Richard Watts NPF report

I have the honour of representing Labour Councillors on the National Policy Forum.

The NPF played an important role in drawing up Labour’s manifesto and I’m pleased that is that many of the best ideas in it have been tried and tested by Labour in local government – especially here in Islington. PLease read my article about that here.

On the NPF I serve on the Education, Skills and Early Years policy commission.  Over the past year I’ve regularly attended policy commision meetings to argue for a strong Labour commitment to early years, Councils playing a key strategic role in our schools system and the benefits of the Free School Meals for All we have introduced in Islington.

I’m delighted that Free School Meals for All has now been adopted as Labour policy. You can read a longer article on Labourlist by Fiona Twycross AM and myself about why this is such a great idea.

FSM Page
Although the early election has arrived in the middle of Labour’s policy making cycle, you can read where the Policy Commission reached on Labour’s website here:

Labour Party: Education, Skills and Early Years.

I will update this page when I have more information about the role the NPF will play after the election.

Update 29/4/17:

The Party is currently conducting a swift, but in my view thorough, consultation with NPF members as the Manifesto is drawn up.

A, very welcome, meeting will be held between Shadow Ministers and the LGA and ALC Executives to discuss Labour local government’s requests from the Manifesto. I will be attending.

A phone conference for the Education, Skills and Early Years Policy Commission was held on Friday. Angela Rayner set out her plans for the manifesto, which were strongly supported. I argued for, among other things, a pledge to introduce local accountability for all state funded schools, that the proposed National Education Service is an excellent idea as a set of universal entitlements but should be run locally not as a national agency, and for protecting fostering services as part of local children’s social care services.

Update 3/5/17:

In recognition of the importance of Labour in local government, a consultation with councillors is an essential part of Labour’s process to draw up a manifesto.  Last night members of the Executives of the LGA Labour Group and the Association of Labour Councillors met with Teresa Pearce and John Healey, the Shadow Secretaries of State for Local Government and Housing.  Theresa and John listened carefully to our views, and asked for comment on other suggestions that had been submitted into the manifesto process affecting local government.  It was a constructive meeting with a lot of agreement about the need for Labour policies at all levels to devolve power to local communities and give ordinary people much more sense of control over their own lives.

The final manifesto will be voted on by the Party’s National Executive Committee shortly.


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