LABOUR have been slated for dumping yet another key pledge to ban all zero-hour contracts.

According to a policy blueprint seen by the BBC, there is a ban proposed only for “exploitative” zero-hour contracts. If workers welcome flexibility themselves, this would not be prevented.

Only last week deputy leader Angela Rayner gave a “cast iron guarantee” that Labour would bring in a new bill to ban the contracts within 100 days of government if they win the General Election.

There are also reports that according to the party’s full policy programme – produced following a tense meeting of the National Policy Forum in July – that Labour is no longer committed to raising sick pay rates or extending it to the self-employed.

A green paper on the New Deal published last year had committed to “increase Statutory Sick Pay, ensuring we never again face a situation where workers have to choose between their health and financial hardship”. It also pledged to make it available to all workers including the self-employed.

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However, according to LabourList, the NPF document does not explicitly say Labour will do either of these things.

Over the past few months, Labour leader Keir Starmer has also backed the two-child benefit cap, ruled out scrapping the bedroom tax, and U-turned on introducing a wealth tax.

Chris McEleny, general secretary of the Alba Party, said Labour have now moved so far to the right that even the most basic of reforms have now been ruled out to “appease” potential Tory voters. 

He said Labour’s fresh approach to zero-hour contracts will simply allow employers to continue exploiting workers.

He said: “Labour have now started to turn their back on working people and have obviously determined that it’s better to get the betrayal in now whilst in opposition rather than later if in government. 

“Labour’s zero hours contract loophole will allow exploitative employers to continue to do just that - exploit workers.

“Any system that allows zero hours contracts if workers agree to them will have no means whatsoever to be policed. It will continue to result in workers across the country being forced to accept uncertain working hours in fear that not to welcome them will simply result in the work drying up.  

“After a series of broken promises this summer there is now not a one-way street in the UK that Keir Starmer could safely walk down in case he needs to make a U-turn on his way.” 

In the policy blueprint, Labour has emphasised it will not borrow to fund day-to-day spending, telling members that if they push for spending commitments they will be disappointed.

Labour's NPF brings together trade unions, party members and shadow cabinet representatives but there was a fractious meeting earlier this year which saw unions Unite and Usdaw both back an amendment to “end the punitive features” of the benefit system, but Labour leadership stood firm in opposing any policy proposals that would lead to new spending commitments.

The final policy document will be voted on at the party's conference in October.