Labour pledges to develop the social economy and the charitable delivery of children's services

In its newly published election manifesto, the party also reiterates its commitment to repeal the lobbying act

The Labour Party
The Labour Party

A Labour government would support and develop the social economy and create a new National Primary Childcare Service, a not-for-profit organisation to promote the charitable delivery of extracurricular activities for children.

The pledges are made in the party’s 86-page 2015 general election manifesto, which also reiterates the party’s commitment, first made more than a year ago, to repeal the lobbying act.

In the section "Improving productivity and a new industrial strategy", the manifesto, published today, says: "Our charities, mutuals, cooperatives and social enterprises are pioneering new models of production that enhance social value, promote financial inclusion and give individuals and communities power and control."

It says the party will support and help to develop the social economy by improving access for cooperative and mutual organisations to growth finance through a new British Investment Bank, which would improve access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses.

"And we will consider how to support employee buy-outs when businesses are being sold," it says.

The manifesto says Labour would open up public contracts to more small businesses through a new Small Business Administration, which would "ensure procurement contracts are accessible and regulations are designed with small firms in mind".

It says it would embed social impact into public procurement, saying: "We will support employers to pay more by using government procurement to promote the living wage, alongside wider social impact considerations."

Under "Supporting families and relationships", the document says Labour "would introduce a legal guarantee for parents of primary school children to access wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school".

It says: "This will be underpinned by a new National Primary Childcare Service, a not-for-profit organisation to promote the voluntary and charitable delivery of quality extracurricular activities."

On the lobbying act, the manifesto says: "We will safeguard our democracy by repealing the lobbying act, which has gagged charities, and replace it with a tougher statutory register of lobbyists."

In May last year, the party commissioned Baroness Sherlock to review the act and publish recommendations on alternative regulations. The review is yet to be published.

Labour also pledges to encourage young people to take part in volunteering and social action through the National Citizen Service and the #iwill campaign from the charity Step Up To Serve, which encourages youth social action and is funded by government and other sources.

Other proposals that could directly involve the third sector are: "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"; the strengthening of community safety partnerships that give local people a role in setting priorities for neighbourhood policing; and initiatives to make homes warmer and bring down energy bills, which the manifesto says will be "delivered street by street by local authorities and community organisations".

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