Giving Back Control: Union Blue Manifesto
Today Union Blue (formally the Conservative Workers & Trade Unionists) have published our leadership manifesto – Giving Back Control.
The manifesto contains 50 policies which will unleash a capital owning democracy – one where everyone believes that they can be a part of the system.
Union Blue does not support any particular candidate and wishes both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt the best as they make their pitches to members.
or look at the recommendations below.
- Today many people do not believe that there is a connection between the success of the economy and success in their own lives. That is why we need a set of policies to help unleash a capital owning democracy – one where everyone believes that they can be a part of.
People need to feel the end of austerity
- There must a decisive end to austerity and this finale has to be more significant than changing colours on a spreadsheet. People need to understand and feel the new economic settlement.
- The next Budget should introduce a new rule – not to increase the level of debt, up until the 2022 general election. After nine years of austerity now is the right time to reward those who have had to cope with the consequences of sliced budgets.
Creating the best business environment in the World
- The best way to solve the low pay crisis, the social care crisis and the social divisions within Britain is improve productivity, improve the skills base and help workers feel connected to economic growth.
- The Government’s policies on the future of work and social mobility should help to create a positive cycle where investment follows skills which then attracts further investment that can be utilised by ever improving skills.
- Policies should be focused on helping organisations to invest in mechanisms, technology and our people, so that Britain is known to have laid the foundations for every great business opportunity.
- The first fiscal act of the new Conservative government should be to cut corporate tax rates, so they are cheaper than Ireland’s. This will send a message to global companies that Britain is the premier Western economy to invest in.
- The Government’s goal must be to achieve the same level of productivity increases that were achieved before the financial crisis, then aiming to become the most productive country in the Western hemisphere.
- The Government must cut tax on business investments. Britain currently has one the most hostile tax policies in the world for manufacturing and other capital-intensive business.
- Fixing the housing crisis is also vital for improving productivity. One of the consequences of unaffordable housing is that people cannot afford to take jobs where they might be most productive.
- All Government departments and non-departmental agencies should be expected to sign-up to the Social Mobility Pledge. Those who bid for large Government contracts and funding should have to evidence their commitment to social mobility.
Capital to the people
- The Government should act positively to encourage people to have ownership of our economy, so we can all succeed together.
- The Government should aim to have 1,000 UK firms that operate an employee ownership model by 2025. This target should be owned by the Secretary of State for Business. Some of the incentives the Government could offer to achieve a growth in employee ownership are:
- Offer relief from employer’s NI when a company decides to offer free shares to employees.
- Encourage investors to put their money into employee-owned enterprises through Capital Gains Tax relief.
- Government should offer professional advice and support to groups of workers who are considering employee-ownership models.
- Workers should be encouraged to play an active role in the success of their organisation. Businesses should not be able to stop unions advertising their services in the workplace. In exchange, however, trade unions should be encouraged to show that they want to concentrate on workplace matters and represent all workers by ditching party political affiliation.
- If unions wanted to remain political that would be their choice, but it would come with disadvantages: for example, politically independent worker groups would benefit from a tax status equivalent to charities and have to follow a less stringent reporting regime than political trade unions, encouraging depoliticised employee engagement.
- The Government needs to do more to help local communities takeover used spaces and make them into places that work for the locality.
- The Government should produce a comprehensive and coherent change programme, one which makes clear how it will support communities to take power way from them.
- This support should include:
- Making more funds available to social enterprises.
- Providing professional advice and support to social enterprises that want to grow.
- Stimulating networks to share good practice/experiences.
- Increasing public understanding of their ability to own and run community assets
Always having the skills to succeed
- The world of work is changing rapidly. We need to make sure that we have the right education and training system in place.
- Having a strong skills strategy will not just help the economy to grow, it will also help workers to be more resilient and feel more secure in the face of challenges presented by the future of work.
- A successful technical, vocational and life-long learning programme can only be delivered if the major actors work in partnership.
- The Government should help make it easy for people to manage their learning needs and provide support for them to invest in themselves. The skills infrastructure must be adaptive and open and give workers the power to up skill in the way they wish to. Advice should be provided so workers can best judge how to update their skills in line with changes in economic demand.
- Each person should have a personal learning account, bringing together all the information and resources a person needs and provide a flexible skills budget for every potential learner. Workers will be able to contribute to their personal learning account and have an extra 32% (an average worker’s marginal tax rate) added to their balance by Government, up to a maximum limit.
- These personal learning accounts would only be drawn upon to pay for Further education colleges’ accredited courses and qualifications, giving these institutions a much-needed injection of funding.
- The Government should support the wider adoption of the Mid-Life MOT, which will support people to make decisions about their long-term financial health, leading to improved financial security and less stress for staff.
- First-rate careers guidance should also be provided, delivered by appropriately trained professionals. This will allow people to judge how best to use their attributes and which new skills to acquire.
- The Government must make the growth of degree apprenticeships a strategic priority. To help increase the quality and status of apprenticeships the Government should:
- increase incentive funding for small and medium-sized businesses and social enterprises to take on apprentices,
- offer extra support to those who recruit young and disadvantaged apprentices
- introduce bursaries and student-type loans to cover transport and/or housing costs higher-level apprenticeships.
- introduce a proper UCAS-style portal for technical education to simplify the application process and encourage progression to further training at higher levels.
Small business is beautiful
- There must be a cultural shift in departments, to prioritise keeping public sector contracts as small as possible to ensure contracting with as wide range of providers as possible.
- Government departments should be mandated to break-up contracts so SMEs, local charities and co-operatives can bid for contracts. This would give wider opportunities to people to create and grow businesses within regions across the UK.
- The quality of the data available on procurement and outsourcing is poor. Better data should lead to more people and organisations seeing the opportunities of winning Government contracts.
- Funding for LEPs should be, in part, dependent upon them demonstrating that they are organising effective local advice networks for the self-employed. This should include advice on how to run joint bids.
- How small businesses access finance needs to be reviewed then improved so that SMEs are able to win contracts that will help them to expand. We need a system which encourages the building of economic and social entities from below.
Enhancing and enforcing workers’ rights
- Having a good, fair and safe working environment is critical to having a successful economy.
- A Labour Market Authority (LMA) should be able to conduct inquiries into sectors deemed vulnerable to illegal behaviour towards workers. It should be able to carry out investigations to see whether workers in particular organisations or sectors are being treated appropriately. The LMA will have the power to:
- Provide information to help people and businesses to understand their rights and responsibilities.
- Conduct investigations into areas of high concern, to monitor the effectiveness of employment law and highlight improvements.
- Investigate specific areas of risks to quickly ensure that employment legislation is being complied with.
- Punish those who do not abide by employment legislation and regulation.
- The 330,000 civil service employees in England & Wales should have the right to the same amount of parental paid and unpaid time off, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how they became a parent.
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDA) should never be used to prevent the reporting of harassment, criminal behaviour or public interest concerns.
- If organisations are found to have ignored a pattern of harassment then they could face big fines, on the same level as serious Health & Safety breaches. Nobody should work in an environment where they do not feel safe.
Welcome to Union Blue – our mission is to reach out to all workers and trade unionists in our country. We are focused on improving employment rights, tackling low pay, helping to raise productivity and supporting even greater employment satisfaction for all. I very much hope you will join us in our important work in the coming weeks, months and years.