UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Pump House Manifesto for a Visionary Alternative

The despair at the lack of Labour’s vision for a progressive agenda led (unapologetically) to the pub – the Pump House in fact at Liverpool Albert Docks. Sitting with a couple of good comrades we decided that if Ed the Moribund couldn’t commit to change then we would start the ball rolling. Accepting that this is not about a revolution tomorrow (the nearest we got to that was scribbling this on a copy of the Morning Star) it is an attempt to talk in language voters will get.

1. Build 500,000 council houses
Why? Because we can! It is a five year plan. 100,000 per year. New technology for speed building and greener homes will create jobs for workers and boost the economy’s green credentials, reduce fuel poverty and get down council house waiting lists. Do this through councils – not fragmented expensive to administer and destined to fail fragmented housing plans with private sector involvement. We don’t want to rebuild sink estates – we want decent council homes for all who need them. Investing in decent homes will reduce ill-health and poverty and in the long term cost the public purse less than the inadequate ways we manage the dire consequences of poor housing. It will boost local economies.

2. Invest in green technologies
Why? To put Britain back into manufacturing and stem the decline in manufacturing jobs. Make quality, skilled, green jobs the future strategy for growth. To include transport infrastructure, fleet and supplies, renewable energy and the consequential development of distribution and storage solutions so we can export our products.

3. Reduce tuition fees to 2010 levels but match every university place with a school leaver apprenticeship or training placement.
Why? Because University still eludes many schools leavers and we can’t ignore a whole generation leaving school without the opportunity to go into other careers. Tuition fees need to be abolished altogether but we need time to implement fair taxation to properly fund universal free education but we should honour at least the promises we made on keeping fees affordable.

4. Properly regulate energy companies to control utilities exploiting their customers.
Why?: We can rebalance the energy supply markets with green clean fuel and effective regulation of energy companies – but we need to have realistic levels of green energy to play a stronger hand with the rip-off utilities and address future energy security for consumers and businesses. We can promise and deliver lower household bills. Show us a voter who does not want that?

5. Create one million jobs for the unemployed
Why and how? See all of the above!

How do we pay?

End the tax dodgers and implement fair taxation – there are not enough super rich to vote us down but there are plenty of working voters – yes new labour darlings even ‘middle England’ voters who will benefit from growth fuelled by fair taxation, fair energy prices, better housing and tax receipts going into the treasury rather than exploiting kids going to university, families facing ridiculous fuel and energy costs and a generation unable to flee the parental nests because we don’t have enough houses. Build homes, reduce household bills and get people back into work.

Anna Rose