I know lots of people haven’t made up their minds about how to vote at the general election on May 6th, and many others might not vote at all because they’re fed up with politics and politicians.
But this election matters. It’s about the future of local jobs and businesses; it’s about how we continue to improve our local schools and NHS; and it’s about ensuring all our communities are decent, safe places to live in.
Labour’s manifesto – launched today – doesn’t make big new spending commitments, and people wouldn’t believe us if we did! But it does set out real, practical proposals that will make life easier and fairer for people living in Leicester West. Here are just a few of the highlights:
More and better jobs
• Tackling unemployment by guaranteeing a job, education or training place for every young person who has been unemployed for over 6 months, and guaranteeing work for people who are over 25 years old and have been unemployed for more than 2 years.
• Growing the jobs of the future by investing in skills, science, our transport infrastructure and IT broadband for all.
Help for families
• The minimum wage rising at least in line with average earnings; a new Toddler Tax Credit of £4 a week from 2012 whether parents choose to stay at home or work; increasing paternity pay from 2 to 4 weeks; the right to choose a GP in your area offering evening and weekend opening; expanding free nursery places for 2 year olds and increasing investment in Sure Start
• Improving education by making sure struggling schools get extra help from Heads and teachers from excellent schools; giving ‘golden handcuffs’ to attract the best teachers to the most challenging schools; and guaranteeing personal tuition for every child at primary school who is falling behind.
• Improving local housing by building more council homes, giving more help to homeowners and first-time buyers, and improving rights for people who rent from private landlords.
Better care for older people
• A new National Care Service to end the postcode lottery of social care, starting with free personal care at home for those with the greatest needs, and a cap on the costs of residential care.
• Re-linking the state pension to earnings by 2012 and keeping winter fuel payments at the higher rate this year of £250 for every household with someone over 60, and £400 for every household with someone over 80.
Making all our communities safe
• Tackling crime and anti-social behaviour including through a guaranteed response to ASB complaints within 24 hours, Community Payback schemes, banning irresponsible drinks promotions, and doubling the availability of organised youth activities on Friday and Saturday nights.
• Giving people more opportunities to hold their local police to account and set priorities in their area, through monthly beat meetings, online crime maps and online report cards on police performance.
You can read the full manifesto by clicking here.