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BASW’s politics blog

Public and Political Affairs Lead, Kerri Prince at the Labour Conference 2020

The annual Labour Party conference has been taking place virtually over the past four days, but it shadows in comparison to the 13,000-strong attendees that normally descend upon Liverpool or Brighton this time each year.

With no rowdy conference floor passionately debating motion after motion, a bustling exhibition section, or activists protesting outside the venue – it just isn’t the same.

I attended a couple of events in the fringe listings – a ‘Social Care Policy Panel’ and a ‘Health and Wellbeing Panel’ which were incredibly similar in content.

The latter included Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary Jon Ashworth as a panelist, which gave a small insight into what the opposition are thinking in terms of the challenges facing our health and social care sector.

Most interestingly, there was a key focus on tackling health inequalities, with Ashworth calling for a ‘health inequalities strategy’ and Labour MP Rachel Reeves also on the panel saying that tackling the causes of health inequality will be a driver of Labour’s economic policy.

Yesterday, Keir Starmer gave his speech to an empty room in Doncaster, with a potential metaphor for his pitch setting the background – a red brick wall. His pitch to the country had one key line which was repeated throughout – “I want this country to be the best country to grow up in, and the best country to grow old in”.

As Keir is just 5 months into the job, it is too soon to see what detailed policy agenda he will be offering the country as the next General Election.  

The challenge for BASW as an organisation now is to drive forward our position, our evidence, and our beliefs on what policies and regulations should be part of Labour’s new mantra.

A key part of trying to create positive changes in Government policy is by bringing the opposition on board with what we want to achieve, so that the case can be made in Parliament.

The Government and Opposition are rightfully occupied with tackling the coronavirus, but we will seize the opportunities to make representations to all parties on behalf of BASW members and ensure that your voice is heard in Westminster.