Working Norwich. Jobs and inclusive growth for all

Times are difficult for many in Norwich with continuing Tory austerity and a national economy which will not recover from the effects of Covid-19 for years to come. Despite these big challenges Labour in Norwich is fighting back with a collaborative and creative municipal socialism gaining widespread recognition as a successful blueprint for a post-crash economy. To realise Labour’s aspirations to improve our community we must not simply manage but transform our local economy in support of working people and their families. This means promoting forms of economic ownership and activity that are democratic and create and retain wealth locally.

Labour understands that the City Council is a major player in the local economy. We are a large local employer and a significant purchaser of goods and services. We have responsibility for providing a range of vital services such as housing, local area planning, economic development and regeneration, waste collection, leisure, culture and looking after the city’s environment and citizens’ wellbeing. All of these are vital to the local economy. We will use our leverage to stand up for all our people.

A Labour City Council will:

  1. Resist an ideological onslaught from Conservative led governments since 2010 that has reduced council resources to spend on Norwich people by over 40%. Despite this Labour has balanced the budget by reducing senior management costs, generating income, improving efficiency, sharing services when appropriate, and sensibly using our reserves. If re-elected, we will continue this approach.

 

  1. Promote the rights of working people in Norwich by promoting trade union recognition across the city, and as a social value outcome in local purchasing. A Labour council will not employ staff on exploitative zero hours contracts, and we will apply this principle to our purchasing policies as far as legally possible. Neither will we engage with organisations involved in illegal blacklisting activities, or pursuing fire and re-hire tactics against their employees.

 

  1. Use the council’s resources innovatively to lever new investment into the city, prioritising investment in projects with the greatest potential to drive sustainable jobs growth.

 

  1. Ensure that all new council-funded construction includes job opportunities and training for the workforce. We will work with our partners to help increase training, apprenticeships, equal employment opportunities in the city and work to expand the real Living Wage and apprenticeships in the City Deal infrastructure programme through public procurement across Norwich’s anchor institutions.

 

  1. Work with partners to raise the city’s profile and attract visitors, students, new businesses, and investment to the city.

 

  1. Build on the work, both before and during Covid-19, to boost retailers in our city centre and ensure Norwich stays among the top shopping destinations within the United Kingdom. We will use licensing powers to support businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector, to use outside space appropriately in order to boost trade.

 

  1. Continue to boost the local economy by seeking to use local suppliers and workers and change our procurement policy so that weight is given to award contracts that will include the social value that the company will return to the community if it wins the contract.

 

  1. Successfully deliver our Town Investment Plan which has seen the City Council win over £25m in funding to enhance and develop our city through regeneration, skills and enterprise infrastructure.

 

  1. Continue to work with our local universities and partners to promote Norwich as a global centre for research and public knowledge – energy, engineering, science, digital businesses and art and design.

 

  1. Continue to promote a real Living Wage so we have a fair city with a strong economy. Labour will encourage more Norwich based employers, especially in the private sector, to pay the real Living Wage by offsetting the accreditation fees against business rates. Building on the success of the Norwich Living Wage campaign, we will develop a Fine City Employers Charter, which rewards and recognises good employers. We will continue to develop and establish our Good Economy Commission as part of our city recovery plan to support inclusive growth in our city.

 

  1. Labour will continue to expand the real living wage through local procurement, influencing our investments and our role as a landlord. Working with partners, Labour will launch an ‘A Real Wage for Norwich’ in 2022 to encourage further take up from employers.

 

  1. Labour will support the rights of working people in Norwich by promoting trade union recognition with employers and as a social value outcome in local purchasing. Labour will work with the TUC to encourage Norwich residents to join trade unions, so they work in safe environments, and ensue the safeguarding of their rights at work.

 

  1. Labour will not employ staff on zero hours contracts and apply this principle to our purchasing policies as far as legally possible. Neither will we engage with organisations involved in illegal blacklisting activities.

 

  1. Continue to bring services in-house, under democratic control. This will enable us to improve services, deliver value for money and enhance the terms and conditions of employees as an established exemplary employer. Our success at ensuring Norwich City Services Ltd has now become an accredited Living Wage employer shows what we can deliver, and pledge to continue to do so.

 

  1. Support the development of skills in the workplace by signing a Learning Agreement with Trades Unions. We will also seek to further expand the range of apprenticeships offered by the council, our solely owned companies, and encourage other employers to take on more.

 

  1. Increase business access to superfast broadband through our successful work with CityFibre. This will see the installation of a full fibre broadband network and give speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second near unlimited bandwidth and improved reliability.

 

  1. Support growth in knowledge businesses and new business start-ups including encouraging the development of worker-owned cooperatives and social enterprises. Work with commercial landlords, together with the BID and partners, to use empty retail or business space as ‘meanwhile’ space for start-ups or small businesses and social enterprises to get them going.

 

  1. Develop activities to support digital skills and employability with particular emphasis on connecting NEET young people to local job opportunities and help them to develop their own job opportunities where appropriate.

 

  1. Develop growth and regeneration through working to unlock currently stalled sites such as the Deal Ground / Utilities site as part of the wider regeneration of East Norwich. Implement a framework for considering viability assessments used by developers, testing viability through a rigorous and transparent system. Make full use of new government guidance, and work to ensure new development provides the right infrastructure.

 

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