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Our analysis of the Alliance Party manifesto

With all polls pointing to the possibility of the Alliance Party sending three MPs to Westminster following the general election on July 4th, at the launch of the party’s manifesto it is very clear that it will be for a Labour Government, if elected, to deliver its pledges; Alliance will simply sit back and take some of the credit. Its manifesto makes no mention of the countryside and the term “rural” is only used when referring to Andrew Muir as Minister for the Department Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the party’s Green New Deal. There is no specific detail on the challenges rural areas face within broader areas of policy.

To our frustration, like the Labour manifesto the Alliance Party's continues its prejudice towards rural communities, as it seeks any new legislation on hunting in the UK be extended to Northern Ireland in an attempt to bypass Stormont where it has been unable to introduce such legislation thanks to CAI, like Labour ignoring all the evidence. It also attacks trophy hunting but otherwise, the document is surprisingly light on other animal-related policies. It simply states:

“Alliance has always prioritised animal welfare and sought to tackle cruelty against animals.

“Alliance will continue to pursue high welfare standards at the UK level and to use the UK’s influence to end global “trophy hunting” and the trade of illegal animal products. We remain committed to extending the ban on hunting mammals with dogs to Northern Ireland.”

Despite the little attention the document pays to countryside matters, the following proposals especially may impact rural communities.

Reform of Stormont: One of Alliance's main core missions over the past number of years, with the continual impasses and collapsing of the institutions. While Alliance calls for change, the UK Government will likely be reluctant to intervene without consensus from the main Stormont Parties as this in itself could lead to a collapse.

Net Zero/Climate Change: A significant focus is on the Party’s Green New Deal, to decarbonise our economy. Alliance has several policy promises in this area as it focuses on the delivery of net zero, by taxing the rich and fossil fuel giants, which it claims will help end fuel poverty.

Food and Farming: Despite Andrew Muir holding the position of DAERA Minister, farmers seem to have been left out. Farming is a devolved area of policy but with only two references to farmers, the Party appears to remain totally focused on urban communities. However, they it does want fairer trading practices by strengthening the powers of the Grocery Code Adjudicator.

Animal Welfare: As outlined above, Alliance policies include banning hunting and trophy hunting imports.

Repairing UK-EU relations: The more the UK and EU can improve their current relationship under the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, including alignment, then the easier the interface across the Irish Sea becomes and the softer the impact of Brexit overall.

The Alliance Party also seeks to exploit opportunities from dual market access but to address the impact of Brexit, Northern Ireland should ultimately return to the European Union.

Migration: A whole chapter is dedicated just to migration, calling for more investment for communities to support asylum seekers and promote integration and to end the use of hotels, moving to a not-for-profit-based system that is integrated into communities and works alongside social housing.

Housing and the lack of it in Northern Ireland has been reported as one of the main concerns by voters, so balancing homes for migrants and local communities could be very difficult to achieve.

You can read the manifestos of other parties here:

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