Andy Burnham: Labour should offer more to help Britain's army of part-time workers

In his personal manifesto, Mr Burnham will argue that commuters should no longer be charged for a full week unless they travel every working day

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Labour should offer more policies to help Britain’s army of part-time workers, the leadership candidate Andy Burnham will say on 4 August.

The shadow Health Secretary will call for parents who work part-time to save thousands of pounds a year on their commuting costs. He will propose cheaper rail  season tickets for people who travel for only part of the working week. In his personal manifesto, Mr Burnham will argue that commuters should no longer be charged for a full week unless they travel every working day.

If he becomes Labour leader, he would also launch a review of the cost and standard of childcare, which he believes makes part-time work “out of the question” for many parents. He would extend the right for people to request flexible working arrangements to  the first day of employment rather than the current six months. He would also work with employers to raise the number of “quality part-time roles” and job shares.

Mr Burnham’s manifesto will say: “We need to tackle the inequalities that stifle growth and productivity by preventing women from reaching their full potential in the workplace. Both mothers and fathers have to juggle caring responsibilities and work, but it is women that bear much of the cost of this daily struggle. As Labour leader, I will argue for better support for Britain's part-time workers".

Allies of Yvette Cooper, a rival candidate in the leadership race, claimed Mr Burnham is copying her policies.  Accusing him of playing “follow the leader,” the Cooper camp said his proposal for an EU fund for areas with high levels of migration was launched by Ms Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, last November.

A spokeswoman for Ms Cooper said: “Of course we welcome support for the policies Yvette is championing from any supporter for the Labour Party – including Andy and his team. The European Impact Fund was announced by Yvette in November last year and formed an important part of our [general election] offer on immigration.”

The Cooper campaign  claims Mr Burnham has also copied her policies on benefit curbs for migrants; a household benefit cap and a major housebuilding programme.

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