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Snap Election 2017: at a glance

Posted by: Lauren Cox 23 May 17  | Current Issues |  Government

It was a manifesto-packed week last week, with all parties outlining their key focus areas in a bid to win the General Election on Thursday, 8th June.

In a true battle of yellow, orange, blue, red, purple and green, it’s hard to keep up with who’s promising what in this snap Election. In an effort to win over the public on Friday, Tory Theresa May was at a manifesto launch in Edinburgh, whilst Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn met pensioners in an attempt to safeguard their votes and both the Lib Dems and SNP were busy campaigning across the UK.

With every party promising to have our best interests at heart, what do they have in store for the Public Sector?

Social Care

The social care crisis has been a long-standing emergency and one that every party addresses in their manifestos.

The Labour party pave pledged to invest £8billion in social care, extending the stay threshold for young people in care until they’re 21 and refocusing children’s social care through working with families in local areas and early intervention. This will ultimately look at tackling the increasing number of young care leavers, by which Government reports believe this to have risen by over 40% in the last decade.

Jeremy Corbyn has also promised to tackle issues around the 1.2 million older people’s needs which currently remain unmet. With austerity in mental health services currently impacting school budgets, they look to ensure that all children in secondary schools will have access to a counselling service.

Theresa May, Conservative Prime Minister, has promised to tackle the rising cost of adult social care in the Tory manifesto. As well as scrapping a planned £72,000 cap on care costs, due in 2020, she has devised a plan around allowing people with assets of more than £100,000 having to pay for their care. In a drastic turn of events yesterday, however, the Prime Minister has suggested that the package would now include a limit on the money people would have to pay - triggering accusations of a manifesto meltdown.

However, Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb believes, "Elderly people the length of Britain will shudder at these care cost proposals. Many elderly people currently will face the cruel situation of having to sell their home when they die to fund residential care home costs. Now the frail and elderly receiving care in their own home will face what is a 'personal death tax' charged against their home. And the more help you need, the more Theresa May will snatch away when you die."

In contrast, the Lib Dem policy is looking to transform mental health care through tackling the stigma, lessening waiting times and decreasing the amount elderly people are required to pay for social care.

Tim Farron promises to do so in a number of ways; in taking a cognitive approach, he’s looking to increase access to mental health talking therapies, as well as offering early support for pregnant women and increasing funding for the LGBT+ community. In addressing the skills gap, he’s looking to “fast-track exceptional graduates into children's social work and encourage high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in mental health social work.”

Education

Another structure in desperate need of assistance, Labour are pledging £25billion for education, which will be funded by extra tax revenue. However, does this mean tax will increase?

They’re looking to reinstate EMA, with Jeremy Corbyn stating that the NES (National Education Service) aim to make education a right and not a privilege. He promises to reduce class sizes for five, six, and seven-year-olds and offer free school meals for all primary school children, paid for by removing the VAT exemption on private school fees.

Contradictorily, the Conservatives aim to provide an extra £4billion to schools in England by 2022, funded by the sacrificing of free school meals for infants. In addition to this, there will be the introduction of a new funding formula which will be designed to give more money to schools who need it.

Liberal Democrat’s Tim Farron has pledged an investment of almost £7billion into education UK-wide, opposing new selective schools and giving local authorities control over admissions and new schools. They’re favouring ideas around tackling teacher workloads and reforming Ofsted inspections, as well as increasing support for SEN/D as early as possible. 

According to Ofsted, better vocational experience and training in schools would significantly reduce youth unemployment. As such, the Lib Dems have pledged to improve the quality of vocational education and increase the number of businesses that offer apprenticeships by more than 50%.

Housing

Housing has briefly been touched upon in the manifestos; the Conservatives have expressed a commitment to build 1.5 million homes by 2022. By little contrast, the Liberal Democrats have promised to build up to 300,000 homes every year by 2022, including the enforcement of building houses on unwanted public sector land.

The Labour party have gone one further, promising to build 100,000 new homes for rent/buy with over 500,000 homes for social rent. They’re also looking to go ahead with the banning of agency fees for tenants in order to make property more affordable.

Brexit

High on everyone’s agenda for the 2017 Election is the subject of Brexit. Will we? Won’t we?

Whilst the Lib Dems pose a revote, Jeremy Corbyn has promised to accept the EU referendum result as gospel, maintaining a close new relationship with the EU following fresh negotiation priorities based on jobs and worker’s rights. In doing so, he also promises to avoid the cliff edge for the UK economy.

After initiating Brexit in the first instance, the Tory government have proposed extensive plans for the departure from the EU, according to the BBC:

  • Exit the European single market and customs union but seek a "deep and special partnership" including comprehensive free trade and customs agreement
  • Vote in both Houses of Parliament on "final agreement" for Brexit
  • Agree terms of future partnership with EU alongside withdrawal, both within the two years allowed under Article 50
  • Remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the next parliament
  • Repeal or replace the Human Rights Act "while the process of Brexit is under way" ruled out, although consideration will be given to the UK's "human rights legal framework" when Brexit concludes
  • Reduce and control immigration from Europe after Brexit
  • Seek to replicate all existing EU free trade agreements

As it stands, the Conservatives are ahead, but Labour are slowly closing the gap as their advance strengthens. With the BBC taking polls on a weekly basis, it will be interesting to see if they gap tightens. Watch this space!



 

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