Al-Mizan Charitable Trust is a Muslim grant-funder which supports disadvantaged people and deprived communities across the UK, regardless of their faith or cultural background.

  • Home

Response from the Labour Party (2017 General Election)

In May 2017, we wrote to the relevant spokespeople at the main political parties, asking them to summarise their party’s main policies to address the issues around poverty in the UK. To read the letter, click here.

We have had our first response from Debbie Abrahams, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at the Labour Party. You can read her response below:


Dear Mr Khimji

Thank you for your e-mail to Ms Abrahams.  She has asked me to respond on her behalf.

On sanctions, you will be aware that Labour has committed to scrapping the punitive sanctions regime. When she was a backbencher Debbie instigated the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into sanctions and has spoken out repeatedly against the effect of sanctions. Labour will also scrap the Bedroom Tax, reinstate Housing Benefit for under-21s and scrap cuts to bereavement support payments. With the majority of foodbank users seeking support because of benefit changes or delays it is imperative that our social security system is reformed.

Labour will scrap the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process that provides each individual with a tailored plan. We will also end the privatisation of assessments.

The cuts to work allowances in Universal Credit and the decision to limit tax credit and UC payments to two children in a family are an attack on low income families and will increase child poverty. Labour will reform and redesign Universal Credit ending 6 week delays in payment and the 'rape clause'. Labour will also commit to tackle child poverty with a new Child Poverty Strategy.

On disabled people, Labour will be launching our mini-manifesto next week on this issue, but as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and formerly Shadow Minister for Disabled People, improving the lives of disabled people is key to Debbie's work. Debbie gave evidence to the UN Inquiry to which you refer and Labour has committed to enshrining the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into UK law. 

Labour's manifesto specifically refers to the divisive rhetoric employed around 'shirkers' and 'scroungers' (page 113) and the effect this has had on disability hate crime. Labour supports a social model of disability; recognising that people may have an impairment or condition but they are disabled by society and we need to remove the barriers that restrict opportunity and choice for disabled people.

On employment, Labour will ban zero-hours contracts so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week and give all workers equal rights from day one, whether full time, part time, permanent or temporary so that working conditions are not driven down. On self-employment, we will shift the burden of proof so that the law assumes a worker is an employee unless the employer can prove otherwise.

I hope you find this response useful. This is not an exhaustive list though, so for all the details on the policies Labour is proposing to tackle inequality and reduce poverty, please see Labour's manifesto at


Kind regards



Kari Mawhood

Office of Debbie Abrahams

Labour Candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth

Full Name
Email Address