The Labour modernisers are alive and still kicking. As well as Stella Creasy, who wants to extend consumer rights to the public sector, and Dan Jarvis and Steve Reed, who are tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, there is Liz Kendall.
The Shadow Minister for Care and Older People (you know, the one, pictured, who isn’t Rachel Reeves) has an article [ ] in the IPPR journal in which she argues that Labour should be on the side of the users rather than the providers of public services.
Her starting point is fiscal responsibility, quoting the Institute for Fiscal Studies:
Only 40 per cent of this government’s planned spending cuts will have been made by the time of the next election.
But the interesting bit is her support for devolution of power to the individual:
The state can hoard power locally just as much as it does nationally. Local professionals and politicians often think they know best, as much as civil servants and ministers. This is one reason why public services often end up doing things to or for people rather than with them. At worst, this can mean entrenching dependency and undermining people’s capacity to change their own lives.
So power will be devolved not only from central to local government, but from councils to communities and – crucially – individuals, too. …
The national evaluation [of personal health budget pilot schemes, set up by Labour] shows that giving individuals choice and control improves their quality of life and well being and reduces their use of more expensive hospital care.
Let us hope we see a lot more of this kind of thing from shadow ministers over the next year.