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New report calls on Labour to set out ‘clear identity’ to win voters back

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Labour must “establish a clear identity” to win back former voters, according to a newly-released report.

It is one of three key challenges identified by the report, which also says the party must win the trust of voters on public finances, and pitch a positive vision for the future of Britain.

Renaissance,  chaired by shadow minister for Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Kinnock, is behind the research which involved speaking to 60 former Labour voters across England and Wales; each voter supported Labour in either 2015 or 2017 but switched to the Conservatives in 2019.

The 2019 general election, Labour’s worst set of results since 1935, saw the Conservatives make huge inroads into Labour’s voter base, informally dubbed the “red wall seats”. 

Worryingly for Labour, the report states that while voters feel trust in politicians “is virtually non-existent”, the Conservative party is seen as having a good record in delivering, following Brexit and the successful vaccine rollout. 

Renaissance chair Stephen Kinnock told the Guardian: “We found that specific policy proposals did little to break through the cycle of cynicism, because politicians are assumed to break policy promises and they don’t address the fundamental issue of the voter needing to understand Labour’s identity and wider motives before they give the party a hearing.”

The report follows mounting criticism that the party is not progressing ahead of the next election cycle. Labour would need to gain 124 seats – a swing of just over 10% to win a majority at the next election. Recent polling following the conference season suggests the party is still struggling to make inroads into the Conservative lead in the polls. 

Rennaissance’s report, which is based on data from May 2021, identifies “four key pillars” for Labour to succeed in winning back voters. 

First, to ‘relentlessly promote the party’s image as for working people. The report notes that Keir Starmer’s speech to the Labour party conference frequently focused on working people as a core message, with passages such as: “I am so proud to lead a party whose name is Labour. Don’t forget it. Labour. The party of working people.”

Second, the report recommends demonstrating “how every penny it invests will save money in frontline services”. It notes that Rachel Reeves looked to be pursuing this approach following her well-received conference speech. 

Third, Labour needs a stronger story on how Britain can “stand more firmly on its own two feet” following Brexit. 

And it acknowledges “the party is well on track” to deliver the fourth suggested pillar for success – campaigning for “safer communities and high streets”. 

Kinnock, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, launched Renaissance earlier this year because he felt it was up to the wider Labour movement to help put forward solutions to bring people back to Labour “and once again give them reasons to feel that Labour is their natural home”; adding that Keir Starmer and the Labour party cannot do this alone.

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Trump says Boris making ‘big mistake’ with wind, adding environmentalists ‘hate the world’

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Former US President Donald Trump has weighed back into British politics this evening, savaging the British government’s approach to wind power.

In his first TV interview to foreign media for over a year, Donald Trump was speaking to former UKIP leader Nigel Farage for his show on GB News.

Commenting on wind energy, Trump said, “I think wind is ridiculous.  I think wind is a horrible thing for Scotland, and I got to see it, because I own magnificent properties in Scotland and in Ireland. And I look at these magnificent fields with horrible windmills all over them, and windmills is a nice term”

Claiming that wind power is the most expensive form of energy, and one which can’t work without subsidy, Trump suggested that after a couple of years, wind turbines, “start to rust, and wear out, and look terrible, look even worse”.  He also suggested they “kill all the birds”.

Turning his guns on British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Trump told GB News that, “If Boris is going heavy into wind, he is wrong, he is making a big mistake”.

“In the UK it is all over the place.  You fly over the place, and I say what a shame what they have done. And you know the environmentalists are liking this stuff. I think they hate the world”.

Referring to his relationship with Boris Johnson, Trump said, “I like him.  I have always got along with him. He has got a little bit more on the liberal side, but I tell you, with energy, I am surprised that he would allow that to happen, because you have one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  And you are destroying it with all these wind turbines all over the place”.

Doubling down on his criticism, the former US President repeated his dislike of the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm, describing it as “disgusting to look at”.  Trump previously purchased the Menie estate near Aberdeen.

During the interview, the former US President appeared to receive some support from Nigel Farage for his views on wind turbines, with the former UKIP leader commenting, “Well I have to say that I am not a great fan of them”.

The UK wind industry is said to comprise over 11,000 turbines, the sixth largest number in the world.  In 2020, wind power contributed a quarter of the UK’s energy generation.    Wind is now the largest source of renewable energy in the UK with the government planning a further expansion of offshore capacity in the next decade.

Previous polling has suggested that British voters don’t share Donald Trump’s views on wind. In May 2020, a Public Attitudes Tracker published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showed that offshore wind had the backing of 81% of people, with onshore wind close behind at 77%.

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Re:Construction Podcast – Episode 89

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Retentions – with Lord Aberdare

Read Full Article: The Construction Index

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Government launches ‘ambitious’ social care plans

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Social care minister Gillian Keegan has claimed the government’s new white paper on adult social care provides an “ambitious 10-year vision”.

Ms Keegan told MPs that many of the sector’s issues are so problematic “that successive governments over decades have decided to duck them rather than deal with them but this Government is determined to get it right.”

Launching the paper, she explained that it was “underpinned by three core principles” – to ensure “everybody has choice, control and support to live independent lives”.

Last week the government was criticised by a number of its own MPs over plans to change the calculation of the social care cap. 

The new proposals will see those eligible for state support left unable to count the money towards the cap. Critics say the changes would significantly disadvantage the poorest in society.

She emphasises that the £300 million investment would  “support local authorities to increase the range of new supported housing options”.

Ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt reiterated his stance that the plans were “three steps forward, two steps back”.

He told the Commons this afternoon: “The step forward which we should acknowledge is the introduction of a cap. Whatever the arguments about what counts towards the cap, having a cap will make a big difference to many people and that is welcome.”

He said the local authorities that organise the care are  “barely” allocated enough to deal with “demographic change and the national living wage increases”.

He also highlighted that it was “hard to see an end to the workforce crisis which leaves 40 per cent turnover in many companies”.

He said the minister must rollout better measures to “deal with those huge problems”, as hospital wards “continue to be full of people who should be discharged and older people not getting the care they need because the carers do not exist.”

Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow minister for social care also criticised the plans, claiming that they had  “two central flaws”  as they “utterly failed to deal with the immediate pressures” of waiting lists and staff shortages.

She also complained that the proposal did not outline “more fundamental reforms we need to deliver a care system fit for the future”.

“Where was the long-term strategy to transform the pay, training, terms and conditions of care workers to deliver at least half a million additional care workers by 2030 just to meet growing demand?” she went on.

Commenting on the publication of the Government’s adult social care reform White Paper, People at the Heart of Care, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said: “The overall vision in the White Paper is the right one and if delivered could significantly improve the experience of people receiving care and those who work in the sector. However, the steps outlined don’t go fast or far enough to achieve this vision and the funding allocated to deliver it is insufficient. In particular, although there are some welcome commitments on training and skills for staff, there is little to tackle poor workforce pay and conditions and high vacancy levels in the sector.

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