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Monday, 16 February 2015

Labour's plan for Britain’s prosperity

Labour will today publish what they call a Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity: a modern industrial strategy for businesses and working families to succeed together. In a speech at Jaguar Land Rover in the West Midlands, Ed Miliband will emphasise that Labour’s plan for creating wealth does not rely on just a few at the very top but on boosting productivity in every business and sector of the British economy.

After a fortnight in which politics has been dominated by questions over who can tackle tax avoidance, Mr Miliband will declare that Britain needs a better plan for prosperity than the Government’s failing plan which relies on allowing the most powerful and wealthy to do whatever they want. And he explains why this modern industrial strategy is a different approach for Labour than in the past because it seeks to support working families not simply through tax-and-spend redistribution but by building a more inclusive prosperity.

Mr Miliband is expected to say: “There is a choice of two plans at this election. A failing plan under which we would carrying on as we are with a government claiming the economy is a success when it only works for a handful of people at the top. Or a new plan, a better plan, that says this economy must succeed for working families if Britain as a whole is going to succeed. Nothing more symbolises their failing plan than seeing tax gap - between what should be paid and the revenue received - widening while the number of apprenticeships available for young people is falling."

"We need a better plan to replace an economy where tens of billions are lost in tax avoidance with an economy where tens of thousands more of our young people are doing apprenticeships and we help more businesses grow, succeed and create wealth. Our plan is based on the idea that it is only when Britain’s working families succeed that Britain succeeds. Not the old idea that it is only from the top down that wealth flows. And it is only our plan that recognises that every person in every sector of the economy is a wealth creator."

"And that means we need a plan which nurtures the talents of every young person, supports every business, allows every family to share prosperity, and expects each and every one of us to contribute. Here is our better plan: a modern industrial strategy for Britain’s businesses and Britain’s working families to succeed together; a plan for every sector, every firm, everybody to raise productivity, make bigger profits and create the inclusive prosperity for a new era; a route-map for turning the fortunes of working people and of our country around."

Ed Miliband, along with Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary, and Caroline Flint, the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will set out key elements of Labour’s plan. Building on announcements made by Ed Balls on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday where he promised to put small businesses first in line for tax cuts and ensure smaller firms have the support they need to invest, innovate and raise their productivity, they will present a 79-page document which shows how:

Labour will back small businesses and new entrepreneurs who will provide the growth and jobs of the future.
  • Cutting business rates
  • Improving training and apprenticeships
  • Promoting competition in energy and banking to ensure market efficiency, lower bills and better access to finance
  • Handing more economic power to every part of the UK with £30 billion of devolved funding

Labour will back our biggest exporters which need certainty to invest:
  • Staying in a reformed EU and not taking risks with our membership
  • Building a strong economic foundation with a tough and balanced approach to cutting the deficit
  • Making long-term investment by implementing the Armitt Review recommendation for a National Infrastructure Commission.
  • Guaranteeing Britain has the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7. 
  • Promoting long-termism by changing the rules on takeovers

Labour will back our big employing sectors such as retail and social care by tackling undercutting, with firms coming together to raise productivity and standards:
  • Industry led bodies to raise productivity, like we have now in the car industry
  • Banning exploitative zero hours contracts
  • Raising the National Minimum Wage closer to average earnings - £8 an hour by 2020
  • Offering tax breaks to employers who adopt the Living Wage
  • Making it illegal to undercut by exploiting migrant workers

Labour will back every sector of the economy by ensuring the public sector plays an active part in driving up productivity by:
  • Recognising it’s role in supporting cutting-edge innovation and research
  • Making strategic investment and procurement decisions

Mr Miliband will contrast his plan with, what he calls, 'a record of Tory failure' and say it is 'no accident' that the economic recovery is benefiting only a few. He is expected to say: "The vital link that used to connect the wealth of the country as a whole and family finances broken. Playing by the rules and putting in the hard work often means you are left out of the recovery in Britain today."

"All of this isn’t just bad for working families now, it is bad for Britain’s future too because when working people are held back, the country doesn’t prosper as it should. When families don’t have money to spend, it holds back our economy. When there is so much insecurity in the economy, businesses can’t plan for the long term. When people don’t have the chance to develop their skills and pursue a promotion, our companies become less productive and less competitive in the world."