Please find my NEC report from December here, which includes information about our away day and other activities I have been doing with Young Labour: Bex Bailey December NEC report
NEC away day, 17 November
The NEC had its annual away-day on 17 November. We were given presentations by party directors on the party’s situation and plans for the coming year, as well as discussing the role of the NEC and party reform.
- Finances: The good news of the day was that the Labour Party is now officially debt-free. While the Tories’ undemocratic Trade Union Bill poses significant challenges to our future funding, for the time-being at least we are in a better place.
- Youth membership rate: I’m really pleased to say that the Labour Party will be keeping the youth rate when it comes to a review of membership costs. The £1 rate has been really successful at encouraging new young members to join the party and stay involved. During a discussion about membership rates in the meeting, and plans to change them, I made the case for the youth rate and asked that it be retained, and am happy to say I was assured it would be.
- Upcoming elections: The NEC discussed upcoming elections. In 2016 we have crucial elections in Scotland, Wales and for English councils, as well as a number of mayoral and police and crime commissioner elections. Staff are doing a fantastic job of preparing for these and it’s great to see so many activists out campaigning regularly.
- Policy-making: There was a discussion about the role of the NEC and Labour’s annual conference in policy-making. I raised the fact that one of my priorities as NEC Youth Rep is to engage the thousands of new young members who have joined the party. Policy-making should be as inclusive as possible, engaging both members and the wider public. I would love as many young members as possible to come to annual conference and have great debates, but many people continue to raise the fact that the cost and the ability to get time off work or studies are barriers, so greater policy powers for conference don’t achieve maximum engagement. I’m also aware that, despite my best efforts to attend events around the country and speak to as many young members as possible, I alone cannot possibly hope to reflect every young member’s policy views in NEC meetings. I therefore am in favour of keeping the National Policy Forum (NPF), which, with a youth rep in each region, helps us to democratically and effectively reach out more widely. We should continue to improve the NPF so it better engages the membership and the wider public.
- Party review: Ahead of the next NEC meeting in January, I want to hear from young members about how we can improve the party – and in particular how we welcome and include all the new young members who have joined.