Labour manifesto – key points for freelance creatives

The Labour party launched its manifesto for the May 7th general election yesterday, April 13th 2015.

The 84-page document is divided below into sections relevant to creative freelancers.

However the key pledges potentially affecting such self-employed workers – people who Labour leader Ed Miliband called out to at his party's conference -- are emboldened.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said:

- "In the last five years I have heard your stories, your hopes and your dreams."

- "The fundamental truth that runs through this manifesto is that Britain will only succeed when working people succeed."

- "It means a country where hard work is rewarded, with high skill, high wage jobs. An economy built on strong and secure foundations, where we balance the books. It means a Britain where everyone plays by the same rules, including those at the very top of our society."

For the creative industries, or to help support them, Labour says it will:

- Increase the number of apprenticeships in the creative industries.

- Guarantee a universal entitlement to a creative education so that every young person has access to cultural activity and the arts by strengthening creative education in schools and after-school clubs.

- Require institutions that receive arts funding to open up their doors to young people.

- Stick to its commitment to universal free admission, so that works of art and national heritage can be enjoyed in all parts of the country without an entrance fee.

- Create a Prime Minister's Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, with a membership drawn from all sectors and regions. The Committee will bring issues of concern direct to the attention of the Prime Minister.

For the media industry, or to help support it, Labour says it will:

- Take steps to protect the principle of media plurality, so that no media outlet can get too big.

- Take steps to update the UK's rules for a 21st century media environment.

For the digital industries, or to help support them or people using them, Labour says it will:

- Ensure all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high speed broadband by the end of the parliament.

- Work with the broadband industry and the regulator to maximise private sector investment and deliver the mobile infrastructure needed to extend coverage and reduce 'not spots,' including in areas of market failure.

- Support community-based campaigns to reduce the proportion of citizens unable to use the internet and help those who need it to get the skills to make the most of digital technology.

Potentially affecting freelancers, contract workers and micro businesses, Labour says it will:

- Give small businesses "a voice at the heart of government" by establishing the "Small Business Administration," to ensure procurement contracts are accessible and that regulations are designed with small firms in mind.

- Ban "exploitative" zero-hours contracts, by ensuring that those workers who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks have a right to a regular contract.

- Abolish the loophole that allows firms to undercut permanent staff by using agency workers on lower pay.

- Strengthen rules to protect small businesses from late payment.

- Ban recruitment agencies from hiring only from overseas.

- Crack down on rogue recruitment agencies by extending the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority where there is evidence of abuse.

- Ban MPs from holding paid directorships and consultancies.

- Require large companies to publish data on their gender pay gap.

- Transform high performing Further Education colleges with strong links to industry, into new specialist Institutes of Technical Education.

- Do more to help unemployed people get the skills they need for work, testing jobseekers' Maths, English and IT skills within six weeks of them claiming benefits.

- Require such job-seekers to take up training where this will improve their chances of getting a job.

- Make sure that apprenticeships can lead to higher level qualifications by creating new Technical Degrees and supporting part-time study.

- Provide a paid starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year, a job which they will have to take or lose benefits

Potentially affecting freelancers' tax and/or personal finances, Labour says it will:

- Expand free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of three and four-year-olds.

- Double paid paternity leave for fathers.

- Introduce a legal guarantee for parents of primary school children to access wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school.

- End the Marriage Tax Allowance

- Not increase the basic or higher rates of Income Tax or National Insurance.

- Not increase VAT, and will also not extend it to food, children's clothes, books, newspapers or public transport fares.

- Introduce a lower 10p starting rate of tax.

- Introduce tougher penalties for tax abuse.

- Bear down on "disguised employment" (NOT disguised "self-employment" as Labour's 10-point anti-avoidance plan says).

- Review the culture and practices of HMRC.

- Freeze rail fares next year.

- Introduce a strict fare rise cap on every route for any future fare rises.

- Create a new legal right for passengers to access the cheapest ticket for their journey.

- Cut university tuition fees (from £9,000 to £6,000 a year).

- Abolish the so-called 'Bedroom Tax.'


14th April 2015

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