What is Labour’s big idea? Put your pension into the next generation

by Stella Creasy 

Labour has been a mass membership party in previous decades. But only when we have been a mass movement have we won elections and transformed Britain. Whether 1945, 1966 or 1997; at our best our members are messengers not just for changing the government but for changing lives.

In an era when so many find themselves alienated from the political process, to have so many want to join our cause is what some would call a high quality problem to have. The real problem is if we have nothing to offer in return for their time, energy and expertise. Whether people are from the left or the right of the party, all want being involved to mean more than a meeting or leaflet round.

The answer for us is not to make it harder for people to be part of Labour, or to waste the time of those who join, but to channel their energy towards common causes.

We should not let this wait for government but start now, and I want us to start with one of the biggest inequalities we face: inter-generational injustice.

Whilst the Tories try to divide Britain, let us be the movement that helps deliver inter-generational opportunity. With an army now 600,000 strong we can be a powerful voice for policies that will transform our country. In doing so we can show how Labour would make different radical and credible choices about the future direction of Britain.

Most agree that Britain is facing a housing crisis and a demographic challenge with an ageing population. With resources tight, the answer isn’t to compromise but to collaborate.

Currently the chances for many young people of getting on the housing ladder are slipping away. 2015 is the year when more mortgages were issued for buy to let than to first time buyers.

The average age of a first time buyer is now 37 and interest rates are set to rise. Being able to keep a secure roof over your head is becoming wishful thinking for millions of young Britons. So, too, many pensioners watch their children and grandchildren face the prospect of a lower standard of living than they had- and feel powerless to help.

Labour exists not just to be angry at injustice, but to find answers to it. Whilst this government is happy to punish this generation, we will fight for a better future for all. We should lead a campaign for a government backed social impact pension bond scheme to support house-building and home ownership in this country for first time buyers, and to deliver a return for pensioners who invest.

Crucially, it should be local government who would take the lead in spending this funding, helping them to build the housing their communities need and targeting those struggling to own their own home or stay in their areas.

Bringing together generations around their shared interest, it would also cut out the middlemen profiting from failing to serve either in our distorted property market. Offering a guaranteed income for older citizens and investment in decent housing for the next, such a policy would help address both pensioner poverty and Britain’s housing crisis. In doing so it could deliver benefits far in excess of its costs.

This way of acting must be the road ahead for Labour- to not wait until the election to make the case for such proposals but to work with local authorities who want to build homes, those who want to invest in them and those who want to live in them to win the argument for change. So too we should not wait until the election or leave it to those elected. To win the battle for our ideas, we will need the help of everyone- from grassroots campaigners helping sign up those to pledge to invest, to councils with house-building programmes ready to go and legislation to introduce the bond, at every level of our movement there is a role we can all play.

Unity for our movement doesn’t mean we have to think the same, but it does mean using our collective strength to make a difference for those who need and depend on us to fight for a better future for them and their families.

In three weeks’ time we will have a new leader and a new deputy. Let us also have a new mission- to take the fight for inter-generational justice to this government and win it for Britain. In doing so, let’s use our shared strength to show that Labour is not just an opposition, but an alternative government in waiting. There is not a moment to lose.

Stella Creasy is MP for Walthamstow and standing for the deputy leadership

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “What is Labour’s big idea? Put your pension into the next generation”

  1. Tafia says:

    Labour have no big plans. They don’t have a leader yet other than it will either be Corbyn or Burnham, and they have no idea what that leader will do.

  2. Madasafish says:

    Would I trust my pension to any scheme to invest in housing – run by any Government?

    Err no. I may be stupid but I am not insane. Governments lie, cheat and renege on promises – see SERPS.

    Any anyone who suggests such a scheme is proposing to con the naive and stupid.

  3. paul barker says:

    This sounds like an excellent idea but why make it a Labour-only campaign? This is just the sort of idea that could get cross-party support.

  4. Franklin Scrase says:

    For community size developments, the actual ownership of whole developments should be by a not-for-profit owned by the residents, with residents needing to buy a share in order to be a resident (the local authority could also buy shares where it wanted to provide housing). Shares might be sold for £50,000 and be mortgageable, with the money raised used to develop community facilities or to reduce the companies debts. This way residents would have access to low rent homes, a capital stake in property and a shared interest in using their voting shares to make the development a good home for all.

  5. Linda Gilroy says:

    Frankllin is right – and indeed the basis of this sort of model has been around for a number of years. It has the backing of @party.coop – one of the many lost opportunities of losing the last election see https://party.coop/wp-content/blogs.dir/5/files/2014/10/Housing-Housing-Policy-Paper-Annual-Conference-2013.pdf?281a22.
    You may find lots of other practical ideas that come from Labour’s sister party on the web site. Stella is a Labour and Co-operative MP. Madasafish – it is not run by government – this is one of many polices that empower people to do things together – the sort of bottom up socialism which I and thousands of others believe in! Of course it is an idea that can and does command all party support.- it is just that doing things together is part of the Co-operative movement which emerged as the unions did from the the common sense of working class people looking for practical answers to pressing problems. Such ideas still tend to get more priority amongst all the competing ideas and polices for government from us than from others!

Leave a Reply