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Labour needs big ideas to win voters back, report warns

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Labour needs big ideas to win voters back, report warns

Labour will fail to win back voters who deserted to the Tories at the last election until it is much clearer about its core identity and driving purpose, according to a new report based on detailed interviews with former supporters.

The analysis by Renaissance, a new group chaired by the frontbencher and MP for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock, finds that people who had voted Labour previously, but switched to the Conservatives in 2019, will not be convinced to return to the fold by new Labour policies, but instead want big ideas and themes spelling out what the party actually stands for.

Referring to in-depth investigations of the views of its lost voters, said Kinnock: “We found that specific policy proposals did little to break through the cycle of cynicism, because politicians are assumed to break policy promises and they don’t address the fundamental issue of the voter needing to understand Labour’s identity and wider motives before they give the party a hearing.”

The report, while praising Keir Starmer’s recent party conference speech, found that among those ex-Labour backers who had switched to Boris Johnson in 2019, the Conservatives were now seen to have “a record of delivery” on issues such as Brexit, the furlough scheme, vaccinations and running the economy since 2010.

Also, alarmingly for Labour, the interviews showed that the party’s regular criticisms of the Tories for their record on the NHS and for following an austerity agenda were not hitting home with the lost voters. “Traditional attack lines are having little effect,” the report found.

Austerity was seen by many switchers as an unfortunate but necessary economic policy, while higher taxes on the those earning high salaries were viewed as punishing hard work and success.

The report – based on discussions with 60 switchers from different parts of the country, of different ages, backgrounds and views on Brexit – comes amid renewed anxiety in the party over its failure to make inroads into the Conservatives’ lead in the polls, despite the succession of crises that have engulfed the government in recent months. These include continued criticism of its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afghanistan, the cost of living and labour shortages.

In the latest Opinium poll for the Observer today the Tories retain a four-point lead after a party conference season that Labour MPs hoped might see a revival of their party’s and Starmer’s fortunes.

While Johnson’s approval ratings have dropped to their lowest levels since the last election, the Tories are still up two points on a fortnight ago on 41%, while Labour, also up two, lags behind on 37%. The Conservatives and Labour are each holding on to the vast majority of their respective general election voters: 86% of 2019 Conservatives and 85% of 2019 Labour voters.

While voters blame the government for many domestic problems, there is little sign that their frustration is benefiting Labour. The poll found that two-thirds think the government has responded badly to the shortage of HGV drivers and the knock-on effects for the energy market and the economy, while only a quarter (26%) think it has responded well. Even among Tory voters, 42% think the government response has been bad compared with 47% who think it has been good.

Despite this, Starmer remains six points behind Johnson when voters are asked who would make the best prime minister (26% for Starmer and 32% for Johnson). The figures are little changed since August.

Those questioned by Renaissance said Labour needed to be clearer about its central messages if it was to get them back, convince them it was a party of working people and good jobs, that it could manage the public finances sensibly, and that it had a positive story to tell about the future of Britain after Brexit.

Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North from 2015-2019 and a Renaissance advisory board member, said: “Renaissance’s report gives an important insight into how Labour can rebalance the scales reaching out to former voters in Stoke, with a focus on good jobs, security and building a more resilient, proud Britain. If Labour is to rebuild that coalition and to recast itself as a whole nation party of government then it must re-establish itself as the natural party of places like the Potteries.”

The report calls on Keir Starmer to prioritise three of his major conference speech themes – good jobs, value for money, and security. It also calls for Labour to champion a more resilient Britain – building on Rachel Reeves’s “make, sell and buy more in Britain” policy – in order to tell a wider story about how the Conservatives have left businesses, supply chains and critical national infrastructure vulnerable and exposed to hostile capital.

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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.

 

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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at https://cmris.npf.gov.ng.

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at cmftech@npfcmr.ng,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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