NLGN BLOG

What does UKIP’s Manifesto Mean for Local Government?
Abigail Gilbert, Researcher, NLGN, 30 May, 2017

UKIP support has grown out of local opposition to the effects of a globalised economy, channelled through its anti-EU stance. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, following the public vote to Brexit last June, the party have struggled to set out a coherent vision for a post-EU domestic agenda. Now that their largely one trick pony has bolted into the Conservative party’s stables, as the latter pursues a “hard” Brexit, the party are desperately seeking a new narrative and identity.

A far cry from their 2010 manifesto, which included making the circle line on the London Underground into an actual circle, and bringing back imperial measures, their 2017 Manifesto speaks more to the places (largely coastal towns) which have given the party its initial success, notably in council seats.

Despite this, the Manifesto lacks any overarching vision for local government and often perpetuates a populist stance – prohibiting speeding fines and reducing council car park charges.

Full details of what it means for local government, here:

Health and Social Care


Social Care

  • Remove barriers between the NHS and social care, by establishing a department for Health and Care, creating a ‘sustainable care system assimilated into the NHS’
  • Provide NHS England with an additional £9bn a year by 2021/22
  • Invest £2bn each year in social care through savings from the foreign aid budget (in costings it is clear 2bn will not be met until 2022)
  • Abolish Care Quality Commission and introduce new inspection regime which supports whistle blowers

Mental Health


  • Increase spending on mental health services by £500million every year, funding at least 6,000 clinical psychologists
  • Make 28 day maximum waiting time to be seen (down from 18 weeks)
  • Ring-fence mental health funding to prevent it being used to subsidise other services
  • Introduce emotional health and wellbeing aspect into the Ofsted inspection framework

Education


  • Commitment to open a grammar school in every town
  • Adapt 11+ system to add transfer examinations up to the age of 16
  • Reverse policy of closing special educational needs schools so that children and parents have a choice over their educational environment

Boosting small businesses


  • “Force” every local authority in the country to offer at least 30minutes free parking in town centres to encourage trade
  • Cut business rates by 20% to 1.5million small businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000
  • HM Revenue to investigate and fine public sector bodies which take a long time to pay smaller businesses
  • Use Brexit/loss of competition regulation to prioritise small, local businesses in public sector contracts
  • Review SME public sector contracts
  • Compel all public bodies to publish contracts worth over £10,000 on the ‘Contract Finder’ website

Coastal Policy


Enterprise

  • Creation of coastal enterprise zones, and allow businesses within them to have a 50% cut on business rates
  • Create Coastal Towns Taskforce to oversee regeneration of areas which have suffered as a result of EU membership and raise funding for new arts and heritage
  • Coastal areas given top ranking to receive successor funds to ERDF
Housing
Local authorities in coastal enterprise zones be given the power to:

  • Access low interest government loans to buy and renovate poor housing stock and empty commercial properties to create quality accommodation
  • Issue compulsory purchase orders for poor quality homes in multiple occupation
  • Introduce minimum standards for properties in receipt of housing benefit
  • Refuse housing benefit payments to landlords in breach of planning legislation

Housing


  • Commitment to provide up to 100,000 new homes
  • Develop a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to acquire brownfield sites at existing use value/through compulsory purchase
  • Change planning law to enable the HDC to give planning permission to build 10-100 Factory Modular Built homes
  • Owners must sell properties back to the HDC at cost plus inflation
  • Invest revenue from Right to Buy into community housing
  • Scrap the bedroom tax
  • Give tenants right to request that housing benefit is paid directly to their landlords

Children’s services


Childcare

  • Address shortage of workers in childcare by ‘de-regulating and simplifying’
  • Remove restrictions on parents from using childcare entitlements to send their children to providers which are not Ofsted-approved
  • Extend term time primary school day by offering wrap-around childcare
  • Require LA’s to keep a register of childcare providers willing to provide emergency childcare at short notice
  • Amend planning legislation in order to make play spaces compulsory in housing estates and promote nursery or crèche provision in shopping centres, office blocks, hospitals, airports, railway stations
Adoption

  • Remove blanket ban on media reporting of placement and adoption proceedings and allow journalists to report on such cases as in other family law proceedings
  • Publish case summaries, skeleton arguments, judgements and other documents as a matter of course on an anonymised basis
  • Promote extensive use of Special Guardianship Orders so that children can keep links with their birth family

Ageing population


  • Continue to pay Attendance Allowance to all over the age of 65 who need help with personal care, including new claimants, from central government funds (rejecting conservative proposal that this should be funded locally)
  • Address the culture of long hours low pay and perceived low status in elderly care sector (how this will be done not detailed)
  • Commitment to keep free bus passes, winter fuel allowance, prescriptions and eye tests for all over 60s
  • Prioritise early intervention and community based models of care that promote independence, such as supported living arrangements
  • Protect care at home to ensure those with ongoing care needs can chose where they live

Workforce


  • Zero hours contracts forbidden including by third parties contracted by local authorities for care work
  • Cut excessive allowances to councillors, executive pay and bonuses, keep advertising budgets to a minimum, build partnerships with neighbouring councils

Policing and Punishment


Community Integration

  • FGM: make failure to report a known offence a crime; implement screening programme for girls thought to be at risk of FGM from birth to 16; carry out additional checks when girls return from countries known to practice FGM; make FGM an indictable offence with a sentence starting point of 6 years
  • Ban the niqab and burqa in public places

Police

  • Train and deploy 20,000 more police and employ 7,000 more prison officers
  • Reinstate full Stop and Search powers to police

Transport

  • Scrap HS2 and instead improve east-west rail services and connections across the North of England
  • Support transition to zero emission vehicles by ‘supporting’ installation of charging stations to towns and cities and mandating it in new housing development
  • Save rural bus services
  • Stop speed cameras from being used as revenue raisers for local authorities

Planning and Environment


  • Offer local referenda on unpopular development
  • Amend the NPPF to give ancient woodlands ‘wholly exceptional’ status
  • Amend planning legislation to promote inclusion of trees and open space in new development
  • Support farming and wildlife through grant schemes prioritising the preservation of natural habitats

Energy


  • Repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and support diverse energy market
  • Withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and EU Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Scrap green levies
  • Invest in shale gas

After decades of urban renaissance policy, their particular focus on coastal regeneration pays thought and attention to the fact that people in many towns feel increasingly marginalised from a supposedly increasingly connected global economy.

However, many of their policies adopt hard and simple solutions to nefarious and complex problems. This is most evident in their authoritarian approach to the difficult issue of community integration. Their aim with this manifesto may be twofold – to set out a governing agenda, but short of that, influencing the party in government after 9th June. As such, UKIP’s manifesto may live on as a campaigning platform from which they seek to shape Britain post-Brexit.


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