DWP should be abolished says Labour’s Smith

Owen SmithLabour leadership hopeful Owen Smith has called for the Department for Work and Pensions to be abolished and replaced with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security.

Smith, who is the sole candidate to challenge Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and was also formerly shadow DWP secretary of state, before resigning his front bench role, said the Department had become a ‘byword for insecurity’.

Smith also pledged to reinstate the 50 per cent top rate of income tax and to reverse cuts in corporation tax. He said he would bring in a new wealth tax on those earning over £150,000.

The Labour leadership vote will take place on 24th September 2016.

Barnett Waddingham senior consultant Malcolm McLean says: “This appears to be a very retrograde step – not far removed from taking us back to the 1948 situation when we had Labour Exchanges, the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (MPNI) and a National Assistance Board (NAB).

“What we need is progressive policies on pensions, not what would appear to be upheaval of this nature for the sake of it. Alternatively we need a period of respite from all the many changes that have been made to pension policy over the last few years. Reorganising the central bureaucracy for no apparent reason is surely not the answer.”

Owen Smith’s 20 policy proposals

  1. a pledge to focus on equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity
  2. scrapping the Department for Work and Pensions and replacing it with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security
  3. introducing modern wages councils for hotel, shop and care workers to strengthen terms and conditions
  4. banning zero hour contracts
  5. ending the public sector pay freeze
  6. extending the right to information and consultation to cover all workplaces with more than 50 employees
  7. ensuring workers’ representation on remuneration committees
  8. repealing the Trade Union Act
  9. increasing spending on the NHS by 4% in real-terms in every year of the next Parliament
  10. a commitment to bringing NHS funding up to the European average within the first term of a Labour government
  11. greater spending on schools and libraries
  12. re-instating the 50p top rate of income tax
  13. reversing the reductions in corporation tax due to take place over the next four years
  14. reversing cuts to inheritance tax announced in the summer Budget
  15. reversing cuts to capital gains tax announced in the summer Budget
  16. a new wealth tax on the top 1% of earners
  17. a British New Deal unveiling £200bn of investment over five years
  18. a commitment to invest tens of billions in the north of England and to bring forward High Speed 3
  19. a pledge to build 300,000 homes in every year of the next Parliament – 1.5m over five years
  20. ending the scandal of fuel poverty by investing in efficient energy