What does the Labour manifesto mean for our region?

PUBLISHED: 14:15 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 21 November 2019

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the launch of his party's manifesto in Birmingham. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the launch of his party's manifesto in Birmingham. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

“It’s time for real change”, proclaims the front cover of Labour’s manifesto, but how does it measure up to what Norfolk and Waveney need?

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the launch of his party's manifesto in Birmingham. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA WireLabour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the launch of his party's manifesto in Birmingham. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

When this election campaign started, the EDP published a list of 13 demands we wanted to see the parties tackling with their manifestos.

They ranged from more money to protect the erosion-threatened coastline to helping stamp out the scourge of county lines drugs gangs.

We also wanted to see money for the women in Norfolk and Suffolk affected by state pension age changes and more affordable housing.

Labour's 107-page document sets out plans for what the party said was the "largest scale investment programme in modern times" to fund the jobs and industries of the future.

People reading the Labour Party manifesto at its launch in Birmingham. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA WirePeople reading the Labour Party manifesto at its launch in Birmingham. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

One of our key calls was for parity of esteem for mental health. Labour are promising an extra £1.6bn a year, with more investment to end out-of-area placements and improved eating disorders services.

Asked whether that would be enough, Clive Lewis, Labour candidate for Norwich South, said: "We have to be clear here, that the NHS and the police have become the last safety net we have in society.

"But that's a sticking plaster. What we want to ensure, and what is contained in our manifesto, is to address the issues which are affecting people's mental health.

"Retrofitting homes, getting rid of universal credit and ending the Conservative policies which have led to people needing to go to foodbanks - these are all things which will improve people's mental health.

"The extra money is just the starting point."

We had called for parties to solve the social care crisis to improve care for vulnerable and older people.

Labour is pledging extra money for the NHS, better access to GPs and higher pay for health service staff, with a "lifetime cap" on the amount people have to pay for social care will be introduced.

Free annual dental care check-ups would be re-introduced.

The manifesto also pledges a "green industrial revolution" to tackle climate change with a shift to renewables and creating a million new jobs.

But it stops short of pledging to make the economy carbon neutral by 2030 - saying it aims to achieve a "substantial majority" of reductions by that year.

A spree of house building, the largest since the 1960s, features in the final version of the manifesto, with a £75bn plan to build 150,000 homes a year, with 100,000 of them built by councils.

Mr Lewis said he wanted to see the award-winning Goldsmith Street scheme in Norwich replicated across Norfolk and beyond.

A new national levy on second homes used as holiday homes would have repercussions in parts of Norfolk, while a windfall tax on oil companies could have a knock on effect on those in Great Yarmouth connected to the oil industry.

For women impacted by the change in pension age to 66, Labour has promised a "system of recompense". It will also axe the plans to raise the state pension age and will review the retirement age "for physically arduous and stressful occupations".

Labour has committed to recruiting 22,000 more police officers - 2,000 more than Boris Johnson - but Mr Lewis said extra resources for police was just part of how Labour would tackle the county lines problem afflicting Norfolk.

On education, Ofsted and SATS tests at Key Stage 1 and 2 would be scrapped, while power over the running of schools would be returned to councils and head teachers, rather than academy bosses. Labour has also promised to re-invest in technical training.

Labour intends to bring back rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership and deliver full-fibre broadband, via a publicly owned company, free to everyone in the country.

On Brexit, Labour say they would get it "sorted" within six months, giving the public the final say in a referendum.

Mr Corbyn said: "This manifesto is the most radical and ambitious plan to transform our country in decades.

"In an election offering a once-in-a-generation chance of real change we can end privatisation and rescue our NHS.

"We can get Brexit sorted and bring our country together.

"We can tackle the climate emergency that threatens us all. And we can rewrite the rules of our economy to work for the many, not the few."

These are the manifesto points this newspaper wants parties to address

- Demand parity of esteem for mental health and finally get the mental health trust out of special measures

- Pledge to fight for full dualling of the A47

- Fight for more sustainable cash for our councils so crucial services can be provided

- Solve the social care crisis to improve care for our vulnerable and older people

- Increased scrutiny of rail performance, appropriate investment, better east/west links and pledge to make Norwich in 90 minutes the norm

- More funding to protect our erosion-threatened coastline

- An end to poor mobile phone coverage and better broadband to boost rural connectivity and business

- More affordable housing to be built while protecting Norfolk and Waveney's character and a guarantee of adequate provision where there are new builds

- Pledge to drive down carbon emissions by investment in public transport and cycling lanes

- Stamp out the scourge of county lines drugs gangs by increasing investment in a dedicated team of police officers

- Money for the 45,000 women in Norfolk and Waveney affected by changes to the state pension age

- A longer-term promise is needed to ensure classrooms have resources with a particular focus on children with special educational needs

- Norfolk and Waveney's farmers must get a commitment from government to a post-Brexit trading regime which prevents a flood of cheap imports

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