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LABOUR’S left has set out an alternative Queen’s Speech to “build a fairer, healthier and greener country.”
The Socialist Campaign Group’s proposals, published to coincide with tomorrow’s state opening of Parliament, include an NHS reinstatement Bill to protect the public service, legislation to create a national care service and a real living wage Bill.
Backed by the group’s secretary Richard Burgon, fellow Labour MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Ian Mearns and John McDonnell and Scottish peer Pauline Bryan, the proposals represent a re-evaluation of “what is most important to us” after the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the trauma of a decade of austerity.
The group’s proposals stand in stark contrast to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own plans, which will include a recommitment to giving police more power to restrict protest in the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill.
His long-promised plans to reform social care are also likely to be delayed again — despite the death of tens of thousands of care home residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Socialist Campaign Group is demanding the creation of a properly funded national care service, along the lines of the NHS, as part of radical reform to the underfunded sector.
After widespread anger following the government’s proposal of a 1 per cent pay rise for healthcare staff in England, the group’s NHS reinstatement Bill would increase health worker pay and look to end privatisation of the NHS once and for all.
Today grassroots campaign groups including We Own It condemned the government’s proposed NHS Bill, which they warned could allow private companies to be represented on new NHS decision-making boards.
Labour’s left say a people’s vaccine Bill is needed to establish a state drug company to lower NHS costs and commit ministers to push for a waiver on vaccine patents to “save lives, not protect profits,” a move backed by US President Joe Biden last week.
The group also proposes increasing the minimum wage to the real living wage level (£9.50 an hour, £10.85 in London), boosting sick pay and banning “bully boy” fire-and-rehire tactics to ensure all workers are protected.
Other plans include a commitment to bring forward the government’s 2050 net carbon zero target and re-establishing the right of unaccompanied child refugees to reunite with family members in Britain, taken away after Brexit.
The group insists a right-to-food Bill would eradicate poverty in Britain by 2030, and legislation to protect the “wellbeing of future generations” is needed to force the government to respect community cohesion and the environment when proposing legislation.
The group said: “The pandemic has exposed inequality and insecurity and made us re-evaluate what is most important to us.
“A socialist government will build a fairer, healthier and greener Britain, and a more just and peaceful world. Now is the time to claim the future and commit to increasing investment, ending poverty and tackling climate change.
“A socialist government will be a force for good, not a meal ticket for corrupt cronies.”
In their alternative Queen’s Speech, socialist members of the Labour Party have laid out a series of Bills which they promise will create a “fairer, healthier and greener country.” Here, the Morning Star takes a closer look at their proposals:
An NHS reinstatement Bill to end privatisation of the NHS and to reinstate it as a fully public service alongside a national care service Bill to create a free, universal service on the lines of the NHS.
A people’s vaccine Bill to push for a waiver on vaccine patents and establish a generic-drug company to lower NHS costs.
A right-to-food Bill to tackle widespread foodbank use, partly by providing universal free school meals.
Legislation to increase the minimum wage and statutory sick pay, scrap the benefit cap and the bedroom tax, and ensure full rights for all workers from day one in a job.
Fire and rehire would be outlawed and a work-life balance Bill would cap the working week at 48 hours and give everyone the right to flexible working. A new trade union Bill to allow for secondary industrial action.
A Bill to define “affordable” housing not in relation to 80 per cent of market rent but by reference to local incomes, and a renters’ reform Bill to grant local authorities the power to control rents in their areas and end no-fault evictions.
A climate and ecology Bill to bring forward the government target of reaching net carbon zero (currently by 2050) and require ministers to update MPs annually on progress.
A rights Bill to re-establish the right of unaccompanied child refugees to reunite with family members in Britain and create minimum standards for asylum accommodation.
Legislation to tighten existing arms export controls and ensure no prime minister can bypass Parliament to commit to military action.
A football supporters’ Bill to allow accredited fan trusts to be able to appoint and remove at least two club directors, giving them greater control over the teams they support.
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