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Labour MPs Launch New Policy Portal


12:01am 9th July 2012
(Updated 7:20am 9th July 2012)

At 8am today (Monday 9th July), the Labour Policy Portal will be launched online click here to stimulate fresh thinking and debate within the Labour Party.  This initiative was established by four Labour MPs - John Denham, Nick Raynsford, Malcolm Wicks and Hugh Bayley - all former Ministers who were also in Parliament last time Labour was in opposition.  The project aims to get Labour Party members and supporters to share and discuss policy ideas, and to encourage creative thinking within the Labour Party about smart new ideas that do not require huge levels of public expenditure but will bring real benefits to society.

The MPs behind Labour Policy Portal accept that the UK is going through a period of austerity, but they believe there are many things that can and should be done to advance key Labour values of decency, community and social justice without putting pressure on the public purse.  This is not to deny the need for well-targeted public investment to help stimulate economic recovery, but recognises that Labour also needs good ideas that don’t have a big price tag.  This drive for more detailed policy is intended to complement the new direction Ed Miliband has set out for the Labour Party by encouraging a policy debate within all sections of the Party.  The ideas that will be published today are as follows:

  • · John Denham’s proposal that supermarkets should be required to release pricing data in a format that can be used to create applications which enable shoppers to compare supermarket prices.
  • · Nick Raynsford’s proposal that those with spare rooms in their homes should be encouraged to consider letting them by reforming the rent-a-room scheme; for example by increasing the tax threshold above which tax on such lettings becomes due.
  • · Malcolm Wicks’ proposal of a new Savers’ Charter that would end the savings swindle by ensuring savers automatically earn the best interest rate available rather than a default rate that might be as low as 0.1%.
  • · Hugh Bayley’s proposal of a patients’ “right to treatment” to counter the worsening postcode lottery on NHS care resulting from budget pressures and the government’s controversial new Health and Social Care Act.

Labour Party members and well wishers are encouraged to visit the website and register so that they get involved in the process and let the authors know what they think of their ideas.  It is hoped that others will submit their own ideas for discussion.  Ideas can be submitted by email to hugh.bayley.mp@labourpolicyportal.org.uk.

Hugh Bayley, Labour MP for York Central, says:

“Ed Miliband has helped the Labour party move on by recognising publicly that while the 1997-2010 Labour Government had many achievements to its credit, it also made mistakes.  He has opened new national political debates and we have set up Labour Policy Portal as part of this process, to generate more detailed policy ideas to be discussed within the party.  We are looking for smart new ideas that do not require huge levels of public expenditure, but would bring real benefits to society.  In a period of austerity, it is important to explore opportunities to advance the values of decency, community and social justice, without putting pressure on the public purse.

We hope the initial postings will encourage others to submit their own ideas and proposals by email to hugh.bayley.mp@labourpolicyportal.org.uk and so expand the Portal into a vibrant web-based policy forum.

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