News 14th April 2015

Open Government in the Labour Manifesto

by Josephine Suherman-Bailey

Josephine was a Policy Analyst at Involve. She worked on the Open Government Partnership and supported the coordination of the UK Open Government Partnership civil society network.

We’ve been scanning through the party manifestos for policies relevant to open government. This is what we’ve found in the Labour Manifesto. Have we missed anything?

We’ll be updating this post as suggestions come in.

Labour Manifesto

Briefing on commitments of interest to open government reformers

Read the Labour Party Manifesto here.

Topline messages Quote from the manifesto Page number
Digital government
Making digital government more inclusive, transparent and accountable
Open data by default
To create a more connected society we will support making digital government more inclusive, transparent and accountable. We will continue to back the principle of ‘open data by default’, releasing public sector performance data wherever possible. 62
Devolution
Devolution – English Devolution Act We will embark on the biggest devolution of power to our English city and county regions in a hundred years with an English Devolution Act. It will transfer £30 billion of funding to city and county regions, along with new powers over economic development, skills, employment, housing, and business support. This will include control over local transport systems so that in future, local bodies can integrate trains, buses, trams and cycling into a single network. We will enable city and county regions to retain 100 per cent of additional business rates raised from growth in their area. 64
Devolution to Scotland In September 2014, people across Scotland voted overwhelmingly for change. Labour will keep its vow and implement the Smith Agreement in full. And we will go further, with a Home Rule Bill to give extra powers to Scotland over tax, welfare and jobs. Rates of income tax will be set in Scotland. Billions of pounds of social security spending will be devolved, including benefits that support disabled people. The Work Programme will also be devolved along with a greater ability to invest in capital projects. The new devolution settlement will recognise the strength and security offered by being part of the United Kingdom. We will maintain the Barnett formula, and Scotland will continue to benefit from pooling and sharing resources across the UK. 65
Devolution to Wales Labour will put Welsh devolution on the same statutory basis as Scottish devolution, with a clear principle that powers are devolved unless specifically reserved, and that a Welsh legislature is a permanent feature of our constitutional arrangements. We will take forward proposals from the Silk Commission to extend the power the people of Wales have over their elections, transport and energy. An all-Wales Policing Plan will give the Welsh people the ability to shape local policing in Wales. Wales must not be unfairly disadvantaged by the Barnett formula. So while the Conservatives have cut the Welsh budget by £1.5 billion, we will establish a fair funding settlement for Wales, with the guarantee of a funding floor. 66
Lobbying and transparency
Reform of party funding – capping individual donations Labour remains committed to reforming political party funding and taking the big money out of politics by capping individual donations to parties. 63
Repealing the Lobbying Act
Tougher statutory register of lobbyists
MPs banned from paid directorships
Reform the legislative process to strengthen the public’s voice and to better hold the government to account
We will safeguard our democracy by repealing the Lobbying Act, which has gagged charities, and replace it with a tougher statutory register of lobbyists. We will ban MPs from holding paid directorships and consultancies. And we will reform the legislative process to strengthen the public’s voice and to better hold the government to account. 63
Constitutional reform
People-led constitutional convention Labour believes in the historic union of our nations working together for the common good. But as devolution has continued to gather pace, our union now needs to evolve. As a priority, we will set up a people-led Constitutional Convention to directly address this and to drive political reform of Westminster. 64
Replace HoL with elected Senate of the Nations and Regions Labour is committed to replacing the House of Lords with an elected Senate of the Nations and Regions, to represent every part of the United Kingdom, and to improve the democratic legitimacy of the second chamber. 64
Accountability
Local Public Accounts Committees In return for greater devolution of funding and responsibility, we will establish local Public Accounts Committees, so that every pound spent by local bodies creates value for money for local taxpayers. 64
Freedom of Information
Extend FOI to large private companies Our Freedom of Information laws have shone a light into the darker corners of government and are a crucial check on the power of the Executive. We will extend their scope so that public services run by large private companies are included. 68
Social economy
Support and develop charities, mutuals, co-ops and social enterprises by improving access to growth finance through the new British Investment Bank.
Consider how to support employee buy-outs when businesses are being sold.
Our charities, mutuals, co-operatives and social enterprises are pioneering new models of production that enhance social value, promote financial inclusion, and give individuals and communities power and control. We will continue to support and help develop the social economy by improving access for co-operative and mutual organisations to growth finance through the new British Investment Bank. And we will consider how to support employee buy-outs when businesses are being sold. 21
Terrorism and surveillance
Update investigative laws to keep up with changing technology We will need to update our investigative laws to keep up with changing technology, strengthening both the powers available, and the safeguards that protect people’s privacy. This is why Labour argued for an independent review, currently being undertaken by David Anderson. We will strengthen the oversight of our intelligence agencies to make sure the public can continue to have confidence in the vital work that they do to keep us safe. 54
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