Sunday morning was dominated by the debates on Education and Health and Social care. In advance of the Education debate Angela Rayner spoke and gave commitments for a future Labour Government.
The main ones being Labour will:
- Close tax loopholes used by private schools and integrate them into general education service.
- Tax privilege to fund public services generally.
- Deliver Sure Start plus.
- Free nursery service for 2,3 and 4 year olds that will be part of education rather than help for parents to work.
- End University tuition fees.
- Scrap Ofsted because it is not fit for purpose.
- End the spiralling cost of school uniforms.
- Produce new form of Open University to support learning for life.
The Health and Social Care debate was preceded by a speech by Mark Serwotka, President of the TUC, in which he paid tribute to the staff of the NHS who had performed his heart transplant and helped him through the whole process. Mark pointed out that the staff looking after him came from all over the world and made an impassioned plea for the need to embrace immigrants and the skills and cultural diversity they brought to the UK.
He also spoke of the need for a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Government to tackle the disastrous effects of 10 years of Tory austerity and to heal the wounds inflicted on the UK by the Tories and UKIP/Brexit Party over Brexit by coming together to support the approach being championed by Jeremy Corbyn
In amongst all the detailed discussion around these important issues one of the loudest rounds of applause came for the delegate who proposed that part of Labours programme should be to abolish Eton given the privations it had imposed on the rest of us.
The afternoon session dealt with rebuilding public services with a great emphasis on the services that have been destroyed by the Tories and their coalition partners, the Lib Dem’s, since 2010.
A flavour of the debates was given in the presentation by Diane Abbott who outlined the effects of cuts in encouraging increases in crime and the failures of the Tories in relation to Grenfell, in relation to the Windrush generation and their hostile environment towards immigrants generally. Amongst the commitments she gave for an incoming Labour Government were:
- A new, properly funded Youth service
- Justice for the victims of the Grenfell fire
- Labour will repeal the 2014 Immigration Act and end the hostile environment
- An end to indefinite immigration detention and the closure of the Yaris Wood detention centre
- A full review of detention policy, and
- Inquiry into blacklisting and the release of all the papers relating to the Shrewsbury 24
In the debates which followed delegate after delegate gave examples of the effects of cuts in their areas, supported what had been outlined and in some areas argued for the party to go further in rebuilding the public services destroyed by the Tories.
On that note Conference adjourned for the day.