Alliance responds to the Conservative Manifesto

Commenting on the launch of the Conservatives Manifesto “Forward Together”, Mark Norbury, CEO of UnLtd said:

“The Prime Minister has spoken frequently about building a more inclusive economy. The Conservative manifesto continues this theme, with strong statements about rejecting “untrammelled free markets” and the “cult of selfish individualism”. It includes some promising ideas on how an inclusive economy can be delivered – such as a Shared Prosperity Fund designed to reduce inequalities between communities. It also refers to freedom for public sector employees to mutualise, and measures to make public companies more accountable to employees and some markets fairer for consumers.

Yet the manifesto understates the role that community organisations, social enterprises and individual citizens can play in tackling the big challenges faced by the nation. It is striking that while today’s headlines focus on how social care can be paid for, the manifesto says nothing about how government can recognise the inspiring work of social entrepreneurs, such as Ben Allen of Oomph!, who are already showing how care can be made better and more affordable. The government could do so much to help communities find their own sustainable solutions by investing in the social economy.

The foundations of a strong and stable economy are connected, empowered people and communities. We must make better use of their ideas, energy, talent and resources to create social and economic value in tandem with one another. This is the promise that social entrepreneurs – and the wider social economy – offer the next Government.”

Specific areas of interest to the social economy

PUBLIC SERVICES

“We know public services are dependent upon the public servants who run them, which is why we will establish in law the freedom for employees to mutualise, where appropriate, within the public sector.”

INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY

Future Britain funds – “People have long talked about the need to create UK sovereign wealth funds. We will now make this a central part of our long-term plan for Britain. We will create a number of such funds, known as Future Britain funds, which will hold in trust the investments of the British people, backing British infrastructure and the British economy.”

“We will make each partnership and combined authority responsible for co-ordinating their own local industrial strategy in alignment with our national industrial strategy, bringing together local businesses, political and public sector leaders to drive growth and economic regeneration. We will wherever possible deliver growth funding through these organisations. We will give local enterprise partnerships greater weight by backing them in law.”

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

“Boards should take account of the interests not just of shareholders but employees, suppliers and the wider community. To ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, we will change the law to ensure that listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director.”

“We will consider introducing a new criminal offence for company directors who deliberately or recklessly put at risk the ability of a pension scheme to meet its obligations”

UTILITIES AND PUBLIC GOODS

“We will therefore examine ways in which the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure can be improved to deliver a better deal for customers and sharper incentives for investment efficiency”

“community minibuses for rural areas poorly served by public transport”

“we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.”

SUPPLY CHAINS AND PROCUREMENT

“We also recognise that government can improve the general business environment for SMEs, so we will use our buying power to ensure that big contractors comply with the Prompt Payment Code both on government contracts and in their work with others. If they do not do so, they will lose the right to bid for government contracts.”

“We will allow large firms to pass levy funds to small firms in their supply chain, and work with the business community to develop a new programme to allow larger firms to place apprentices in their supply chains.”

TAX AND TRANSPARENCY

“We will legislate for tougher regulation of tax advisory firms. We will take a more proactive approach to transparency and misuse of trusts.”

“So for businesses employing former wards of the care system, someone with a disability, those with chronic mental health problems, those who have committed a crime but who have repaid their debt to society, and those who have been unemployed for over a year, we will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year.”

“We will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish more data on the pay gap between men and women.”

HOUSING

“We will make sure our councils get the help they need to deal with people as they arrive, and establish schemes to help individuals, charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to provide housing and other support for refugees”

JOBS, EDUCATION AND TRAINING

“We will also provide targeted support for young people between the ages of 18 and 24 so that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance of getting into work.”

“It is why we want to see universities make their full contribution to their local community and economy, sponsoring local schools and being creative about how they can open up opportunities for local people, especially those from ordinary working backgrounds.”

“We will get 1 million more people with disabilities into employment over the next ten years.”

 

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