A Better Plan for Equality - Labour's Manifestos for Women and BAME
A Better Plan for Equality - Labour's Manifestos for Women and BAME.
This week Labour launched its manifestos for women and for the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community. The two documents set out how a Labour Government will enable women and BAME communities to fulfill their potential, as part of a wider plan to raise living standards for working families.
In the manifesto for women it sets out a new commitment announced this week to help grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren, by consulting on allowing grandparents to share in parents' unpaid parental leave, enabling them to take time off work without fear of losing their job.
Parents are increasingly relying on other family members to help them juggle work and childcare, particularly grandparents. More than half of all mothers rely upon grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work after maternity leave, while two-thirds of grandparents with grandchildren aged under-16 provide some childcare. To help grandparents help their families and stay in their jobs, Labour will consult on what flexibilities would make the system work better for families and businesses given changing patterns of care, including allowing grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren to share in parents' unpaid parental leave.
Labour's Manifesto for women also sets out measures to:
- Tackle low pay, by increasing the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
- Tackle the gender pay gap with new pay transparency rules for all large employers.
- Extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents of three and four-year-olds with proper funding from increasing the bank levy.
- Guarantee access for parents of primary-age children to 8am-6pm wraparound childcare through primary schools.
- Protect the Sure Start budget and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.
- Double paid paternity leave from two to four weeks, and increase pay to the equivalent of a full weeks work at the National Minimum Wage so that more families can take up their entitlements.
- Support healthy relationships by introducing age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education.
- Tackle violence against women and girls by appointing a new commissioner to enforce national standards on tackling domestic and sexual abuse, strengthening the law and providing more stable central funding for women's refuges and Rape Crisis Centres.
Similarly, the BAME Manifesto outlines a raft of policies that will ensure that no matter where you come from or what you look like, in this country you should always have the means and opportunity to fulfill your potential.
Key measures include:
- Introducing a cross-departmental race equality strategy to drive progress across Government.
- Ensure a better and more inclusive public services, with our Parliament, police and judiciary representative of the communities they serve.
- Taking tougher action on hate crime, including anti-semitism and Islamophobia.
- Introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people unemployed for over a year, tackling the scandal of disproportionately high BAME youth unemployment.
- Taking action to reduce health inequalities, such as BAME cancer diagnosis and higher mortality rates among many ethnic minority communities.
- Reform stop and search police powers, making stopping somebody based on skin colour illegal.
- Protecting all of our rights under the Human Rights Act.
Commenting on the launches Sharon said:
"These manifestos get to the heart of the issue of equality, bringing forward policies that will benefit not just those directly affected, but everybody in our society."
"Thinking back over the years, we have made such strides as a country in taking action on gender and race inequality, but there is still so much work to do. Today, for example, a woman in 2015 still earns an average of only 81p for every pound a man does, and youth unemployment for young black people is twice as high as it is for young white people. These discrepancies are simply not fair, and they are not just bad for those affected, they are also bad for our economy, as so much talent is being wasted.
Progress can never be achieved by just hoping for the best, and the record of this current Government proves that when you ignore this issue things go backwards. We need a Government that is committed to this fight, and will take the action necessary to help everybody, no matter who they are, achieve more and have all the opportunities they deserve.
The proposals outlined this week will help families here in the North East balance their childcare better, help women escape the trap of low-paid work, will make police powers fairer and restore some trust, will address the issue of violence against women head-on, will underline our fight against hate crime and will make our country lead by example in having more female and BAME representation in public life.
Labour have always led on the issue of equality, and when back in Government I look forward to us undoing the damage of the last five years, and then moving forward, ensuring that gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, will never be a barrier to success in our country."
Here are the links to the BAME and Women's manifestos:
BAME Manifesto: http://b.3cdn.net/labouruk/793b7ec1781c96d97d_nim6bydbn.pdf
Manifesto for Women: http://b.3cdn.net/labouruk/23e5d9b49ea69fc0d4_idm6bh3yq.pdf