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What are Labour’s plans for the UK? All key announcements since winning election

Labour’s has swiftly moved forward with a series of key announcements since its election victory, aimed at addressing the UK’s most pressing issues.

The initiatives span areas, from housing and renewable energy to healthcare and immigration.

Members of the Government including Chancellor Rachel Reeves and Health Secretary Wes Streeting have emphasised their commitment to fulfilling their campaign promises and tackling the country’s challenges.

Here is an overview of Labour’s plans and the major announcements made since they took office:

Reintroducing housing targets

Ms Reeves has unveiled plans to “get Britain building again” by implementing mandatory housing targets. It is part of the party’s manifesto pledge to build 1.5 million homes over the next five years.

In her inaugural speech, she delcared: “We’ve received a strong mandate, and we will deliver on it.”

The Government will reinstate housebuilding targets and construct 1.5 million homes, including affordable and council housing.

They will also create a taskforce to expedite stalled housing projects, starting with 14,000 new homes in key areas such as Liverpool Central Docks and Langley Sutton Coldfield.

Three hundred planning officers will be added to support local councils, and previously rejected planning applications that could benefit the economy will be reconsidered.

Brownfield and greybelt land will be prioritised for development to meet housing targets, and the planning system will be reformed to address unresolved infrastructure projects, with new policy intentions for critical infrastructure to be announced in the coming months.

Boosting renewable energy

Ms Reeves announced that the “absurd” ban on onshore windfarms would be lifted. It is part of the range of planning reforms that will also support Labour’s plans to build more homes.

The move ties in with Labour’s wider plans for the UK to decarbonise its grid by 2030 and lower energy bills through the creation of the publicly owned company GB Energy.

In her speech, the Chancellor said: “And as of today we are ending the absurd ban on new onshore wind in England. We will also go further and consult on bringing onshore wind back into the nationally significant infrastructure projects regime meaning decisions on large developments will be taken nationally, not locally.”

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves (C) walks through the Treasury, before delivering a speech to an audience of leading business figures and senior stakeholders, announcing the first steps the new Labour Government will take to deliver economic growth, in London on July 8, 2024. (Photo by Jonathan Brady / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN BRADY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rachel Reeves walks through the Treasury before delivering a speech to businesspeople (Photo by Jonathan Brady/Pool/AFP)

Fixing the NHS

Mr Streeting has declared that the NHS is broken and announced that talks with junior doctors in England would restart this week.

In his first speech in the role, he said that patients were not receiving the care they deserved and the NHS’s performance was “not good enough.”

He acknowledged that the problems could not be fixed overnight, especially after the health service faced “the biggest crisis in its history” due to the pandemic.

Mr Streeting had confirmed on Saturday that he had fulfilled his promise to call junior doctors in England on “day one” of a Labour government.

He said: “I have just spoken over the phone with the BMA [British Medical Association] junior doctors’ committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week. We promised during the campaign that we would begin negotiations as a matter of urgency, and that is what we are doing.

Streeting said that it would “take time” to fix the NHS and would require a “team effort”, adding: “It will be the mission of my department, every member of this government, and the 1.4 million people who work in the NHS, to turn our health service around.”

Recruiting 6,500 new teachers

Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson has written to “all education workforces” to “reset the relationship” with the sector, as she takes over the job.

The Department for Education (DfE) said she would be meeting union bosses and other education leaders in the coming days.

Plans to recruit an additional 6,500 teachers are also already under way, with DfE stating that the Government will be expanding the existing “Every Lesson Shapes a Life” recruitment campaign.

It will also be restarting the “Share Your Skills” campaign, which focuses on recruiting teachers in the further education sector.

Phillipson said she wanted to put education “back at the forefront of national life” and “transform the image” of teaching as the profession had been “talked down, sidelined and denigrated”.

“I want all children to have the best life chances which means recruiting and keeping great teachers in our classrooms – today is the first step in that mission,” she said.

Tackling illegal immigration

During his first press conference with the media as Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer confirmed that Labour had followed through on its pre-election pledge to scrap the Conservatives’ Rwanda deportation scheme.

“The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent,” he said on Saturday.

The first migrants to cross the English Channel since Labour’s election victory arrived in the UK on Monday. Pictures showed groups of people wearing life jackets, and some wrapped in blankets, being escorted off a Border Force boat in Dover, Kent, with children among those being carried ashore.

It came after Home Secretary Yvette Cooper refused to say when the number of illegal migrant crossings would fall, but added that the Government “want to make progress as rapidly as possible”.

She announced her department would look into the legislation and treaties surrounding the Rwanda deal and that she “will set out more details to Parliament.”

She added: “But the first step in our approach to all of these issues is to make sure we are putting the money instead into boosting our border security, and that is why we are today launching the Border Security Command process to make sure that we can get a new commander and a new cross border police in place, in order to strengthen border security.”

Border Security Command will sit across security services, the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force and will use counter-terror style tactics to tackle smuggling gangs.

Labour has also said it would set up fast-track “Nightingale courts” to speed up the deportation of failed asylum seekers to help clear the backlog of cases. A new returns enforcement unit with 1,000 staff would fast-track removals.

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley during a visit to Lewisham Police Station in south London, to speak about neighbourhood policing and meet with policing teams. Picture date: Monday July 8, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Labour Cooper. Photo credit should read: Jeff Moore/PA Wire
Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley during a visit to Lewisham Police Station in south London (Photo: Jeff Moore/PA)

Tackling prison overcrowding

One of the biggest early issues for the new Government is overcrowding in British prisons, amid warnings that they could hit capacity in the coming weeks.

James Timpson, the new prisons minister, who has been appointed to the role despite not being an MP, attracted attention in his first days on the job after he suggested that “only a third of inmates should actually be in jail”.

Sir Keir defended Mr Timpson’s comments on Saturday and insisted his party was committed to tackling the state of UK prisons. “We’ve got too many prisoners, not enough prisons. That’s a monumental failure of the last government,” he said.

“We will fix that, but we can’t fix it overnight and therefore it is impossible to simply say we will stop the early release of prisoners and you wouldn’t believe me if I did say it.”

Offering further support to Ukraine

Shortly after taking over the role, Defence Secretary John Healey travelled to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and defence minister Rustem Umerov.

He pledged additional ammunition, missiles, boats and artillery to support Ukraine’s military following the invasion by Russia.

“There may have been a change in government, but the UK is united for Ukraine,” Mr Healey said.

“As the new Defence Secretary, I will ensure that we reinvigorate Britain’s support by stepping up supplies of vital military aid.

“Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes.

Resetting relationships with Europe

In his first days as Foreign Secretary, David Lammy visited his counterparts in Poland, Germany and Sweden, where he indicated the new Government’s commitment to resetting relationships with Europe and the EU.

He told The Guardian that the Government hopes to issue a joint declaration with the EU setting out a shared vision on issues including defence, energy security and illegal migration.

He told the paper: “We said in our manifesto we wanted an ambitious security pact, and that’s because we have been speaking to Europe about this for the last few years, and I think there is an appetite, particularly following the war in Ukraine and the challenges that EU faces in relation to energy and climate, to go broader than just defence.”

The Foreign Secretary added that he would “get into discussions with Europe and find those issues of mutual interest” in order to reach the joint declaration.

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