More than 350 people, aged nine to ninety-nine, participated in Warwick Labour’s ‘Pick a Policy’ event on Thursday, outside the Societies Fair.
Alongside our own stand inside, which was very well-attended, many students and passers-by had their say on four new policies recently announced at Labour Party conference.
Despite the rain (as braved above by exec members Anna and Alex) the stand remained popular all day long, and even gained praise on Twitter from former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. We can now announce the results of this experiment:
In fourth place, with 39 votes, was the policy to freeze energy prices for two years from 2015. Despite having proved very popular with the general public, this was not seen as a priority by our participants. In third place, with 60 votes, was the idea of reversing a business rate rise for small and medium sized businesses, which will be the bedrock of the economic recovery, not the small number of bigger businesses favoured by the coalition government.
In second place, with 87 votes, was the pledge for free universal childcare. Seen as a key issue in the battle for equality, free childcare should allow more women to return to work quicker after having children, and to stay employed for longer, thus closing the pay gap. This policy seems expensive, but is in fact cost-neutral over the medium-term due to the increased tax take from more women in work.
But the runaway winner with 173 votes, was the plan to provide the long-term unemployed with jobs via Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee. The idea is to offer anyone unemployed for more than a year a six-month paid work placement, which they must undertake or face sanction. This tough-but-fair approach won huge support from our participants, and should give unemployed people much-needed work, dignity and increased employability.
Said Publicity Officer, Will Tucker: ‘I’m delighted with how well Pick a Policy was received by students and staff. The high level of participation is a vote of confidence in both Labour values and the work of the society and we’d certainly try the event again next year.’