Can Labour heal Britain?

The new prime minister has work to do, but can his party really fix broken Britain?

UK Flag On Cracked background
(Image credit: fatido)

So, here we are. Another rainy day in London as the outgoing prime minister, Rishi Sunak, stands once again at the podium, his wife behind him in support, brimming with pride, as he announces his resignation with dignity.

Britain was hungry for change and here it is. But, can the new prime minister, Kier Starmer, fix broken Britain? 

The new prime minister has work to do. Now that Starmer has officially been declared prime minister by the King, where will he start? Can he really rebuild the economy and tackle the UK's housing crisis, NHS crisis and looming care crisis? Can he address the childcare costs and shortages crippling families, tackling food inflation as climate change continues to push prices up? And can he rebuild interest in the UK for investors?

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In his words, wounded Britain needs TLC - can Labour be the force for good? 

Housing crisis

Starmer has played on supporting aspiring first time buyers, but the UK’s housing crisis does not stop there.

With the UK population expected to hit 70 million, Starmer’s party must deliver on its plan to deliver 1.5 million new homes across the next parliamentary term.

Affordability is a growing problem, too. 

The Freedom to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme pledges to help 80,000 young people onto the housing ladder over the next five years. 

There are also questions over whether Labour will revisit the Lifetime ISA, which aims to help first-time buyers by giving savers a cash boost of 25%. 

But, while it is a good product, it was launched in 2017 and rules have remained unchanged since. House prices have changed and penalty charges should the money be used for something else (other than buying a house or a pension) mean many are still stung with a penalty charge that can leave them with less than what they put in.

There are also concerns that a reduction in the stamp duty threshold from £450,000 to £300,000 could sting first-time buyers, despite getting access to low deposit mortgages.

MoneyWeek contributor Marc Shoffman takes a deeper look at what impact Labour could have on the property market.  

Pensions and Labour

Pensions continue to be in the spotlight; there is a clear problem in the UK with the lack of retirement savings.

Around 30% of people have no idea what their pension is worth. Millions of savers have also stopped contributing to their pension because of the cost of living. 

While Labour was light on the details in its manifesto, there has been a promise of a review of the UK’s pensions systems, which would certainly be welcome as the UK faces a potential pensions crisis with people retiring with significantly smaller pots.  

The introduction of pot-for-life reforms and the pensions dashboard, as well as scaling up minimum auto-enrolment contributions, would be a welcome start.

There are also rumours of a retirement tax, but again, we do not know if Labour will introduce such a tax. But, what we do know is that it is committed to keeping the triple lock, giving pensioners some certainty over their state pension.  

MoneyWeek writer Katie Williams delves into what the future of pensions under Labour could look like.  

Financial literacy

Labour has also promised to bring in 6,500 new teachers and promises a ‘better future for our children’. 

I’d love to see Keir Starmer take financial literacy seriously so we can finally see the introduction of financial education in the curriculum.

Despite a petition to introduce financial education reaching over 13,000 signatures earlier this year, the idea was firmly rejected. While Sunak was keen to get kids studying maths until they are 18, this was not the answer to learning basic money skills. 

But campaigners, including myself, will not stop. How can we let future generations leave school without the basic knowledge of how money works?

Watch this space as we re-enter the battle to get financial education onto the National Curriculum. 

MoneyWeek writer, Henry Sandercock, looks at proposals put forward by a cross-parliamentary group earlier this year on how financial education could be introduced for primary school children

Kalpana Fitzpatrick

Kalpana is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in financial journalism. She is also the author of Invest Now: The Simple Guide to Boosting Your Finances (Heligo) and children's money book Get to Know Money (DK Books). 

Her work includes writing for a number of media outlets, from national papers, magazines to books.

She has written for national papers and well-known women’s lifestyle and luxury titles. She was finance editor for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Red and Prima.

She started her career at the Financial Times group, covering pensions and investments.

As a money expert, Kalpana is a regular guest on TV and radio – appearances include BBC One’s Morning Live, ITV’s Eat Well, Save Well, Sky News and more. She was also the resident money expert for the BBC Money 101 podcast .

Kalpana writes a monthly money column for Ideal Home and a weekly one for Woman magazine, alongside a monthly 'Ask Kalpana' column for Woman magazine.

Kalpana also often speaks at events. She is passionate about helping people be better with their money; her particular passion is to educate more people about getting started with investing the right way and promoting financial education.