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Election 2019 Your Choice Your Vote| Our future – NCLF

The General Election of 12 December 2019 will be the most important one in a generation. It will change our country and how we relate to Europe and the rest of the world. Your vote is important. Use it.

In anticipation of the 2015 General Election, NCLF produced the first ever political manifesto (link to the Manifesto https://nclf.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Black-Church-Political-Mobilisation-FINAL-WEB-Apr15.pdf) for African and Caribbean churches in the UK. In that document we stated:

Our manifesto, ‘Black Church Political Mobilization: A Manifesto for Action’, is the first of its kind for the Black Church in Britain.3 Whilst we can’t promise tax cuts or an expansion in welfare provision; neither can we promise new fiscal policies to stimulate growth in the medium to long-term, what we hope to do is to signal our maturing presence and renewed commitment to mobilize African and Caribbean churches and the wider Black community for social and political action. By encouraging our churches to actively engage in the socio-cultural, political and economic institutions locally and nationally we hope to strengthen communities, promote active citizenship and the common good.

The 2015 manifesto has nine sections, including education, church and community, voting and political mobilization, marriage, and international development.[1] Since then we have had two major elections: the Referendum on EU membership of 2016 called by Prime Minister David Cameron and the snap election called by Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017. During the last three years, we have witnessed the devastation of those caught up in the Windrush crisis, the tragedy and death caused by the Grenfell fire disaster, a divided nation caused by Brexit, as well as the continuing hardship suffered by families in the aftermath of austerity and the cuts to public services.

Today, we are facing the existential threat of climate change, a fractured and broken parliamentary system that makes it difficult to govern effectively. More than ever, we all need to participate in the democratic process and vote in this critical election. In our manifesto, we outlined the case for active citizenship, for voting and for churches to host hustings.

Our recommendations on voting and political mobilization states:

  • Political engagement is a part of our civic duty and Christian We encourage BMC leaders to do more to promote and teach the importance of active citizenship and political engagement for the common good.
  • BMCs should encourage members of their congregation to vote; they should also support the National Voter Registration Campaign and play an active role in hosting and supporting hustings for local, national and European
  • We call upon all the main political parties to seek creative ways to engage with BMCs and BME communities in the political process on an on-going basis and not just during the election

As we face what will, undoubtedly, be one of the most important general elections in our generation, we iterate the important and urgent need for members of our church constituencies to vote in the 2019 elections. Churches are encouraged to reinforce the need for voting in their congregations. We encourage leaders to take time to talk to their congregations about the importance of the elections, the key issues and what the main parties are offering. Political parties can not take our votes for granted; they have to convince us that their ideas and policies are in the best interest of all. They have to convince us that they are concerned about justice, fairness, opportunities, the plight of the disadvantaged and marginalized and the common good.

At a glance: some key issues and promises by the three main political parties [2]       

Party  IssuesConservative: Labour:Lib Dems: 
Law and order20,000 extra police; add 10,00 more prison placesWe will re-establish neighbourhood policing and recruit 2,000 more frontline officers than have been planned for by the Conservatives.Legalise cannabis
BrexitOur priority as Conservatives is to get Brexit done.Hold a second referendum on BrexitRevoke article 50 to stop Brexit
NHS50,000 extra nurses and 50 million GP appointments a yearIncrease the health budget by 4.3%; introduce a national care serviceA penny income tax for the NHS; raise £7bn a year for the next five years
Childcare250,000 extra childcare placesRecruit nearly 150,000 additional early years staff and create a new service, Sure Start Plus, providing universal service for under 2s.35 hours of free childcare for all children aged two to four
TaxesNo income tax, VAT or National Insurance risesRebuild public services, by taxing those at the top to properly fund the services we all rely on.A penny income tax
Climate and the environmentSpend £6.3 bn on 22 million disadvantaged homes; improve the energy efficiency of social housing.We will deliver nearly 90% of electricity and 50% of heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030.Generate 80% of electricity from renewables; £100bn climate fund over five years
EducationContinue the freeze of tuition fees at £9,250Abolish private schools’ charitable statusRecruit 20,000 more teachers

Some practical things for churches to do:[3]                                                   

  • Encourage members to use their vote wisely;
  • Include social, cultural, economic and political analysis in preaching and teaching;
  • Host hustings at you church and community centres;
  • Signpost church members to party manifestos;
  • Pray for prospective MPs.

Party Manifestos

Conservative : https://assets-global.website-files.com/5da42e2cae7ebd3f8bde353c/5dda924905da587992a064ba_Conservative%202019%20Manifesto.pdf

Labour: https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/

Liberal Democrat https://gallery.mailchimp.com/fe34b42da454f21dccfb6b521/files/01b07d90-06d1-424a-8a4b-803c79cd3be6/Lib_Dem_Manifesto_2019.pdfhttps://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/Elections/Green%20Party%20Manifesto%202019.pdf

Notes:

  1. The National Church Leaders Forum– A Black Christian Voice (NCLF) represents the interests, concerns and aspirations of the African and Caribbean churches in the UK, conservatively estimated to be 250,000 members.
  2. Contact
    Pastor Ade Amooba: 07956 007150
    Dr David Muir: 07530 780110
    Dr Joe Aldred: 07775 632288

[1] We recently added a tenth section on Economic development, written with the assistance of the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU). PCU has been the main sponsor of NCLF’s regional Roadshows where local leaders have engaged with the recommendations of the Manifesto, as well as discussing local issues.

[2][2] See Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis of the party’s spending plans (https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/Manifesto-analysis-Public-finances-general%20election-2019_V2.pdf)

[3] See section 5 of the NCLF’s 2015 Manifesto on Voting and Political Mobilisation.

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