Labour has pledged to increase funding to local authorities and review council finance in its manifesto.
Launching his blueprint for government, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn promised he would review ‘reforming council tax and business rates, and consider new options such as land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long-term’.
The next prime minister? Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Calling itself the ‘party of devolution,’ Labour pledged to hand back power to communities and devolve economic development powers ‘complete with the necessary funding’.
And in a move to address the growing imbalance of devolution, Corbyn’s party plans to create a new role of minister for England, sitting under the communities secretary, and to bring back the Government’s regional offices to ‘increase contact between central and local government’.
The manifesto reads: ‘Labour will be guided by public opinion when determining whether to include directly-elected mayors in future devolution deals.’
However, the manifesto also pledges centralisation of social care, with plans for a National Care Service.
The document continues: ‘The National Care Service will be built alongside the NHS, with a shared requirement for single commissioning, partnership arrangements, pooled budgets and joint working arrangements.
‘We will build capacity to move quickly towards a joined-up service that will signpost users to all the appropriate services at the gateway through which they arrive.’
Labour has promised to address the lack of funding for social care, with an extra £8bn funding over the parliament, including £1bn in the first year.
The director of the NLGN think-tank, Adam Lent, suggested the manifesto ‘lacks a coherent or inspiring vision for local government or devolution’.
He said: ‘The most ambitious policies ask significant questions about the role of place, councils and communities: such as the National Care Service, National Education Service, the £250bn infrastructure programme, the million new homes pledge and the constitutional convention.
'All will have significant impacts on local government.
'However, how these will work in practice for councils is not answered in the manifesto.’
Labour has pledged to:
- Protect libraries
- Bolster planning rules and give people more say over their town centres
- End to 15-minute care visits
- Increase carers allowance
- Scrap the NHS pay cap
- Give £30bn extra to the NHS, paid for by taxing high earners and taxing medical insurance
- Create an Office of Budget Responsibility and Health
- Reverse privatisation of health services and cut management consultancy fees
- Invest in infrastructure, including HS2
- Establish a constitutional convention
This article first appeared on themj.co.uk.