Labour’s new policies show it has been listening

He means business: Ed Miliband announces Labour's plans for business and industry at Jaguar Land Rover in the West Midlands.

He means business: Ed Miliband announces Labour’s plans for business and industry at Jaguar Land Rover in the West Midlands.

The Labour Party has announced a series of new policies intended to improve conditions for both small and large industries in the UK.

They are the latest in an apparently-unending flood of new policies to be placed before the public since the ‘long campaign’ began in earnest at the beginning of the year.

It seems likely that they follow on from a series of in-depth public consultations, such as ‘Your Britain’, that the party has always said would contribute to the shape of its 2015 manifesto.

For once, it seems, a political party was not lying!

Labour announced yesterday, “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.

“[He] 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.”

Crucially, the party is emphasising that “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.”

Here are the key points, as described by Labour:

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 its role in supporting cutting-edge innovation and research

·         Making strategic investment and procurement decisions

In a speech at Jaguar Land Rover in the West Midlands, Mr Miliband was expected to attack the current situation under the Conservative-led Coalition government: “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.”

He was expected to promise support for both small and large businesses: “The jobs of tomorrow will come from a large number of small businesses, not simply a small number of large ones. Our plan recognises that. We will have a fairer tax system, keeping corporation tax the lowest in the G7 for large businesses, but also cutting and freezing business rates for smaller ones. We will create a British Investment Bank, supported by a network of new regional banks and more competition in business banking on the high street, to help small businesses grow. And a new Small Business Administration to co-ordinate work across government to help small businesses succeed.”

There are also plans to decentralise power, moving it away from London, and to help businesses plan for the long term.

That’s a lot of information to absorb in one go. What do you think of it?

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  1. Lizzie Fletcher February 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Sounds good .. now if only he would sign our pledges , we could relax and know that he would truly do what he says he will ..

  2. Iain Mackie February 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Lowering corporation tax, is that not what labour said would be disastrous when the SNP discussed the idea?

    • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm - Reply

      I just checked, and we already have the lowest corporation tax in the G7. We could raise it by four percentage points and still have the lowest in the G7.
      Perhaps cutting it is not what Labour has in mind?

      • Jim Mc February 16, 2015 at 7:06 pm - Reply

        So what ‘business rates’ do you think he intends cutting?

        • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm - Reply

          Business rates are business rates – they’re what business pay instead of council tax.

  3. paulrutherford8 February 16, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Listening to Ed Milliband at the Welsh Labour Conference on Saturday was interesting to say the least. He has definitely changed into a much more confident and [dare I say it?], inspiring speaker.

    Milliband confirmed that Labour will be taking serious action on tax avoidance, which he said is around £34billion… twice the tax paid by people in Wales. Helping businesses ought to help create jobs, more taxes paid, more money spent: a very sensible policy.

    I’ve said it before and will doubtless say it again: if Labour win the election and *don’t* deliver on their promises, they will be slammed for it in 2020 and probably end up following the LibDems into political obscurity.

    After having a couple of discussions with Owen Smith [Shadow Welsh Secretary], who arranged for me to meet Ed Milliband myself on Saturday, I am now more convinced that Labour *have* been listening and will definitely keep their ‘promises’ or ‘pledges’.

    I believe Labour politicians realise they have no chice but to listen to and work for us plebs, and in doing so, will [gradually], be able to make this country a better place for all of us.

    Oh well… just got to convince people to vote Labour now. I don’t think they’ll regret it!!

  4. mac February 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm - Reply


    “I am now more convinced that Labour *have* been listening and will definitely keep their ‘promises’ or ‘pledges’.”

    Really? Are you being sarcastic? Is your comment satire?

    If not, your argument to ‘trust Labour’ ring hollow, shallow and desperate.

    • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      If you’re going to make comments like this, please explain your reasoning.

      • mac February 16, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

        There is no need of additional ‘reasoning’. It was contained in the sentence; “…your argument to ‘trust Labour’ ring(s) hollow, shallow and desperate…”

        • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

          Ah. There’s no reasoning behind what you’re saying at all, then.

  5. mac February 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    “Labour’s new policies show it has been listening”

    Labour’s new policies show it has been… desperately peddling to say anything that might have a vague chance to convince the electorate that Labour are not such a disaster as an opposition party after all.”

    There. Fixed your headline for you.

    The fact is, Labour stopped listening in 1997.

    • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      Anyone using the word ‘fact’ to prop up their comments is usually desperately in need of any facts at all.
      Where’s your proof? Or have I just isolated it – that single word, ‘fact’, desperately searching for someone to believe it?

      • mac February 16, 2015 at 3:55 pm - Reply

        “Anyone using the word ‘fact’ to prop up their comments is usually desperately in need of any facts at all.”

        Is that a fact?

        • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 4:09 pm - Reply

          It’s a handy rule of thumb.

      • paulrutherford8 February 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm - Reply

        Scottish perchance?

  6. concernedkev February 16, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Mac seems to be stuck in 1997. Everything changes with time. Labour has changed during the last five years and we are beginning to see that reflected in policy. Some people like Mac will never be satisfied because they are anti Labour despite the FACTS.

  7. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) February 16, 2015 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Rachel Reeves has exploited the rising anti-immigration sentiment by proposing that EU immigrants should be banned for two years from getting jobless benefits—and she’s now pandering to voters with a strong antipathy towards benefit claimants (—all for the sake of winning May’s general election.

    I’m disgusted. I don’t think it’s wise for Labour to harden its political policies in order to ‘out-Ukip Ukip’ or out-nasty the Tories.

    • Mike Sivier February 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

      While I agree with you on this, we don’t know that there isn’t a major policy announcement on social security around the corner so… we’ll see.
      I’m not convinced you should be posting this under an article about industry, either, to be honest. Could do with an article all by itself. Also your source material is the Daily Mail, which speaks for itself.

      • Chris February 17, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

        If all the welfare admin that is the direct cause of starvation was shut down, including the cruel Jobcentres (referring claimants direct to foodbanks) as bad as the old workhouses,
        then all conditionality of welfare would cease, and that money would pour into local communities, creating jobs.

        Instead of being wasted on welfare admin, that is rising by the billions, whilst money to the starving is reducing by the billions each year. Yet the welfare bill has remained the same at £220 billion a year.

        The state pension is not a benefit, yet is lumped into benefit.

        If the state pension was paid at 60 to men and women, all exactly the same, at the rate of £278.10 per week
        (the basic state pension and the lost mis-sold opt out of SERPs / S2P) from this year, then the high street would surge in businesses, again creating jobs and thus extra business rates for cash strapped councils.

        There would be no need of apprenticeships paying a mere couple fo quid an hour and incurring nil National Insurance entitlements.

        National debt has risen because of welfare reform causing more debt by the cost of admin.

        If that admin was minimised by same amount to all, without conditionality, then all that money would pour in tax to government and frontline services to the community.

        Because 75 per cent of all tax comes from stealth indirect taxes and VAT.

        Income Tax is only 25p in the pound of tax from people to government.

        Right now, the starvation caused by a welfare system that is counter intuitive will crush the economy and Labour is losing millions of voters.

        As far as I can tell, only about 7 million people voted in the entire country in 2010.

        From last year about 7 million are not registered to vote in the UK.

        15 million did not vote, 9 million of them women in 2010.

        Labour voting areas have the lowest voter turnout and highest number of people not registered to vote.

        And Labour is doing poorly in Wales. So what, Plaid Cymru have agreed with the SNP to do a supply and confidence to Labour, so that is no loss.

        Business is helped by paying out benefits and state pension on the high street, and creates jobs without need of taxpayer funded apprenticeships.

        And while you are at it.

        The return of the Truck System now called the salary sacrifice system is denying, according to a tax Barrister, billions of tax avoidance in National Insurance and PAYE, far above anything of the tiny minority of the rich in the nation, that could number as few as 300,000.

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