Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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Labour launch manifesto for women

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Labour launched its manifesto for women yesterday setting out how Labour will enable women to fulfil their potential, as part of a plan to raise living standards for working families.

It sets out a new commitment to help grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren, by consulting on allowing grandparents to share in parents' unpaid parental leave, enabling them to take time off work without fear of losing their job.

Parents are increasingly relying on other family members to help them juggle work and childcare, particularly grandparents. More than half of all mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work after maternity leave, while two-thirds of grandparents with grandchildren aged under-16 provide some childcare.

I don't think public policy has kept up with the reality of families' lives, with 1.9 million grandparents giving up a job, reducing their hours, or taking time off work to look after their grandchildren. Seven in ten grandparents say the caring contribution they make is not currently recognised. 

To help grandparents help their families and stay in their jobs, Labour will consult on what flexibilities would make the system work better for families and businesses given changing patterns of care, including allowing grandparents who want to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren to share in parents' unpaid parental leave. I know a lot of grandparents in Plymouth provide childcare to help their sons and daughters go back to work and afford to make ends meet. It is right that this is recognised by Government.

Labour's women's manifesto also sets out measures to:

  • Tackle low pay, by increasing the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019.

  • Tackle the gender pay gap with new pay transparency rules for all large employers.

  • Extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents of three and four-year-olds with proper funding from increasing the bank levy. 

  • Guarantee access for parents of primary-age children to 8am-6pm wraparound childcare through primary schools.

  • Protect the Sure Start budget and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.

  • Double paid paternity leave from two to four weeks, and increase pay to the equivalent of a full weeks work at the National Minimum Wage so that more families can take up their entitlements.

  • Support healthy relationships by introducing age-appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education.

  • Tackle violence against women and girls by appointing a new commissioner to enforce national standards on tackling domestic and sexual abuse, strengthening the law and providing more stable central funding for women's refuges and Rape Crisis Centres.

Read Labour's manifesto for women here.

Six things you should know about Labour's manifesto for women

Here are the six things you need to know about Labour’s plan for women and equality:

  1. We have a plan to tackle the low pay that affects women most. One in four women are now paid below a Living Wage and sixty per cent of the jobs created for women since 2010 have been in low paid sectors. Labour will increase the National Minimum Wage to more than £8 an hour before October 2019 and promote the Living Wage with tax rebates for firms who sign up in the first year of a Labour government.

  2. We will give parents more support with childcare. Childcare costs have risen by over 30 per cent since 2010, while childcare support through tax credits has been slashed. We’ll do more to support parents, extending free childcare from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents of three and four-year-olds, guaranteeing access for parents of primary-age children to 8am-6pm wraparound childcare through primary schools. We'll protect the Sure Start budget and open up an additional 50,000 childcare places.

  3. We will help do more to ensure support for families reflects the realities of modern family life. Parents are increasingly relying on other family members to help them juggle work and childcare -- particularly grandparents -- with more than half of mothers relying on grandparents when they go back to work. So we’ll do more to support families, consulting on allowing parents to transfer some of their unpaid leave to grandparents who want to help care for their grandchildren.

  4. We will do more to help families spend more time with a new baby. Labour will double paid paternity leave from two to four weeks, and increase pay to the equivalent of a full week's work at the National Minimum Wage so that more families can take up their entitlements.

  5. Violence against women and girls is never acceptable, so Labour will put tackling it at the heart of government. We will appoint a new commissioner to enforce national standards on tackling domestic and sexual abuse, strengthen the law and provide more stable central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres. And we’ll work to prevent violence, introducing age appropriate compulsory sex and relationship education in schools.

  6. We will work for equality in our public life. Labour is proud to have the largest number of women standing for Parliament of any party. We will continue to use all women shortlists for Westminster parliamentary selections, and set a goal for fifty per cent of ministerial appointments to public boards to be women.

 

 Read Labour's manifesto for women here.

 Let me know what you think and whether these changes would make a difference to you and your family.

 

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