Lookback at Labour's pledges during election campaign

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Significant promise: Labour pledged to reform business rates in its manifesto (Ingus Kruklitis)
Significant promise: Labour pledged to reform business rates in its manifesto (Ingus Kruklitis)

Related tags Legislation Government Finance

After the nation elected Keir Starmer as Prime Minister, The Morning Advertiser (MA) has looked back on the pledges made by the Labour Party during the election campaign.

In its manifesto released on Thursday 13 June, Labour committed to reforming business rates in a bid to support high street firms and replace the current system, which the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said was a “significant promise” for pubs.

The manifesto also pledged​ to cut down on antisocial behaviour with more neighbourhood police and implement a windfall tax on oil and gas giants as well as reduce waste by moving to a circular economy.

In April, the party also laid out its five-point plan to “revamp​” empty and boarded up pubs, including stamping out late payments as well as business rates reformation.

Reacting to the announcement earlier this year, UKHospitality (UKH) deputy chief executive Allen Simpson said: “Hospitality helps create places where people want to live, work and invest, but too often policies make it expensive to run businesses in the heart of communities. 

Rebalance and reduce 

“We need to see Governments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff, alongside local authorities, do all they can to rebalance and reduce the costs that businesses are paying.

“Reforming business rates is an ideal place to start and will enable businesses to spend more of their available cash on investment, rather than just paying the bills.”

Addressing attendees at the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) Pint Tech conference​​ in London on 22 May, MP for Newcastle Chi Onwurah also pledged​ a Labour Government would champion the hospitality sector.

She said: “Pubs are such an important part of communities in cities, towns and villages across the country.

“That’s why [the sector] will always find a friend in MPs and Parliamentarians because we know what pubs and breweries mean to so many of our constituents.”

Labour's five-point plan in full:

1. Tackle anti-social behaviour and shoplifting​​: so people feel safe when they go out to shop, eat or socialise in their local high street, putting 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on the beat and scrapping the Tories’ £200 rule which stops shoplifting being investigated.

2. Roll out banking hubs​​: thriving high streets need banking services for local businesses and customers. Labour will roll out banking hubs to guarantee face-to-face banking in every community boosting local high streets and shops.

3. Replace business rates​​: Labour will replace business rates with a new system of business property taxation which rebalances the burden and levels the playing field between our high streets and online giants.

4. Stamp out late payment​​: small and independent retailers shouldn’t be forced to wait months to be paid for work by big clients. Labour would introduce tough new laws to stamp out late payments and make sure more money gets to high street firms.

5. Revamp empty shops, pubs and community spaces​​: people won’t visit high streets blighted by unsightly boarded up shops. Labour will give communities a strong new ‘right to buy’ beloved community assets to revamp high streets and end the blight of empty premises.

Onwurah added the hospitality sector in her constituency creates 20,000 jobs and adds £361m to the local economy.

Following news Labour had secured a majority win in the general election, voices from across the sector shared their views, as featured in the MA’s​ live feed​.

Night-Time Economy Adviser for Manchester Sacha Lord warned we cannot expect to see “overnight change” while the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) urged the party to implement its manifesto and campaign commitments “as soon as possible”.

CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said: “It was heartening to hear Labour’s announcement of a five-point plan to “end the decline of British locals” during their election campaigning, and I hope they will implement these proposals as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile Admiral Taverns CEO Chris Jowsey joined calls for a business rates overhaul and beer duty reforms.

The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association) also outlined its wish list for the new Labour Government, including a reduction of VAT for the licensed hospitality industry.

Come together 

During his first speech as Prime Minister on Friday afternoon (5 July) Starmer vowed to restore trust in politics and build a "Government of service" and said the party’s work started immediately.

However, licensee of the Plough and Hewlett in Cheltenham, Emma Gibbon, told the MA the sector needed clarification on a number of things, including a potential increase to minimum wage, and urged publicans to communicate business struggles with their local MPs.

She said: “While we are all for paying our staff more, we need to hear how this extra cost is going to be offset for these already struggling businesses.

“As a sector we need to come together again and get our new MPs into our businesses and show the reality of what we are currently facing.

“We need to show them the asset we bring to our communities and that a thriving hospitality sector can initiate growth in the economy.

“I'd urge every publican to write to their new MP and set out what they feel the need to help their businesses survive.”

Related topics Legislation

Related news

Show more