Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour Party believes in building a fairer community that works for the many, not the few. That means building the homes we need to rent and buy, keeping our communities safe, giving our schools the funding they need and restoring our local healthcare services.
One of the Labour Party’s proudest achievements is the creation of our National Health Service. On a national scale, Labour will invest in our NHS to ensure that staff have the resources to give patients the quality of care they need.
The Labour Party will also fund free hospital parking in NHS England. Particularly in Hereford, where our County Hospital was found to have one of the most expensive parking charges (according to a Freedom of Information request in January 2018), removing these charges will not only benefit visitors, but also the hardworking staff who work within the hospitals.
Mental ill-health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. Around one-in-four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Yet, since 2010, mental health funding has been cut. In order to protect services the Labour Party will protect mental health budgets.
Despite rising demand, care services have been privatised at an alarming rate. In recent years, one-in-ten people reaching the age of 65 has faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000 with some homeowners paying the entire value of their homes. With 24% of the population in Herefordshire aged 65 years or above, compared to 18% nationally, it is even more important to us that we oppose cuts to our care services.
Under Conservative government, nearly £400 million has been cut from youth services and over 600 youth centres have closed nationwide. Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour Party firmly believe it is of paramount importance to oppose any cuts to youth services.
Libraries are vital social assets that are valued by communities across the country. Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour Party has been an active force in trying to stop the privatisation of Herefordshire’s library, museum and archives.
Labour will give our community more power to shape our town centres by strengthening powers to protect post offices, community pharmacies, high street banks, sports clubs, pubs and independent stores, and by promoting new measures to decrease high-street vacancies. This is vital for our county as recent data released by the Local Data Company showed that Hereford saw the biggest increase in store closures in the West Midlands in 2017.
The Labour Party will make sure schools are properly resourced. By introducing free school meals for all primary school children and counselling to all schools, this will go a long way to improving the physical and mental health of the future generation.
Since 2010, house building has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s, rough sleeping has risen every year and rents have risen faster than incomes. Nationally, Labour has committed to building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.
Labour will also scrap the bedroom tax, which has caused many people to be evicted from their home and their community, along with a full reversal of the cruel decision to abolish housing benefit for people aged 18 to 21, which risks putting even more vulnerable young people on our streets.
With South Herefordshire’s ageing population in mind, we will ensure that local plans provide affordable housing in line with the needs of older generations.
Labour will invest in a modern, accessible and sustainable transport system that is both reliable and affordable. Labour will prioritise public service over private profit, starting with bringing our railways back in to public ownership and introducing regulations that protect vital bus routes, including those that serve our local schools, hospitals and isolated rural parishes.
The Conservative Party promised to protect our police. Instead they have slashed 21,000 police officers across the UK, including 374 police officers and 56 police community support officers from West Mercia. Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour will stand up for the safety of our communities and against any further cuts to our police force.
WORK AND FAMILY LIFE
Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour feels strongly about the right to provide for your family. By making the Minimum Wage reflect a real Living Wage, this gives greater flexibility to hard working parents to give their families a better quality of life.
Through the Labour Party’s work with trade unions, we will end workplace exploitation. Labour plans to ban zero-hour contracts so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
The national Labour Party also pledges to increase paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay, because fathers deserve to spend more time with their new children.
The introduction of another four national bank holidays will also allow more families to spend time together, helping with the work-life balance.
Labour will always be on the side of pensioners and help ensure security and dignity for older people in retirement. The Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes will be guaranteed as universal benefits.
From bringing forward the Hunting Act to protecting the treatment of domestic animals under the Animal Welfare Act, Labour has always placed the welfare of animals high on the policy agenda.
The Labour Party will work with care home providers and advocate groups to explore the potential for elderly and disabled people who move in to care homes to be able to keep their pets.
The Labour Party will protect British wildlife by closing loopholes within the Hunting Act that allow for illegal fox and hare hunting as well as bringing an end to the badger cull which resulted in the killing of 394 badgers across Herefordshire in 2017.
In as rural of a county as ours, we understand how important policies on agriculture and farming are to many of our members. The Labour Party has pledged to roll-out mandatory CCTV in all UK slaughterhouses, end the use of cages on British farms, and design post-Brexit farm subsidies to move away from factory farming.
The Labour Party will also introduce mandatory labelling of meat to include details on the method of production and slaughter.
The Labour Party takes issues of public health very seriously, which is why we will introduce guidelines to end the use of antibiotics for routine, preventative purposes with farm animals. Anti-microbial resistance is becoming an increasing problem which is leading to antibiotics being less effective.
With the plan for post-Brexit Britain still fraught with uncertainty, many farmers and EU national’s livelihoods hang in the balance. The Labour Party will allow EU workers employed within the farming and food manufacturing industries to remain in the UK and reinstate the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.
The Labour Party is proud to have more women MPs in parliament than all the other parties put together. The Hereford and South Herefordshire Labour Party membership also reflects this with ten of our thirteen positions on the local Executive Committee held by women.
Labour has a proud record nationally of championing LGBT equality. Labour will bring into law that hate crimes based on LGBT discrimination are in line with hate crimes based on race and faith by making them aggravated offences.
The Labour Party is the party of equality. We seek to build a society free from all forms of inequality and discrimination, whether it’s directed at age, gender, race or beliefs.
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