioners

Arts

  • Free Admission to Museums and Galleries to be retained
  • A new Prime Minister’s Committee on Arts, Culture and Creative Industries

Political/Constitutional

  • A Constitutional Convention involving citizen participation to decide future governance of the UK

Analysis for charities

There are a number of areas which charities will need to plan for in a Labour-led government.

On a practical level, under a Labour-led government, charities would need to plan ahead for higher staffing costs through rises in the National Minimum Wage (if that applies to them) and also the Living Wage, if they are engaged in public service delivery. Larger charities (assuming that large companies would include large charities) would also have to consider their gender pay ratios and consider gathering data.

Labour has also committed to cutting and then freezing business rates, that would have a positive impact for those charities that do not receive 100% rate relief although it is unclear how significant a cut this would be. VAT increases have also been ruled out which should mean that irrecoverable VAT burden would not rise.

On local government and health, there is clearly a move towards integration. The introduction of more pooled budgeting, multi-year funding for local authorities and breaking down silos in health and social care could benefit charities that work in a more holistic fashion. An ‘English New Deal’ could also give charities the opportunity to be more engaged in the redesign of services, an issue which is often raised by the sector.

For public service delivery charities in general, the expansion of the Freedom of the Information Act to all bodies delivering public services could also be significant and would involve additional compliance work for charities.

On education, there are opportunities for charities with the expansion of child care and encouraging charitable provision of extracurricular activities. Although there is little detail on how this would operate in practice.

The abolition of Police and Crime Commissioners would also change the commissioning framework for charities working in public safety, and would mean having to build new relationships with successor bodies.

Notably social investment is not mentioned in the manifesto, which is in contrast to the Conservatives who it is believed will be putting social investment in their manifesto.

Charity Finance Group has released a briefing for charity members on its priorities for the next government which you can read here.