Manifesto 2019:Tackle Poverty and Inequality - Work

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Work


Work should provide a decent life for all, guaranteeing not just dignity and respect in the workplace, but also the income and leisure time to allow for a fulfilling life outside it.

Under the Tories, pay has stagnated while insecurity and inequality are rising.

Work no longer guarantees a way out of poverty. Of 14.3 million people in poverty, nine million live in families where at least one adult works. Real wages are still lower than before the financial crisis, while dividends paid to shareholders are up 85%.

Labour will eradicate in-work poverty in our first term by tackling the structural causes of poverty and inequality, such as low pay and high living costs, while raising the floor provided by our social safety net.

Too many people have found themselves in a spiral of debt as wages fell and housing costs rose. Labour will cap the total amount that can be paid in overdraft fees or interest on a loan.

We will rapidly introduce a Real Living Wage of at least £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 and over, and use savings to public finances to help small businesses manage the extra cost.

We will give workers a stake in the companies they work for – and a share of the profits they help create – by requiring large companies to set up Inclusive Ownership Funds (IOFs). Up to 10% of a company will be owned collectively by employees, with dividend payments distributed equally among all, capped at £500 a year, and the rest being used to top up the Climate Apprenticeship Fund. The cap will rise to ensure that no more than 25% of dividends raised by IOFs are redistributed in this way.

And we will explore other innovative ways of responding to low pay, including a pilot of Universal Basic Income.

Growing numbers of the workforce are self-employed. While for some this brings freedom and autonomy, it can also bring insecurity. Self-employed people will benefit from a broad range of our policies, from free childcare and full-fibre broadband to face-to-face lending and business support through our Post Bank.

We will also seek to develop tailored support and protections for the self- employed, including: collective income protection insurance schemes, annual income assessments for those on Universal Credit, and better access to mortgages and pension schemes.

We will tackle late payments that leave small businesses and the self-employed waiting months to be paid, including banning late payers from public procurement.