Like the NHS, our social security system is there for all of us in our time of need, providing security and dignity in retirement and the basics in life should we become sick or disabled, or fall on hard times.
Dignity for pensioners
Labour will always be on the side of pensioners and help ensure security and dignity for older people in retirement.
As the Conservatives abandon their commitments to older people, Labour will guarantee the state pension ‘triple lock’ throughout the next Parliament. It will rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year or be increased to keep pace with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
The Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes will also be guaranteed as universal benefits.
We will protect the pensions of UK citizens living overseas in the EU or further afield. Over 2.5 million women born in the 1950s have had their state pension age changed without fair notification. These women deserve both recognition for the injustice they have suffered and some kind of compensation for their losses.
Alongside our commitment to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women, Labour is exploring options for further transitional protections, to ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.
This must never happen again. Labour will legislate so that accrued rights to the basic state pension cannot be changed, but future benefits can.
We will commission a new review of the pension age, specifically tasked with developing a flexible retirement policy to reflect both the contributions made by people, the wide variations in life expectancy, and the arduous conditions of some work.
We’ll restore confidence in the workplace pension system and put people rather than profit at its centre. Labour will end rip-off hidden fees and charges, and enable the development of large efficient pensions funds, which will mean more cash for scheme members and lower costs for employers.
A Labour government will commit to an immediate review of the mineworkers’ pension scheme and British Coal superannuation scheme surplus, sharing arrangements between government and scheme beneficiaries.
Dignity for those who cannot work
Poverty in Britain is rising due to the Conservatives’ attempts to balance the books on the backs of the poorest. They have slashed social security over the last seven years, leaving more people in poverty, subject to a punitive sanctions regime, and reliant on food banks.
Labour will act immediately to end the worst excesses of the Conservative government’s changes. We will:
- Scrap the punitive sanctions regime
- Scrap the Bedroom Tax
- Reinstate Housing Benefit for under-21s
- Scrap cuts to Bereavement Support Payment.
The cuts to work allowances in Universal Credit (UC), and the decision to limit tax credit and UC payments to the first two children in a family, are an attack on low-income families and will increase child poverty. Labour will reform and redesign UC, ending six-week delays in payment and the ‘rape clause’.
The Tories have completely failed on their promise of making work pay and on tackling the barriers to work faced by people with disabilities.
Labour supports a social model of disability. People may have a condition or an impairment but they are disabled by society. We need to remove the barriers in society that restrict opportunities and choices for people with disabilities.
We will build on the previous Labour government’s commitment to people with disabilities in 2009 as signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and incorporate it into UK law.
Labour will repeal the following cuts in social security support to people with disabilities through a new Social Security Bill published in our first year in office. We will:
- Increase Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group, and repeal cuts in the UC limited capacity for work element.
- Increase Carer’s Allowance by £11 to the level of Jobseekers’ Allowance.
- Implement the court decision on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) so that there is real parity of esteem between those with physical and mental-health conditions.
- Scrap the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process that provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers. Labour will end the privatisation of assessments.
- End the pointless stress of reassessments for people with severe long-term conditions.
- Commission a report into expanding the Access to Work programme.
We will change the culture of the social security system, from one that demonises people not in work to one that is supportive and enabling.
As well as scrapping the Conservatives’ punitive sanctions regime, we will change how Jobcentre Plus staff are performance-managed.
Labour will strengthen access to justice for people with disabilities by enhancing the 2010 Equality Act, enabling discrimination at work to be challenged. We will ensure that under the Istanbul Convention, disability hate crime and violence against women with disabilities is reported annually, with national action plans to address these issues.
Link to full manifesto (PDF)
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