Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Ed Miliband speech on dealing with the cost of living

Ed Miliband speech on dealing with the cost of living, 4 November 2013
Ed Miliband will today (Tuesday) declare that the battle lines for the next election have now been drawn between a One Nation Labour Party that will tackle the cost of living crisis and a Conservative-led Government that has shown its determination to defend broken markets and stand up for a privileged few. 
In a speech at Battersea Power Station he will set out the scale and ambition of Labour’s cost of living agenda to reconnect- permanently- the link between the wealth of our nation and family finances.
And he will show how One Nation Labour policies unveiled over the past few weeks are part of an emerging programme for government which will transform Britain’s economy so that it once again works for working people.
1. He will set out new figures showing how the wholesale cost of energy has risen since 2011 at an average rate of 1.6% a year but the Big Six have increased retail prices by an average of 10.4% a year. As a result, more than half of the rise in bills has gone straight to the Big Six.
He will announce that Labour will force a vote in the House of Commons tomorrow on Labour’s plan for an energy price freeze.
Ed Miliband MP will say:
“For the next eighteen months, people will hear scare stories from the unholy alliance of the energy companies and David Cameron: the Big Seven. It will just reinforce in people’s minds who he stands up for- the six large energy companies- not the 60 million people of Britain.
“Today, I am publishing new figures confirmed by the House of Commons library showing that of the average increase in the price for electricity and gas since 2011 over half went straight into the profits and costs of the Big Six. This shows why we need a price freeze now. 
“Tomorrow, we will vote on the price freeze. It is workable, it will happen if Labour wins the next election. And tomorrow Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs could vote for it. If they line up against it, the British people will know the truth: this government is on the side of the big energy companies not hard-pressed families.”
2. He will declare that the last month has shown the next election is going to be a choice about how we succeed as a country– and for whom Britain is run.
Ed Miliband MP will say:
“The next general election will offer a big choice. A choice about whether we tackle the cost of living crisis or shrug our shoulders. A choice about whether we run a race to the top or a race to the bottom; a choice about whether we reform broken markets or defend them; a choice about how we succeed as a country; and above all, the choice will be about who our country is run for.
“The cost of living crisis isn’t just an issue for the lowest paid, it affects the squeezed middle just as much. A country where a few at the top do well, but everybody else struggles. This is not just an issue facing Britain. It is the issue facing Britain. It is about who our country is run for. How it is run. And whether we believe we can do better than this.”
3. Mr Miliband will criticise David Cameron and George Osborne for claiming economic policy has nothing to do with the cost of living crisis.
Ed Miliband MP will say:
“David Cameron said recently that I wanted to ‘talk about the cost of living’ because I didn’t want to talk about ‘economic policy’. So we have a Prime Minister who thinks we can detach our national economic success from the success of Britain’s families and businesses. He doesn’t seem to realise that there is no such thing as a successful economy which doesn’t carry Britain’s families with it. And he obviously doesn’t get that the link between growth and living standards is just broken. Growth without national prosperity is not economic success.”
4. Instead, he will say that the success of any economic policy must be judged by whether it raises living standards for working people- and stops Britain being locked into a race to the bottom of low wages, low skills and broken markets.
Ed Miliband MP will say:
“We don’t just need average wages to creep higher than prices. For people to be genuinely better off, we have to do much better than that. Ordinary families are hit harder than average by higher prices. They rely more on expensive basic necessities, like electricity and gas. And ordinary families do worse than the average when it comes to wage increases because those increases are scooped by a few at the top. We can’t just make do and mend, we need to do much better than we are.
“We have to permanently restore the link between growth and living standards for all of Britain’s working people. This Government can’t do it. And the reason is because they are wedded to Britain competing in a race to the bottom.”
5. He will show how One Nation Labour’s cost of living agenda will restore the broken link between the wealth of our nation and family finances by making fundamental changes in the way our economy is run so that we win a race to the top.
Ed Miliband MP will say:
“We are going to earn and grow our way out of this cost of living crisis. Not by spending money we don’t have because we have to bring the deficit down, but by building a different kind of economy: one that really works for working people.”
6. Mr Miliband will set out how Labour’s agenda to earn and grow our way out of the cost of living crisis includes:
·         Tackling rip-off prices with market reforms and regulation
 “Tackling the cost of living crisis is also about ensuring markets work for working people - and that means fixing markets when they are broken.
“A price freeze until 2017 will pave the way for us to radically improve the energy market for the long term so we will change the way the energy market works in a way that will provide long-term confidence for investors and a better deal for consumers.
“And we will mend other markets that aren’t working in the public interest. Opening up competition in banking, a cap on the cost of credit in payday lending, bringing in a proper cap on train fare increases, ending unjustified charges and fees in the private rented sector, and introducing a duty on water companies to have social tariffs to help the poorest families.”
·         Raising pay levels through measures such as support for the Living Wage and helping parents get back to work through the extension of childcare provision.
“We have a low pay emergency in this country. More than five million people are now paid less than the living wage, working for their poverty- up 1.4 million in just the last four years to one in five of all employed workers. And low wages aren’t just bad for working people, they cost money in benefits too as the country has to subsidise more and more low paid jobs with higher and higher tax credits and benefits. And many businesses now recognise that a low pay economy is bad for them too. Better pay means lower turnover of staff, higher productivity.
“We would strengthen the minimum wage, which has lost 5% of its value under this government. We are looking at the case for higher minimum wages in particular sectors of the economy. But we will go further than that too. That is why the next Labour government from its first day in office will offer “make work pay” contracts to employers all over Britain. These will raise wages, keep the benefit bill down and tackle the cost of living crisis. It is a good deal for workers, business and the taxpayer too.  Under a One Nation Labour government: work will pay.
“And we will help parents get back to work and start earning to support their families so that they play their part in building a successful economy. We will extend childcare provision for working families from 15 hours a week to 25.”
·         Improving the quality and quantity of jobs and gold standard apprenticeships, backing small business and reforming banks so they lend to the next generation of wealth creators.
“We can only win a race to the top if we transform our vocational education system and apprenticeships in this country, if we radically transform the way we support business in every part of our country, with a proper regional banking system, if we support the small businesses that will create the jobs of the future, and if we have a proper industrial policy, including for environmental jobs.”

Labour Party

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