The Labour Party has pledged to overhaul the youth justice
system and improve conditions in Young Offender Institutions in its
election manifesto published yesterday, writes Clare
The party states that it would make more use of intensive community
programmes, including electronic tagging for persistent young
offenders, and will increase the number of parents of young
offenders getting help to tackle their child’s
“We will increase, by at least a half, programmes targeted at
young people most at risk of offending and will expand drug
treatment services for young people,” the manifesto
It outlines that compulsory drug testing at arrest will be
introduced for all property and drugs offenders with compulsory
treatment assessment for those who test positive for drugs.
The Labour Party also claims it will tackle the current high
rate of re-offending by ensuring that by 2007, every offender will
be supervised on release from custody.
However, at the same time, the party outlines a further
crackdown on the asylum system. All unfounded asylum claims will be
fast-tracked and detention will be used more frequently.
“By the end of 2005, our aim is for removals of failed
asylum seekers to exceed new unfounded claims,” the manifesto
In the manifesto, prime minister Tony Blair, insists that
education is still Labour’s main priority. Parents will be
made central to the process of assessing school performance and
driving improvement as well as promoting good behaviour in
Blair adds that the party would encourage more dedicated
provision for disruptive and excluded pupils, including by
charities and the voluntary sector. The party insists that children
with special educational needs will receive the correct provision
whether it is in mainstream or special schools.
“Education and social services should collaborate to help
youngsters, especially the most vulnerable, achieve their
potential,” the manifesto states.
It adds: “We are reforming local education authorities to
form children’s trusts to provide seamless support to
children and families and work in partnership with the private and
The party also states that by 2010, there will be 3,500 Sure
Start Children’s Centres for children under five and extended
schools for older children up to the age of 14 offering
out-of-school childcare from 8am to 6pm throughout the year.
Blair pledges to tackle the backlog of claims at the Child
Support Agency as efficiently as possible and a new information
service called Parents Direct may also be developed to provide
advice on all aspects of children’s services and parental
Labour is also trying to attract the grey vote and pledges that
anyone over 65 will receive £200 towards the cost of their
council tax and those aged over 60 will receive free off-peak local
Blair also pledged that every older person receiving support
would be offered “transparent, individual budgets which bring
funding for a range of services, including social care, care homes,
and housing support…in one place”.