The Brighton Blog 2: Nick Palmer – Broxtowe Labour PPC on Labour’s economic challenges #lab13
Broxtowe Labour Parliamentary Candidate Nick Palmer has highlighted some of the challenges facing a future Labour government at the 2015 General Election. The details below were sent to Nick’s e mail list in Broxtowe – which numbers around 3000 constituents.
To contact Nick: NickMP1@aol.com
Office for Budget Responsibility to audit Labour’s manifesto
Labour will ask the Office for Budget Responsibility to independently audit the costings of every spending and tax commitment in Labour’s manifesto at the next election.
In 2015 we stand to inherit a very difficult situation. After three years of lost growth, far from balancing the books, in 2015 there is now set to be a deficit of over £90 billion. So we will have to govern in tough times.
The Government’s day to day spending totals for 2015/16 will have to be our starting point. Any changes to the current spending plans for that year will be fully funded and set out in advance in our manifesto. There will be no additional borrowing for day to day spending. And we will set out tough fiscal rules – to balance the current budget and get the national debt on a downward path.
Ed Balls is today writing to Robert Chote, head of the OBR, asking him to independently audit spending and tax changes in our next manifesto.
Robert Chote has said in the past that he would like to do this and that it would help the independence of the OBR and lead to a more informed debate. The Conservative chair of the Treasury Select Committee agrees and so do we.
This is the first time a Shadow Chancellor – the first time any political party in Britain – has ever said it wants this kind of independent audit. A radical change from what’s gone before, we feel it will help restore trust in politics. It also undermines partisan myths if parties do this – claims that “the other party has a black hole of £x billion” can be exposed as propaganda.
Working parents to get 25-hrs free childcare for 3&4 year-olds
Labour will expand free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents, paid for by an £800m rise in the bank levy.
Childcare costs are part of the cost-of-living crisis families are currently facing. Last year nursery costs rose six times faster than wages.
High childcare costs are squeezing families and making work unaffordable for many parents, particularly women. ASDA’s recent Mumdex survey showed childcare costs prevent 7 in 10 stay-at-home mums working.
But currently some families are losing up to £1,500 a year in support through the childcare element of the working tax credit. In total, the Government have will have taken up to £7 billion a year of support away from families with children by 2015.
See also previous note on school age childcare
Labour will expand free childcare for three and four year olds from 15 to 25 hours per week for working parents. Around 440,000 children aged three or four years old and where all adults in the household are in work would benefit from this policy.
The extra 10 hours of free childcare (on top of the 15-hr early years entitlement) would be available to households with 3 and 4 year-old children where all adults are in work – either single-parent households where the single parent is in work, or couple households with both adults in work.
The 15-hour early years entitlement will remain universal.
As with the 15-hour early years entitlement, the new 25-hour offer is for 38 weeks a year. The value of this extra childcare support is over £1,500 per child per year.
The next Labour government will increase the bank levy rate to raise an extra £800m in order to meet the cost of this extra childcare support for families. In the last financial year, the banks paid a staggering £2.7bn less in overall tax than they did in 2010. Over the last two years the government’s bank levy has raised £1.6 billion less than they said it would. At a time when resources are tight and families are under pressure that cannot be right.
We will be consulting on implementation details such as the definition of being ‘in
work’, or how eligibility would be assessed, to make sure the package works for both parents and childcare providers.
Isn’t this unfair to stay-at-home mums?
Labour has previously created policies like the child tax credit and the early years entitlement to benefit all families with children. But at a time when we need to support jobs in the economy and resources are limited we’re saying the next step in our expansion of the childcare system will be focussed on supporting working parents struggling with childcare costs and parents who want to move into work but where childcare makes it unaffordable.
The Government say their new childcare proposals are better?
What we are announcing is in addition to other support for childcare such as tax credits and tax relief. It should be kept in mind that the Government will have taken £7 billion a year of support away from families with children by 2015.
In 2015 will you keep the Government’s proposed new tax-relief scheme?
Labour introduced tax relief on childcare so we support tax relief. The Government are consulting on their proposals and we’ll look to see what they eventually decide. What we’re announcing today is in addition to tax relief.
And a non-announcement, in response to a newspaper scare story:
Is Labour looking at taking Child Benefit away from families who refuse to give their children the MMR vaccine?
No. This proposal is not part of the Policy Review.