“The manifesto identifies many of the social and economic problems that social entrepreneurs are all too familiar with: an under-funded public sector, homelessness, lack of vocational training, lack of housing, an unbalanced economy, unaccountable and unacceptable corporate behaviour, and lack of support for SMEs. There are good parts to the manifesto, on transparency, corporate governance, procurement, renewables, and we very much welcome the promise of a better funded public sector. However, too often the manifesto seems to equate public ownership and democratic control with 1970s style nationalisation. ‘Public ownership for public benefit’ need not mean state-run, as the likes of Welsh Water show. What is needed is a radical vision about how democratic control over our essential services can be delivered. What Labour proposes is, in the main, renationalisation and insourcing. The Labour Party could do a lot worse that take inspiration from its sister party, the Cooperative Party, and its manifesto.”

– James Butler Public Affairs Manager, Social Enterprise UK 

Specific areas of interest to social enterprises

Transparency and corporate governance

Introduce a “Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme”

“By reforming the rules our companies operate under, we can make sure they stay focused on delivering shared wealth. Labour will amend company law so that directors owe a duty directly not only shareholders, but to employees, customers, the environment and the wider public, and we will consult on bringing forward appropriate legislation within this Parliament.”

“We will also bring forward legislation to create a proper legal definition for co-operative ownership. The National Investment Bank and regional development banks will be charged with helping support our co-operative sector. Labour will aim to double the size of the co-operative sector in the UK putting it on a par with those in leading economies like Germany or the US.”

“make ownership of land more transparent”

“We will extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies that run public services.”


“National and local government spends £200 billion a year in the private sector procurement. Labour will put that spending power to good use to upgrade our economy, create good local jobs and reduce inequality. We will require firms supplying national or local government to meet the high standards we should expect of all businesses: paying their taxes, recognising trade unions, respecting workers’ rights and equal opportunities, protecting the environment, providing training, and paying suppliers on time.”


“We will put small businesses at the centre of our economic strategy”

“Labour will transform how our financial system operates. Following the successful example of Germany and the Nordic countries, we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power. This new public institution will support a network of regional development banks that, unlike giant City of London firms, will be dedicated to supporting inclusive growth in their communities. The banks will deliver the finance that our small businesses, co-operatives and innovative projects need across the whole country.”

“Labour will champion the export interests of SMEs, ensuring all new trade agreements include a commitment to support their market access needs.”

Democratic Ownership

“Legislating to permit publicly owned local companies to purchase the regional grid infrastructure, and to ensure that national and regional grid infrastructure is brought into public ownership over time.”

“Widening ownership of our economy: 

More democratic ownership structures would help our economy deliver for the many and lead to a fairer distribution of wealth.

introducing a “right to own,” making employees the buyer of first refusal when the company they work for is up for sale.”

“We will act to ‘insource’ our public and local council services as preferred providers.”


“Our industrial strategy will support businesses to create new, high skilled, high-paid and secure work across the country, in the sectors of the future such as renewables. Ensure that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.”


“We will ensure there is no drop in Structural Funding as a result of Brexit until the end of the current EU funding round in 2019/20”

“We will rejoin the Government Procurement Agreement, whilst safeguarding the capacity for public bodies to make procurement decisions in keeping with public policy objectives.”


“Transition to a qualified, graduate-led workforce, by increasing staff wages and enhancing training opportunities. This will benefit staff, who are among our worst-paid workers, and improve child development.”

Further Education

“Labour would introduce free, lifelong education in Further Education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life”

“We share the broad aims of the Sainsbury Review but would ensure vocational routes incorporate the service sector as well as traditional manufacturing, working in tandem with our broad industrial strategy to deliver for the whole economy.”

“We will improve careers advice and open up a range of routes through, and back into, education, striking a balance between classroom and on-the-job training, to ensure students gain both technical and soft skills.”

“In recognition of the role played by private-sector providers, we would extend support for training to teachers in the private sector.”


“Commission a report into expanding the Access to Work programme.”

“By the end of the next Parliament we will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.”


“A Labour government will create a more equal society for the many by working with communities, civil society and business to reduce loneliness.”


“Labour will halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England, and ask local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances.”

“The next Labour government will reverse privatisation of our NHS and return our health service into expert public control. Labour will repeal the Health and Social Care Act that puts profits before patients, and make the NHS the preferred provider. We will reinstate the powers of the Secretary of State for Health to have overall responsibility for the NHS. We will introduce a new legal duty on the Secretary of State and on NHS England to ensure that excess private profits are not made out of the NHS at the expense of patient care.”

Health and Social Care

“In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England. Our first urgent task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide.”


“Under a Labour government, there will be no new private prisons and no public sector prisons will be privatised. Labour’s innovative models of youth justice successfully turned round the lives of many young people, steering them away from crime and towards more constructive ways.”


“Labour will prioritise public service over private profit. And we will start by bringing our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire or, in other cases, with franchise reviews or break clauses”

“Across the country we will enable councils to provide first-class bus services by extending the powers to re-regulate local bus services to all areas that want them, and we will support the creation of municipal bus companies that are publicly run for passengers not profit.”

You can read the full Labour Party Manifesto ‘For the Many Not the Few’ here.

SEUK’s political work is supported by The Co-operative Energy, CAN, Fusion 21, and First Ark Group: