Today, Thursday 24th July, Citizens UK is launching its People’s Manifesto in the build up to the 2015 general election at a Civil Society Summit, hosted by Queen Mary University of London and attended by Rt Hon Sam Gyimah MP for East Surrey and Children's Minister.
In 2010 Citizens UK’s General Election Assembly was dubbed by the media as the ‘Fourth Debate’ when Brown, Cameron and Clegg all took to the stage at Westminster Central Hall to address the organisations eclectic membership and respond to its manifesto.
The eight asks are around the themes of: Governance of the UK; Improved Social Care; Children’s Health; Affordable Housing; Dignity for Families Seeking Sanctuary; Employment & Training for Young People; Curbing Exploitative Lending; and Increased Implementation of the Living Wage.
Detailed proposals range from a request for a time limit on adult detention for immigration purposes, and to end the use of pain-based removal methods; to the demand for social care to be provided by a small and consistent team who are familiar to the care recipient, with a minimum of 30 minutes per visit; and a call for employability skills to be included on the national curriculum.
Neil Jameson, Executive Director, Citizens UK, said:
“The Citizens UK manifesto proposals are true reflections of the issues that matter in our communities. They have been developed by our members who engaged the help of sector specialists to help refine each ask.
“From now until May 2015 we will be campaigning on each of these issues, and bringing them to the attention of local MP candidates, as well as friends and neighbours at places of work, worship, education and leisure; and ultimately at the polling stations.
“When people are organised they have the power to change their neighbourhoods, and the country, for the better. This democratic process ensures civil society has a place at the negotiating table with the people in power.”
Citizens UK is the home of national community organising and exists to promote civil society. The organisation brings together leaders from local institutions such as schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, universities and unions to work together on concerns identified by their members. These groups are often perceived as too different to work together, however when united they form powerful alliances locally and nationally.
Charlotte Wood, co-chair Citizens UK Council said:
“We know this process works. In the lead up to the 2010 election we asked the political party leaders to pledge an end to the detention of children for immigration purposes because it directly affected our communities. Earlier this year, the politicians stood by their word on this issue and through the Immigration Act the coalition government made this proposal law.
“We represent a huge body of people across the UK and I believe the issues we’ve identified such as housing, low-pay, immigration and children’s health will resonate with a large percentage of the electorate. It’s for that reason I hope the three main party leaders will return to our stage, as they did in May 2010, and address our members and respond to the ‘People’s Manifesto’.”
Teams from across Citizens UK’s membership are now rolling out targeted campaigns for each of the manifesto asks and working with partners to bring these to the attention of MPs and parliamentary candidates in marginal constituencies as well as the boroughs and cities where Citizens UK branches exist.