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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Labour: A manifesto to protect the nation’s finances

Ed Miliband will tomorrow launch the Manifesto of the Labour Party: a plan to secure the nation’s finances so we can improve family finances.

Ed Miliband will unveil Labour’s plan to reward hard work, share prosperity, and build a better Britain for working people where the next generation can do better than the last.

He will say that at the heart of this Manifesto and his ambition to lead our country is a single idea: that Britain only succeeds when working families succeed.

But he will say this is different to manifestos which Labour has presented in the past. Instead of a list of new spending commitments, the very first page of this Manifesto sets out our plan to secure the nation’s finances with a guarantee that every policy is fully funded with not one requiring any additional borrowing.

Mr Miliband will contrast, what the party call, the 'responsible approach' of Labour’s better plan with the 'increasingly desperate' Conservative election campaign that in recent days has been spraying around promises it has no way of paying for.

Branding the Tory approach as unfunded, unbelievable and unfair, he will declare that this election campaign and today’s Manifesto has shown Labour is now the party of responsibility for the public finances. He will say this Manifesto shows how Labour will secure our nation’s finances so we can improve the family finances of working people.

He will reveal that the very first page of the Manifesto he is laying before the British people commits the next Labour government to a new Budget Responsibility Lock. This guarantees that:
  • Every policy in this Manifesto will be paid for without requiring any additional borrowing. All major parties in future will have their spending and tax commitments independently audited by the Office for Budget Responsibility before a General Election. 
  • The first line of the Labour Government’s first Budget will be that it “cuts the deficit every year”. And we will only lay Budgets before the House of Commons that deliver this commitment which will be verified every year by the Office of Budget Responsibility. 
  • Strong, fair fiscal rules - on which any government led by Ed Miliband will not compromise - so the national debt falls and a surplus on the current budget is secured as soon as possible in the next parliament.

He will also acknowledge that some people doubt whether progress is still possible, and how it will be paid for, at a time of scarcity. But he will say this Manifesto shows that Labour is more ambitious because it does not rely on old solutions which are neither available nor adequate to meet the scale of the challenge facing Britain in the 21st Century.

Instead, this Manifesto lays out a plan for big reform, not big spending, that will reward hard work, ensure prosperity is fairly shared and build a better Britain.

Mr Miliband will declare this is the Manifesto of the working people of Britain, he is expected to say: "Today I present our Manifesto for the working people of Britain. My case is simple: Britain can be better - for you, your family and our country. But only if we change the rules by which the country is run, the ethic that drives government, the leadership we offer. And everything we do is based on a simple truth: it is only when working people succeed that Britain succeeds."

He will explain that Labour is presenting a different manifesto to previous elections because it begins with a clear vow to protect our nation’s finances. He is expected to say: "The very start of our manifesto is different to previous elections. It does not do what most manifestos do. It isn’t a shopping list of spending policies. It does something different: its very first page sets out a vow to protect our nation’s finances; a clear commitment that every policy in this Manifesto is paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing.”

In contrast, he will warn that a panicked Conservative Party is now embarking on a reckless spending spree which threatens the security of the public finances and the future of family finances. Mr Miliband is expected to say: "In recent days you have seen the Conservatives throwing spending promises around with no idea of where the money is coming from, promises which are unfunded, unfair and unbelievable.

"That approach is bad for the nation’s books. And nothing is more dangerous to our NHS than saying you will protect it without being able to say where the money is coming from. You can’t help the NHS with an IOU. This is the road that leads only to broken promises and it is working people who will pay the price with higher taxes and public services undermined."

He is expected to say this election campaign has demonstrated how Labour is now not only the party of change but also the party of responsibility - answering those voters who demand to know that progress is possible while securing the nation’s finances: "I have heard so many of you tell me you want a fairer Britain but also ask whether it is still possible. You want to see your children have a better tomorrow but ask how we can pay for it today. You want Labour values and a new start. You want change and you want responsibility with our nation’s finances."

"Today we answer you: the plan we lay before you is no less ambitious because we live in a time of scarcity. It is more ambitious because it starts from a clear commitment to balance the books and more ambitious because it does not stop there. It meets the scale of the challenges we face today with not one policy funded by extra borrowing. It is a better plan for a better future which shows the next government will be disciplined precisely because we want to make the difference."

"It is a plan to change our country. A plan to reward hard work, ensure prosperity is fairly shared, build a future for the next generation and improve our NHS. This is a Manifesto which shows Labour is not only the party of change but the party of responsibility too."

He is also expected to say Labour’s Manifesto is all the more radical for this responsible approach because it addresses the need for fundamental reform if Britain is to succeed. "Britain will only succeed when we reward everyone’s hard work in our country, not just those on the six figure bonuses. Britain will only succeed when our schools and our hospitals strive to be the best in the world, not when they are cut back to the bone."

"Britain will only succeed when everyone’s voice should be heard in our politics, not just those who have the access, the wealth and the power. And Britain will only succeed, when we are strong and confident and look outward to the world, not when we turn in on ourselves. That’s how Britain can be better than this.”

And he will set out why he wants to be Prime Minister, he is expected to say: "I want to be Prime Minister for one reason only. To build a different kind of country; a fairer country; a more equal country; a more just country; a country that works for working people once again. If you elect me your Prime Minister in just over three weeks’ time, I will work for that goal. I will fight for that goal. I will not rest until I achieve that goal. Every single day. Because I know Britain can be better than this."