Owen Jones: 'Agenda for Hope'

Owen Jones puts forward his 'Agenda for Hope'. Published in the Independent.

Agenda for hope: Owen Jones’ nine-point manifesto

1) A statutory living wage, with immediate effect, for large businesses and the  public sector, and phased  in for small and medium  businesses over a five-year Parliament. This would save billions spent on social security each year by reducing subsidies to low-paying bosses, as well as stimulating the economy, creating jobs because of higher demand, stopping pay being undercut by cheap labour, and tackling the scandal of most of Britain’s poor being in work. An honest days’ pay for an honest days’ work would finally be enshrined in law.

2) Resolve the housing crisis by regulating private rents and lifting the cap on councils to let them build hundreds of thousands of houses and in doing so, create jobs, bring in rent revenues, stimulate the economy and reduce taxpayers’ subsidies to landlords.

3) A 50 per cent tax on all earnings above £100,000 – or the top 2 per cent of earners – to fund an emergency jobs and training programme for young unemployed people, including the creation of a national scheme to insulate homes and businesses across Britain, dragging millions of out of fuel poverty, reducing fuel bills, and helping to save the environment. All such jobs will be paid the living wage, supported with paid apprenticeships rather than unpaid “workfare” schemes.

4) An all-out campaign to recoup the £25bn worth of tax avoided by the wealthiest each year, clamping down on all possible loopholes with a General Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill, as well as booting out the accountancy firms from the Treasury who help draw up tax laws, then advise their clients on how to get around them.

5) Publicly run, accountable local banks. Transform the bailed-out banks into regional public investment banks, with elected taxpayers’ representatives sitting on boards to ensure they are accountable. Give the banks a specific mandate to help small businesses and encourage the green industries of the future in each region.

6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” and renewable energy industries of the future. It would be focused on regions that have been damaged by deindustrialisation, creating secure, skilled, dignified jobs, and reducing unemployment and social security spending, based on an active state that intervenes in the economy, learning from the experiences of countries such as Germany.

7) Publicly owned rail and energy, democratically run by consumers and workers. As each rail franchise expires, bring them back into the public sector, with elected representatives of passengers and workers to sit on the new management boards, ending our fragmented, inefficient, expensive railway system. Build a publicly owned energy network by swapping shares in privately run companies for bonds, and again put elected consumers’ representatives on the boards. Democratic public ownership instead of privatisation could be a model for public services like the NHS, too.

8) A new charter of workers’ rights fit for the 21st century. End all zero-hour contracts, with new provisions for flexible working to help workers. Allow all unions access to workplaces so they can organise, levelling the playing field and giving them a chance to improve wages and living standards. Increase turnout and improve democratic legitimacy in union ballots by allowing workplace-based balloting and online voting.

9) A universal childcare system that would pay for itself as parents who are unable to work are able to do so, and which would take on the inequalities between richer and poorer children that begin from day one.

Showing 9 reactions

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  • commented 2014-03-05 11:20:21 +0000
    http://vimeo.com/86885603

    Revolution is available.

    No heads need be broken or Police lines charged.

    Convince people to vote for change and the Police who form the line will part and roll a red carpet to the door of number Ten for you.

    While the vote remains unfocussed, that line will prevail.

    Reform of the old parties will be too slow – starting a new one that moves the “conversations” from the circus that is Westminster to the forum on the net… that would be more frightening for the people who are really in charge. Winning elections is better progress than occupying squares.

    Even if you only half agree, share the video?
  • commented 2014-02-27 21:07:53 +0000
    Then all this logic is followed by divisive argument.As is always the way with those egos sure theirs is the only right way.Shame even leftwing politics dominated by patriarchal paradigm. I left the Workers Revolutionary Party, when I was 17, because they couldnt agree on the shape of a cake, and I left the Socialist Workers Party a long time ago, again, because I expect loyalty from friends and comrades. And found none there.This is the Peoples Assembly Online.Please make it welcoming to people typing it in for the first time. Or its f….
  • followed this page 2014-02-26 18:11:28 +0000
  • commented 2014-02-25 09:30:43 +0000
    This is a reformist agenda that doesn’t recognise that capitalism cannot be reformed. It’s not 1945!
    (See http://www.johnkeeley.com/why-capitalism-cannot-be-reformed/)

    We need a slogan that connects.
    A slogan that promotes an alternative system.

    The Bolsheviks had ‘Peace, Land & Bread’; nothing communist about this, but it captured the mood. I think we need a slogan & an accompanying agenda that promotes participatory democracy. An alternative to the current system that’s more Occupy than Westminster. One that’s against professional politicians seeking power. And one that’s rooted in the class struggle.
  • commented 2014-02-21 09:09:46 +0000
    10) (but higher up the list!) Save the NHS. Restore the National Health Service as a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable service, provided according to need and delivered free at the point of delivery. Abolish the hugely wasteful NHS commissioner-provider split that diverts money into useless transaction costs, opens NHS services to competitive tender from international corporate health giants and siphons public money into massive private profits.
  • commented 2014-02-12 17:21:59 +0000
    On (6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” – there is a way of doing this that the Green Party is, hopefully, going to adopt in a couple of weeks. Basically, it is legalised moonlighting. Local employers, be they public, Local authorities, NHS, co-ops, charities, or even SMEs, once they have proved that what they do is of benefit to the local community, can take on new workers from the Job Centres, who bring their JSA to work with them. It is totally voluntary, no compulsion, but employers must not displace old workers with the new style. This means big expansion of employment in the green sector. More here: http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/GreenWageSubsidy.htm
  • commented 2014-02-12 17:21:59 +0000
    On (6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” – there is a way of doing this that the Green Party is, hopefully, going to adopt in a couple of weeks. Basically, it is legalised moonlighting. Local employers, be they public, Local authorities, NHS, co-ops, charities, or even SMEs, once they have proved that what they do is of benefit to the local community, can take on new workers from the Job Centres, who bring their JSA to work with them. It is totally voluntary, no compulsion, but employers must not displace old workers with the new style. This means big expansion of employment in the green sector. More here: http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/GreenWageSubsidy.htm
  • followed this page 2014-02-12 17:20:18 +0000
  • commented 2014-02-08 14:19:27 +0000
    I think the Romans had a good idea, at the end of a term of political office, senators were tried in court by the people.

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