BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: Blair years  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Blair years Monday, 6 May, 2002, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Labour's 1997 pledges: Welfare, housing and pensions
The following page details Labour's activity in government on welfare, housing and pensions matters, based on what it committed itself to in the manifesto. Some pledges have been omitted for the sake of brevity. No judgement has been made to the inherent value of the pledge, but important criticisms are included where applicable.

You can choose another policy area below:

Introducton and explanation
Economy
Health
Education
Home affairs
Environment
Welfare
Constitution
Foreign/Defence

WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"Labour's national childcare strategy will plan provision to match the requirements of the modern labour market and help parents, especially women, to balance family and working life."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The government has largely been praised for its movement towards reforming child care provision with some observers saying that it has proved quite imaginative in this area.
CRITICISMS AND QUALIFICATIONS
Critics say that there are still problems with finding affordable child care. In March 2002 the Department for Work and Pensions proposed to pay grandparents to look after their grandchildren so that parents could work, effectively given official backing to a practice in many families.

WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"While recognising the need for flexibility in implementation and for certain exemptions, we support the right of employees not to be forced to work more than 48 hours a week; to an annual holiday entitlement; and to limited unpaid parental leave."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The 48-hour limit is enshrined in the Working Time Regulations, which came into force on 1 October 1998. The rights to holiday leave and unpaid parental leave are guaranteed by the Employment Relations Act 1999.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We are reviewing educational finance and maintenance for those older than 16... "
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The Government has carried out several reviews of different aspects of educational funding. It accepted the findings of the Dearing Committee on student financing. The National Learning and Skills Council is also charged with reviewing funding and support arrangements. It is too soon to assess what effect these reforms will have on staying-on rates.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"Mortgage buyers require stronger consumer protection, for example by extension of the Financial Services Act, against the sale of disadvantageous mortgage packages."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE NOT MET
In December last year the government announced that the Financial Services Authority, the city watchdog, would become the regulator of mortgage sales. The measure has not yet been introduced but the Consumers' Association has welcomed the government's decision.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will provide protection where most needed: for tenants in houses in multiple occupation."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
Landlords can now apply to qualify for the "certificate of competence" under a self-regulation scheme operated by the Guild of Letting and Management. The government says that it will review the success of self-regulation before deciding whether or not legislation is necessary.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will simplify the current rules restricting the purchase of freeholds by leaseholders ... We will introduce 'commonhold', a new form of tenure enabling people living in flats to own their homes individually and to own the whole property collectively."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill which was placed before Parliament in June 2001 included proposals to simplify the existing qualifying rules for collective enfranchisement. The legislation was enacted - just under the wire - on the 1 May 2002.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"The phased release of capital receipts from council house sales will increase the stock of housing for rent"
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The 1997 Local Government Finance Act provides basis for release of capital receipts, but not all of the money has yet been released.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will examine means of delivering more automatic help to the poorest pensioners"
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The minimum income guarantee, Labour's renaming of income support, has increased payments to poorer pensioners. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown pledged in the 2002 Budget to ensure that single pensioners would have a minimum income of 100 from 2003. However, there are problems with take up. Campaigners estimate that at least 500,000 pensioners are not claiming the support they are entitled to.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will reform the Financial Services Act so that the scandal of pension mis-selling ... will not happen again."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 established a powerful regulatory body, the Financial Services Authority, whose remits includes the sale of pensions. The regulator was charged with tackling the fall-out of the pensions mis-selling scandal in two ways. The most urgent cases comprising 421,000 people were dealt with in the first phase. The FSA told pensions firms that they had to clear all outstanding less-urgent cases - generally younger people - by 30 June 2002.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"Labour will create a new framework - stakeholder pensions... "
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
Stakeholder pensions became available in April 2001. Some 750,000 people have bought into the scheme. At the moment it is too early to tell how successful the scheme will be and what implications it will have for other pensions arrangements.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will also seek to develop the administrative structure of SERPS so as to create a 'citizenship pension' for those who assume responsibility as carers [and] as a result lose out on the pension entitlements... "
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
Carers and long-term disabled people who are not working will receive credits as part of the new State Second Pension replacing Serps in April 2002.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We will establish a Royal Commission to work out a fair system for funding long-term care for the elderly."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The Royal Commission reported in March 1999 and recommended that the government provide free nursing and personal care for all. It also recommended that the government establish a national commission to not only set and monitor standards but represent the rights of the elderly.
CRITICISMS AND QUALIFICATIONS
The government subsequently ignored the major recommendation for free nursing and personal care, much to the anger of campaigners. But, as a consequence of devolution, Scotland went its own way when Holyrood voted to pay for both. The issue has consistently ranked as among the most important in opinion polls on health provision.
WHAT THE MANIFESTO SAID:
"We are committed to an independent inspection and regulation service for residential homes and domiciliary care."
CONCLUSION: PLEDGE MET
The Care Standards Act 2000 established the National Care Standards Commission as a statutory independent body. The NCSC began operation on 1 April 2002.

You can choose another policy area below:

Introducton and explanation
Economy
Health
Education
Home affairs
Environment
Welfare
Constitution
Foreign/Defence


Key Stories

Analysis

PLEDGES ANALYSIS

HAVE YOUR SAY

AUDIO VIDEO
Links to more Blair years stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Blair years stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes