General Election Manifestos 2017

General Election Manifestos 2017

Our Political Party Logo montage

As yet another vote approaches, we are yet again being asked to go to the polls to elect our next Prime Minister for the next 5 years. This blog is not intended to be political in terms of support for either party or candidate. However we thought we would explore what the different parties of the UK are pledging will happen over the next 5 years in their manifestos, should they win, across our specialisms.

As you are aware there are many political parties in the UK vying for your vote. With all of them releasing manifestos, we thought we would make it easy for you to consider their pledges, as we appreciate how time consuming it is for us all to read such large documents.

We thought long and hard as to which order to consider the manifestos and have decided to ensure we remain impartial, we would go in order of the current number of seats the parties hold in the House of Commons:

Conservatives

On the 18th May 2017, the Conservatives were the last of the ‘big three’ UK wide political parties to launch their manifestos to set out their proposals for the next 5 years as the party in Government. So, what are their promises for the next 5 years.

Interestingly, looking at the Conservatives’ manifesto, they seem to not deem the Early Years as education, as their Early Years proposals are separate from their schools’ proposals. However, they do say in bold lettering ‘Britain should be the best country in the world for children’ a phrase that we at The Training Fox absolutely believe in.

The manifesto states that high quality childcare is important to the working parents as well as the children themselves. They pledge to introduce this year 30 hours of free child care to children aged 3 and 4 years old of working parents who find it difficult to manage the costs of childcare. They say that they are going to look at best practice across Europe and the world as well as assess what more is needed in the UK. They say that they will immediately institute a capital fund for primary schools to set up nursery provision where they currently don’t have provision. Going forward, they will presume that all new primary schools should include a nursery.

On the subject of children’s mental health, the Conservatives are pledging to introduce mental health first aid training for teachers in primary and secondary schools by the end of the Parliament.

Placing a child under the oversight of social services, according to the Conservative manifesto, is amongst the most serious duty the state can discharge. This is of course totally the case. The Conservatives are going to demand that all Local Authorities be commissioners of the highest quality family support and child protection services, removing the responsibility from weakest councils and placing them into trust.

They are pledging to introduce comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education in all primary and secondary schools where they will learn about the risks of the internet and online grooming.

The Conservatives are pledging not to repeal the Human Rights Act and to remain signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the Parliament. However, they have not mentioned the European Convention on the Rights of the Child.

You can view the Conservatives manifesto here.

Labour

Within their manifesto launched on the 16th May 2017, the Labour Party have correctly identified that there is a gap between the end of maternity leave and full-time schooling. Here at The Training Fox we acknowledge the brilliant work that the Early Years sector is doing but we agree with the Labour manifesto in terms of the funding available for parents and providers in this important aspect of a child’s life.

Labour have identified the evidence that shows the major impact that good quality early years education has on child development. Research, they say, has also shown that good early years education can improve children’s results at GCSE level.

So, what are Labour pledging to do should they win on June the 8th?

The Labour Manifesto has a 6-point plan for the early years as follows:

  1. Overhaul of childcare subsidy making subsidy direct from Government,
  2. Maintain the current commitments on free hours and make significant capital investment in the first 2 years,
  3. Phase in subsidised provision on top of the free hour entitlement to ensure access to affordable childcare,
  4. Transition to a qualified graduate led workforce, by improving staff wages and training opportunities,
  5. Extend the 30 free hours to all 2-year-olds and move towards making some childcare available for 1-year-olds and extending maternity pay to 12 months,
  6. Halt the closure of Sure Start centres and increase the amount of money available for Sure Start.

Labour are promising to publish, within the first 100 days, a new childhood obesity strategy with proposals on food advertising and food labelling. They will make a concerted effort to address childhood poor oral health and implement the industry levy, often referred to as a sugar tax.

They are promising to enshrine the European Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.

Labour also highlight the much-needed work that is required to keep children safe online. They are promising to ensure that tech companies do the necessary work to do this, as well as making it easier for children to delete any content they shared online before their 18th birthday.

You can view the Labour manifesto here.

Scottish Nationalist Party

The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) became the UK’s 3rd largest party at Westminster at the last General Election in 2015, replacing the Liberal Democrats. The SNP are representing the wishes of Scotland in Westminster and lead the Scottish Assembly. Education is a devolved policy area in Scotland.

The SNP launched their manifesto on the 30th May 2017, and have set out 13 key pledges, we are pleased to see that Education is key pledge number 4 on their list. We all know that the SNP is best known for one key policy area which is splitting the union of the UK as we know it and gaining independence for Scotland, in this manifesto this is key pledge number 11.

The SNP state very clearly in their manifesto that education is an investment not just in the children but in society and the economy as a whole.

Although Early Years is a devolved policy in Scotland, they say that they pledge to increase the number of free early years education and childcare to 30 hours by 2021 for 2 year olds from low income houses and all 3 and 4 year olds. They have made a commitment to spending money to ensure that all private nurseries delivering their childcare pledge are able to pay their staff the real Living Wage.

On the subject of Human Rights, the SNP’s manifesto highlights the European Convention on Human Rights is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998, ensuring that the Scottish Government protects human rights, as well as any Scottish legislation. Any MPs that are elected from SNP will oppose any attempt to scrap the Human Rights Act and to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

You can view the Scottish Nationalist Party’s manifesto here.

Liberal Democrats

On the 17th of May 2017, the Liberal Democrats released their 97-page offering covering their manifesto pledges. They have a specific section of their manifesto dedicated to children, entitled Change Britain’s Future Put Children First.

They have highlighted 3 main priorities for the next Parliament should they win the election on June the 8th as follows:

  1. Invest nearly £7billion extra into children’s education,
  2. Invest in high-quality early years education,
  3. Oppose any new selective schools and give Local Authorities proper democratic controls.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto states that they would like schools to have flexibility and introduce a slimmed down core National curriculum. They also want, by the end of the next Parliament, to have at least one Early Years Teacher qualified staff member in every formal setting.

The Liberal Democrats are looking to build upon the free childcare currently on offer to all 2 year olds and to the children of working families from the end of the paid paternal leave. They are also looking to encourage new fathers to take time off with an additional month’s paid paternity leave.

Liberal Democrats have also vowed to enshrine the European Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK law.

The Liberal Democrats are also promising to give the vote to 16 and 17 year olds lowering the current legal age of voting.

You can view the Liberal Democrats manifesto here.

Democratic Unionist Party

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) representing Northern Ireland, launched their Westminster manifesto on the 31st May 2017. One of our specialism areas, Education, is devolved in Northern Ireland.

Their manifesto says that they are committed to defending and improving the education in Northern Ireland to ensure that every child in Northern Ireland has the opportunity to achieve in life.

They are pledging to fight for sufficient budgets and resources for the frontline education institutions. They want to give schools more autonomy in their decision-making for schools. They want to focus on tackling educational underachievement through support for early years’ interventions, and expand the childcare strategy as well as a focus on community based initiatives.

Within the DUP manifesto there is no mention of early years as a separate entity, there are 14 lines as considered above covering education as a whole.

This manifesto mainly focuses on restoring devolution, which is relevant as the Assembly in Northern Ireland is currently not working, as well as wanting to make a success of Brexit, again is common sense from the DUP as their constituencies have a land border with the EU.

You can view the Democratic Unionists Party manifesto here.

Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein became the first Northern Irish political party to launch their manifesto. They have 3 very key messages throughout their manifesto, which they obviously feel very strongly about as it is on every page, these are:

  • No Brexit,
  • No Border,
  • No Tory cuts.

Like many other policy areas, education is devolved in Northern Ireland, however as this is a UK wide election therefore Sinn Fein have made reference to education in their manifesto.

The Sinn Fein manifesto talks about education but nothing about the Early Years sector. So we have focused on their plans for Education, where they say that they would like to see Northern Ireland with special status within the EU to safeguard schools, and universities and the education system. They are prioritising access to the EU funding that Northern Ireland currently receives. They are wanting to continue the access to EU wide research opportunities, along with having an all-Ireland approach to education planning and student studies, as well as making it easier for qualifications and free movement of students across Europe.

They have taken a slightly different approach to other political parties in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights and access to the European Court of Human Rights which comes along with it, Sinn Fein are looking to get a designated special status within the EU to safeguard the rights and access to the European Court.

You can view the Sinn Fein manifesto here.

Plaid Cymru

May the 16th saw the launch of the Plaid Cymru’s manifesto for the Westminster election on June the 8th. The manifesto is laid out differently to many other manifestos we have looked at and in this case, is set out as a clear action plan for the next 5 years.

The area of education is devolved to the Welsh Assembly, however the manifesto makes pledges for the policies they would look to make during the next Parliament. Plaid Cymru pledges to ‘give every child in Wales a chance’.

They have pledged to provide all 3 year olds with free full-time nursery places, while raising teachers’ pay and access to training to allow them to reach higher qualifications and perform better. The other pledge that falls into our area of expertise is increasing the availability of the Welsh language education from nursery all the way through the education system.

The Plaid Cymru manifesto is also promising to publish a Human Rights Charter for Wales, the action plan implies this will protect human rights of the Welsh people and is also based on the backdrop of the Human Rights Act.

You can view the Plaid Cymru manifesto here.

Social Democratic and Labour Party

The Social Democratic and Labour Party(SDLP) is a political party representing Northern Ireland. As we have discussed earlier, education is a devolved policy area in Northern Ireland. However, as the June 8th poll is an election to Westminster the SDLP have made their education pledges.

The SDLP recognise the vital role that early education has on young people’s development. They state very clearly that they believe it is important for every child to access the highest level of support, and are campaigning to increase free childcare provision to 20 hours per week with a view to further increasing to 30 hours.

The SDLP state that existing funding for childcare must be safeguarded through the Childcare Strategy. They say that reducing the cost of childcare to families removes a barrier for those seeking to gain work or training, in their words benefitting the whole economy.

The SDLP make the point that the Human Rights Act underpins the Good Friday agreement, and therefore they will stridently oppose any attempt to devalue this act, they will also vehemently oppose any attempt to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

One thing that we quite liked about their manifesto is the attention to detail they have given to listing the names of their candidates and the constituency that they will be standing in.

You can view the Social and Democratic Labour Party’s manifesto here.

Ulster Unionist Party

On the 2nd of June 2017, the Ulster Unionist Party released their Westminster manifesto.

It is a very short manifesto, which in the forward readers are told that any UUP MPs elected for Westminster would champion recent and detailed policies in their Stormont election manifesto which is available on their website. They do however highlight their 5 key areas in the UK election, of which the fifth one is a world-class education system. They say they want to educate children in a single education system.

We have taken a look at their Stormont manifesto, to take a closer look at their plans for education and childcare. They say that they are committed to developing and implementing a childcare strategy to meet the wide ranging needs of parents in Northern Ireland. They say they want a system which is affordable with care and attention being given to children with specific needs.

They also believe that children of all ages should be educated together regardless of religious background.

As they are directing their readers to their Stormont manifesto we have provided a link to both manifestos below.

You can view the Ulster Unionist Party’s Stormont manifesto here.

You can view the Ulster Unionist Party’s manifesto here.

Green Party of England and Wales

The Green Party launched their manifesto on the 22nd May 2017. The detail within their manifesto is succinct and to the point. The Green Party of England and Wales state that education transforms lives, and that they believe education is a right.

The Green Party of England and Wales have pledged to provide free universal early education and childcare for all children with formal education starting at age 7. Like other political parties in this campaign the Greens are promising to lower the age of voting to 16.

The Green Party of England and Wales have also pledged to implement a UK wide strategy to tackle gender based violence, which in their words would include domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

There is also discussion in their manifesto, about politics being done by the people not to them. They have promised to defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as enabling every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship, although no age range has been provided on this.

You can view the Green Party of England and Wales manifesto here.

UK Independence Party

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) was the first of the parties to launch their manifestos after the horrendous events in Manchester on Monday the 22nd May 2017. The manifesto was launched on the 25th May 2017. Within the manifesto they state that ‘Britain has produced some of the most remarkable people in world history’. In their education section they say that UKIP’s approach to education is one where no child is held back. They have separated education and Early Years in their manifesto. UKIP have pledged to remove restrictions on the settings that parents can chose for their children by removing the requirement to use an Ofsted registered provider. They also pledge to lengthen the school day to provide wrap-around childcare during term time of 8am to 6pm; they will require Local Authorities to keep a register of emergency childcare at short notice. They have also pledged a £80million a year fund to assist small settings to take in children with additional needs, although their manifesto refers to them as children with special needs.

They are pledging to stand by their 2015 election promise to legislate for a 50-50 presumption of shared parenting once a relationship breaks down.

They are also pledging, like other parties, to abolish University Tuition fees.

On the subject of FGM, UKIP are pledging:

  • To make it a criminal offence not to report concerns,
  • To implement a screening programme for girls identified at being at risk of FGM from birth to age 16,
  • An annual non-invasive physical check-up for these children,
  • Carry out additional checks on girls who return to the UK from trips where FGM is known to be customary,
  • Make FGM an indictable offence meaning it can only be heard at Crown Courts with a sentence starting at 6 years.

You can view the UK Independence Party’s manifesto here.

Alliance Party of Northern Ireland

The Alliance Party represent Northern Ireland where Education is devolved.

The Alliance Party has pledged to increase affordable childcare in Northern Ireland, they have set out 6 points aimed at improving the financial situation of children within Northern Ireland. These include, supporting a dual provision of childcare vouchers and childcare payments ensuring that both are available for new applicants. The Alliance Party are looking to increase the number of tax-free allowances for children as well as the free hours of childcare on offer from the state. They want to encourage the Northern Ireland Executive to provide the uptake of UK wide childcare schemes by the people of Northern Ireland. The manifesto is advocating for a refreshed childcare strategy which will ensure the annual budget for childcare is spent well, and encourages the growth of Sure Start Centres in Ireland as well as promoting wrap-around care and other flexible options.

The Party manifesto wants to restore a UK wide target on reducing child poverty.

The Alliance Party manifesto states that the party respects and promotes:

  • Human rights,
  • Civil liberties, and
  • Freedom.

They say that they believe these issues are universal and must be respected by all Governments across the world. The say that they are going to stand up for these issues as well as promoting our British Values abroad helping to promote a world which in their words is:

  • Tolerant,
  • Respects human rights, and
  • Supports political freedom.

Like some other parties, the Alliance Party in their manifesto have made particular reference to the European Convention on Human Rights, pledging their support for it and that they will oppose any attempt to repeal or withdraw from the Convention as well as the Human Rights Act.

The Alliance Party have made a manifesto pledge, like many other parties, to lower the legal age of voting from 18 down to 16

You can view the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland’s manifesto here.

Scottish Green Party

Although our subject areas are devolved in Scotland, the Scottish Greens have highlighted what they would introduce should they win the election and gain power, even if in a coalition.

The Scottish Green Party state in the manifesto that they believe Education to be a right for all children, and that they believe it should be equally accessible at all stages of people’s lives.

Like other parties vying for election, the Scottish Greens are campaigning to reduce the age of voting to 16, as it is already in Scotland. They are also looking to get rid of age range related National Minimum wages and instigate a real Living Wage for all ages, they have quoted a figure of ‘at least £10 per hour’.

They state very clearly that as education is the responsibility for the Scottish Assembly, at Westminster they will fight for principles of free and inclusive education.

The party believe that the UK should remain a part of the European Convention on Human Rights and support adopting the European Social Charter in order to protect fundamental social and economic rights, and will be opposed to any effort to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998.

You can view the Scottish Green Party manifesto here.

Green Party of Northern Ireland

As in Scotland, Education is devolved in Northern Ireland, however the Green Party of Northern Ireland make pledges for Westminster.

The Party make the same statement on Education as their Scottish counterparts: ‘Education is a right for all children’, and that they believe ‘it should be equally accessible at all stages of people’s lives.’

They have made the point that we also believe, that the years between birth and starting school are key for learning and development. They promise to introduce a universal early years’ provision to enable all children to receive high-quality preschool education.

Theirs is the first manifesto we have read to pledge a flexible school starting age recognising that a one size doesn’t fit all and to put children first.

The Green Party of Northern Ireland say that human rights are the foundation of a progressive, modern society; therefore they are pledging to defend the Human Rights Act.

One little quirk in their manifesto that we particularly liked is the inclusion of photographs of their candidates across the constituencies of Northern Ireland, the first time we had seen this in a manifesto.

You can view the Green Party of Northern Ireland manifesto here.

Traditional Unionist Party

With the Westminster General Election taking place a week from today, the Traditionalist Unionist Party is one of 2 Northern Irish political parties that are yet to release their manifesto for the election on June the 8th.

People Before Profit Party

The People Before Profit Party is the second Northern Irish party and party from our logo circle above to yet release their Westminster manifesto for the election on June the 8th.

And now for a little light relief of another party standing in the General Election 2017…

The Monster Raving Looney Party

The Monster Raving Looney Party has got 12 candidates standing in this election, one such candidate is standing in Gloucester. The party refers to their manifesto as a Manicfesto.

Whilst we do not want to rewrite all of their pledges, which we find quite funny, we thought we would mention a couple of their manicfesto pledges.

Their first pledge is to provide everyone with free beanie hats so as when they are in power they can pull the wool over your eyes.

The Education Policy of The Monster Raving Looney Party is that all schools would have a jumble sale, fête, or other fundraising twice a month to help raise funds for the little extras like desks, books and paper. They too will reduce the age of voting down to 16, a pledge which they state another party stole from them!

The Monster Raving Looney Party also have a Social Media Policy, where they would turn Social Media off one day a year and call it ‘Recall how to talk day’

For more information on the Monster Raving Looney Party manicfesto, visit their dedicated web page.

As we are all aware, a manifesto is set out to win votes from the general public to return a series of MPs back to Westminster to make up our Parliament for the next 5 years. However, just because a manifesto is put out there, it is common for the promises to change or not to make it on the statute books during the Parliament. However, we hope that you have enjoyed our review of the manifestos from the parties, and please do remember that we do not condone or endorse any of the manifestos and have compiled this blog to highlight what has been planned within the areas that we work in.

We wish all candidates well in their campaigns and
look forward to seeing the results during the night of the 8th of June.

1 Comment

  • In an update to our article, we thought that we would record the outcome of the General Election 2017.

    The Seats at Westminster are as follows:

    Conservatives 318
    Labour 262
    SNP 35
    Liberal Democrats 12
    DUP 10
    Sinn Fein 7
    Plaid Cymru 4
    Green Party 1
    Independent 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *