Ahead of the party’s conference in Brighton this weekend, Sir Keir has published a 35-page pamphlet for the Fabian Society setting out 10 guiding principles for his contribution society idea.
They include a pledge to “always put hard-working families and their priorities first”, a promise that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be rewarded fairly” and a commitment that any Labour government would “play its role in restoring honesty, decency and transparency in public life”.
Another principle is that “families, communities and the things that bring us together must once again be put above individualism”.
Sir Keir writes he believes his proposals are very different to David Cameron’s ill-fated ‘Big Society’ pledge.
“I believe we are living through a time when the individualism that prioritises personal entitlement, moral superiority and self-interest is receding in society’s rear-view mirror. In its place, we have the chance to build something more secure, more fair and more just," he states.
“A programme that offers proper opportunities to people across the country, regardless of where they live or their background; one that harnesses the resources of the state and the innovative brilliance of the private sector to work together rather than against each other. The Conservatives have paid lip service to this in the past, with half-hearted and quickly abandoned ideas like the ‘Big Society’.
“We would do things differently. In order to put contribution and community at the centre of our efforts, we would build an effective partnership of state and private sector to prioritise the things that we have seen really matter: health, living conditions, working conditions and the environment. And together we would flesh out those things that are less immediately tangible but still vital - community, wellbeing, security and opportunity.”
The essay also sets out a number of policy positions - including to "fix the holes in the shoddy Brexit deal", introducing a new Race Equality Act aimed at tackling structural racism and the creation of a New Deal for Working People that would increase the minimum wage and introduce sick pay and parental leave rights for workers as soon as they start new jobs.
As the report was released, Sir Keir said: “People want to emerge from lockdown into something better. Our country is now at a crossroads: down one path is the same inequality of opportunity and insecurity. The Labour path is about building a better future for working people.
“Labour will build a society that prizes the contributions people make, providing security and opportunity across Britain.”
The 10 points he has suggested to "form the basis of a new contract between Labour and the British people" for the 'contribution society' are:
• We will always put hard-working families and their priorities first.
• If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be rewarded fairly.
• People and businesses are expected to contribute to society, as well as receive.
• Your chances in life should not be defined by the circumstances of your birth – hard work and how you contribute should matter.
• Families, communities and the things that bring us together must once again be put above individualism.
• The economy should work for citizens and communities. It is not good enough to just surrender to market forces.
• The role of government is to be a partner to private enterprise, not stifle it.
• The government should treat taxpayer money as if it were its own. The current levels of waste are unacceptable.
• The government must play its role in restoring honesty, decency and transparency in public life.
• We are proudly patriotic but we reject the divisiveness of nationalism.
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