Tag Archives: rate

Hancock lied yet again: if anything, suicides have INCREASED during the Covid-19 pandemic

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim, it will probably be wrong.

There was a time when lying to Parliament meant immediate expulsion but don’t expect to see deceitful health secretary Matt Hancock thrown out on his ear.

When the whole government is corrupt, he is merely one liar among many.

His latest attempt to mislead us is in the number of people committing suicide.

He told the Commons that figures for England showed a decrease but this is not true.

Here’s Full Fact:

“Some cautiously positive news announced today ​by the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of suicides during the peak of the pandemic was down from 10.3 per 100,000 to 6.9 per 100,000”. – Matt Hancock MP, 1 September 2020

While the figures quoted by Mr Hancock are the latest reported by the ONS, it has clearly said that this data “cannot be used to show the number of suicides with a date of death in 2020, including those that occurred during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic”.

The provisional data, released on 1 September, shows the rate and number of suicide deaths registered up to June 2020. This data reported 10.3 suicides per 100,000 people between January and March (equivalent to 1,262 registered deaths), and 6.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people between April and June, equivalent to 845 registered deaths.

It is important to note that these figures show when these deaths were registered, not when they happened.

The 845 suicides registered in the second quarter of 2020 is the lowest number of any quarter since the figures began in 2001, and the ONS said it is “unlikely that the reduction in registered deaths reflects a genuine reduction in the number of suicides”.

Mr Hancock was wrong to say that suicide deaths fell during the peak of the pandemic, as it is too early for the evidence to show what happened.

Hancock’s lie was all the more blatant when we remember that the ONS – the same organisation whose figures he quoted so wrongly – has reported that suicides in England and Wales last year were at their highest in nearly two decades:

Men accounted for around three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 – 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.
The male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 people was the highest since 2000, but is in line with 2018’s figures.

For women, the rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 – the highest since 2004, but again consistent with the previous year.

Source: There’s no evidence the number of people taking their own life fell during the Covid-19 pandemic – Full Fact

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‘R’ rate speculation show how even ‘experts’ say what suits them rather than what you need to know

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So, are Covid-19 infections about to rise exponentially again, now that the ‘R’ rate has risen above 1 for the first time on record?

Apparently not. The so-called ‘experts’ are telling us outbreaks in a few “hotspots” are pushing the average up.

But wasn’t that always the case?

Here in This Writer’s part of Mid Wales there have been very few cases. But the rate for Wales as a whole is between 0.80 and 1.1, meaning we should all probably be bracing ourselves for another wave of the disease.

The ‘R’ rate – in case there’s anybody left who doesn’t know – is the rate at which the disease is passed on; the average number of people an infected person is likely to pass it to.

If it is lower than 1, then the disease may be said to be in decline. But if it rises past that number, there are fears it could multiply uncontrollably again.

The Johnson government, announcing its rules for lockdown, initially said that if the ‘R’ rate passed one the country would go back into lockdown.

But the Johnson government has said a lot of things and it has now become nigh-on impossible to keep a record of all the backtracking and outright lies.

It would be pleasant to think that the ‘experts’ are right and this is no reason for concern. After all, they’ve managed to explain away every other spike (most notably those caused by the government’s lockdown easings.

But winter is coming, and coronaviruses like Covid-19 multiply in the cold.

Source: Covid: UK’s R value may be above 1 for first time on record | World news | The Guardian

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Awkward! Johnson proved wrong to ease lockdown as ‘R’ rate rises in most English regions

One of the main reasons Boris Johnson has given for easing lockdown conditions in England from July 4 is a reduction in the reproduction rate of Covid-19.

He said that, with ‘R’ well below 1 – meaning for each person infected, fewer than one person would catch the disease – restrictions could be loosened.

But it seems he spoke too soon. Look at this:

Skwawkbox explains:

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has tweeted the latest regional ‘R’-rate table showing how fast the coronavirus is spreading across England’s twelve regions – and the news is bad in all of them but one.

As Burnham pointed out, the ‘R’ has risen in every region except the south-east – and is at or above one in almost half, meaning the pool of infection was either increasing or not reducing. The latest table shows data as of 10 June and so would not reflect the acceleration effect of Johnson’s more recent relaxations of England’s lockdown.

The increases mean that, across the whole of England, the ‘R’ rate is no longer below one – yet Johnson ploughs ahead with a reduction in social distancing and the re-opening of retail and hospitality

Maybe it’s a blip!

Maybe the ‘R’ rate will settle down again.

But other countries have slammed their own lockdowns back on at the slightest increase.

Johnson is being dangerously – possibly homicidally – cavalier with our lives.

Source: ‘R’ rate rises in every English region but one – before Johnson’s lockdown changes – SKWAWKBOX

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Coronavirus transmission rate is increasing, so why all this talk of easing lockdown?

Dominic Raab: he reckons it will be all right to lift some lockdown restrictions, despite the fact that more people are catching Covid-19 (again).

Covid-19’s reproduction rate must be decreasing if the UK’s lockdown is to be lifted – and this critical ‘R’ rate is actually rising.

So why is all the talk about lifting the lockdown?

We’re told the speed of coronavirus infections is rising because of the epidemic that has been revealed in care homes…

… and what about the deaths in mental health hospitals and among people with learning disabilities?

These are places that may be reasonably expected to have the proper procedures in place if a pandemic sweeps the UK – unless the government failed to ensure that those procedures were in place, and all the necessary equipment was available.

(It was the government that had responsibility for emergency planning, and for ensuring that preparations were properly carried out.)

But we have a government that is also keen to lift the lockdown because its donors in big business are not making the profits they normally expect, while the people who generate those profits are being told to stay home for their own safety.

This is further evidence that, if Boris Johnson lifts his lockdown even slightly, he will set us on course for a bigger disaster.

The critical ‘R’ rate measuring the spread of coronavirus infections is on the rise again, the national statistician says – raising fresh questions about any lockdown easing.

A reproduction rate of anything above 1 means each infected person is, on average, passing it on to more than one other, but experts agree it must be well below 1 to prevent a second peak of the pandemic.

Crucially, it is the most important of the five tests before the lockdown can be eased significantly. The prime minister himself admitted there is still a “pandemic” in care homes.

The warning came as Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said any relaxation of restrictions – to be announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday – would be “modest, small and incremental”.

Source: Coronavirus rate of transmission is increasing, says chief government statistician | The Independent

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Tory concession to young voters is too little and too reluctant

Theresa May has pledged to listen to young people. This is what she looks like when she tries [Image: Getty].

It’s also too obviously focused on the privileged young.

The announcement that tuition fees will be frozen is pointless, coming as it does after a rise of £250 a year was introduced earlier this month. When tuition fees were brought in, by Tony Blair’s New Labour, they were pegged at £1,000 per year and means-tested. Considering the astronomical increases since then – mostly under the Tories – it seems clear that Mrs May’s party has already done its worst here.

An increase in the repayment threshold will mean little to people who do not earn much after finishing their university courses as they are never likely to earn enough to do any more than pay interest on their loans. The offer to consider cutting interest rates on student loans is neither here nor there. Theresa May will probably u-turn on it as soon as it becomes expedient to do so.

Obviously, considering the cost of tuition fees and the debt burden of loans, being a student is now an occupation intended for the very rich; these are offers to the privileged, not to the population at large.

As for Help to Buy, which is intended to allow first-time buyers to get a mortgage – the scheme has been hit by several scandals: Some buyers were forced to pay ground rent at prices that increased hugely; others on Help-to-Buy ISAs found they could not use the money to actually buy a house. And in the meantime the scheme created an artificial increase in house prices, making them even less affordable for people on average or below-average wages.

So, again, this is a concession to the rich. It would be a trap for the poor.

It seems incredible that the media are touting this as Theresa May’s answer to Labour’s overwhelming popularity among young voters.

All anybody younger than 24 has to do is think about it, and they’ll never want to vote Tory again in their lives. I predict a u-turn on the whole idea.

Theresa May is set to announce that tuition fees will be frozen at £9,250, as part of an effort by the Tories to appeal to younger voters.

Speaking ahead of the Conservative Party Conference, the Prime Minister told the Sun on Sunday there will be an increase in the repayment threshold, meaning graduates only start paying their loans back once they are earning £25,000.

The changes to the loan system will be accompanied with another pledge to extend the Help to Buy scheme, with Ms May acknowledging that the generation gap in terms of wealth and opportunity has opened up in the country.

With the number of first-time buyers falling steadily, the Prime Minister will pledge another £10 billion to expand the Help to Buy scheme, which attracted criticism for artificially inflating prices in the already overheated London housing market.

The extra funding will go to a further 135,000 first-time buyers, allowing them to get a mortgage on a new-built home with a deposit of just five per cent.

The Conservatives are also considering cutting interest rates on student loan repayments – which have rocketed for recent graduates.

Source: Theresa May pledges to freeze tuition fees and extend Help to Buy scheme ahead of Tory conference


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This ignorant Tory councillor had better try justifying the deaths his party has caused

Too much for you? Too bad.

Too much for you? Too bad.

What follows should make you very angry: An ignorant Conservative councillor has attacked an opponent in the Labour Party for tweeting an entirely appropriate comparison between Iain Duncan Smith and Adolf Hitler.

Yes, Cllr Ashley Dearnley, leader of the Conservative group in Rochdale – it was perfectly appropriate for North Middleton Cllr Chris Furlong to tweet a picture of Hitler above one of Iain Duncan Smith and imply that the Conservatives may be responsible for the deaths of more disabled people than the Nazi leader – that is what the figures suggest.

Remember, the reference to the killing of 70,000 disabled people by Nazis is compared with only 81,040 people who died in only just over two years under Duncan Smith’s Conservative policies. We don’t have the full figures yet.

Mr Dearnley can’t say that Conservative Government policy has not led to any deaths because we have the case of Michael O’Sullivan to prove that it has.

Not only that, but north London coroner Mary Hassall’s report, blaming Tory policy for Mr O’Sullivan’s suicide, was filed in January 2014, meaning that the Tory Government’s protestations, throughout the summer, that there is no causal link between Mr Duncan Smith’s policies and the deaths of claimants, is proved to be a lie.

Cllr Dearnley, clearly ignorant of the hole into which his party has dug itself, is quoted as follows: “The remarks are appalling and are totally unacceptable. I would expect the Labour Party to withdraw his whip. If the new Labour leader has anything about him, he will make sure he is removed from the Labour party.”

It seems the matter has been referred for investigation by the Labour Party. This Writer would argue that, if Jeremy Corbyn has anything about him, he would celebrate Cllr Furlong’s forthrightness, highlight the support he has gained from disabled people and demand to know why the mainstream media have chosen to ignore this hugely important issue.

“I know if David Cameron heard that any of his councillors made remarks comparing people to Hitler, then David Cameron would make sure that they were removed from the Conservative party. If Corbyn has any mettle about him, he will ensure that this happens,” Cllr Dearnley continued. The rest of us don’t know that, though. We only see a man, whose policies have caused deaths, being rewarded for it.

Speaking to Rochdale Online, Councillor Furlong defended himself: “I posted the tweet because people are dying because of policies instigated by Iain Duncan Smith and the mainstream media is ignoring it. I have been campaigning on these issues for a while now but, for some reason, the mainstream media is choosing to ignore it.”

Join the club, Chris!

If the MSM really wanted to cover this, there are several possible issues to investigate:

  • The fact that in May 2014, I submitted a Freedom of Information Request on the number of incapacity benefit claimants who have died, and the Conservative Government has yet to honour that request with a full and honest answer. It claimed to have done so on August 27 but this was a lie.
  • The fact that part of the Tory Government’s failure to answer my FoI request means we do not know the full number of people who died after being found fit for work under the current government’s brutal regime. We know how many people who had been found fit for work died within two weeks of their claim ending (because they had been found fit for work) – but that is just a fraction of the total number of deaths. Mr O’Sullivan committed suicide six months later, but his death is still directly attributable to government policy. Mark Wood died of starvation, four months after being found fit for work – was the government any less guilty of causing his death?
  • The fact that the mortality rate in the work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance is three times the national average, yet these are people who are expected to be fit for work within a year. Attempts have been made to claim that they have conditions that make them more likely to die early, but this is irrelevant as they are pushed out to join the wider population (which has a far lower mortality rate) in any case. If they really do have more serious conditions, they should be in the support group. Right?
  • The fact that the death rates for all claimants of incapacity benefits do not tally with the death rates for Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance individually. It is to be expected that the number of claimants won’t tally because people have been migrated from the older benefit to the new, so they may have two claims within a particular year – but you can only die once, and you can only be on one benefit when it happens.
  • The fact that the medical test, taken as part of the work capability assessment for ESA, includes a question about whether the claimant has had suicidal thoughts in the past. If a claimant admits contemplating suicide, the next question is “Why haven’t you done it?” Is this not designed to push the claimant towards taking his/her own life, thus removing themselves from the benefit bill? It’s called chequebook euthanasia, and the Nazis were very fond of it.
  • The fact that, after visiting the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz, Iain Duncan Smith himself started using the phrase “Work makes you free” in direct imitation of the words written in German over the camp gates. Those words were, of course, a sick joke – just as Iain Duncan Smith words have been for an unknown number of incapacity benefits claimants. He has recently adapted the phrase, as part of a drive to get even more ill people off the benefit books into “Work makes you healthy” – for which there is no medical proof at all. In the light of this behaviour, it is impossible not to compare this man with Hitler.

The above examples are just off the top of this writer’s head. The Conservative Government, and flunkies like Cllr Dearnley, want to pretend that everything is working perfectly and there is no cause for alarm.

But then, as you can see, the Conservative Government is full of liars.

Thanks to the Same Difference blog for bringing this to our attention.

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Corbyn backs Parliamentary motion on DWP deaths

150714corbyn

MPs are being urged to support a Parliamentary motion calling on the Conservative Government to publish death statistics relating to people on benefit, in line with This Writer’s Freedom of Information request that was granted on April 30.

Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons, allowing MPs to draw attention to an event or cause.

MPs register their support for EDMs by signing them. According to the Parliament UK website, the first signature on this motion belongs to Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

The EDM, number 285, was tabled yesterday (July 13) by Marie Rimmer, who put Iain Duncan Smith on the spot in a Commons debate a few weeks ago, alongside Debbie Abrahams.

It states: “That this House notes that on 30 April 2015 the Information Commission took a decision that the Government must disclose the number of incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance claimants who have died since November 2011 until May 2014 within 35 calendar days; acknowledges the petition signed by over 230,000 members of the public calling for this data to be released; further notes that even though the 35 day deadline has passed this data has not been released; has concerns that the data released may be a standardised figure rather than a full picture; and therefore calls on the Government to ensure the release of this data in full and without further delay.” [Bolding mine]

The tabling of this motion, and Mr Corbyn’s support for it, puts the issue of benefit deaths right at the top of the political agenda.

The last time the government published the death figures relating to Employment and Support Allowance, the main incapacity benefit, they showed that 10,600 people had died within 11 months, between January and November 2011. Note that figures for the traditional “suicide season” of December that year were omitted.

The public has had no further information on ESA-related fatalities for three and a half years. It is therefore impossible to calculate whether changes to the benefit system brought in by Iain Duncan Smith have been effective – or whether they have contributed to an increased death toll.

The fact that Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn has been the first to support this motion means that, if he becomes Labour leader, the party will make this matter a priority. None of the other candidates – so far – have expressed any interest in the plight of the long-term sick and disabled.

Vox Political therefore urges readers to contact their MPs – of whatever party; Conservatives are also concerned about this issue; and urge them to support EDM 285.

In addition, those of you who are members of the Labour Party are urged to support Mr Corbyn in his bid for the leadership.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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A simple plan to get Labour back on track

Harriet Harman: Will the acting leader of the Labour Party listen to pleas from the grassroots to get Labour back on track?

Harriet Harman: Will the acting leader of the Labour Party listen to pleas from the grassroots to get Labour back on track?

If the Labour Party is to regain the confidence it has lost, it needs to re-state its identity with a core message of purpose – one that not only encapsulates what Labour is about, but also what it opposes.

That is what was missing from Labour’s general election campaign, and is as much a reason for Ed Miliband’s defeat as the Conservative campaign, which was not based on objective facts but on political spin.

In a nutshell, it is time to remind the voters and the public that Labour is the enabling party. This creates a clear contrast with the Conservatives – the party of restriction.

So, for example, with the National Health Service, Labour should support a service available to everyonefree. That means no private involvement. With the Tory privatisation in full swing, funds are being restricted and so are services. The NHS is now a postcode lottery, with care allocated on the basis of profitability. That’s not good enough; the privateers must be told to jog on.

Education must also be available to everybody, up to the level each person can achieve (or wants to). Again, this means there should be no charge for state-provided services. A state school system has no place for privately-owned ‘academies’ or ‘free schools’. These are Tory devices; the private sector will, by its nature, restrict access in order to extract a profit. It also means no tuition fees for students in further/higher education.

Labour should be helping anyone who wants to start a business, by ensuring there are as few obstacles in the way as possible; it must be the enabling party. That means, for example, a graded taxation system, with lower business rates and taxes for start-ups, progressing to a higher rate for medium-sized enterprises, and a highest rate for multinationals – who should be taxed on all takings made in the UK; no excuses.

Another part of the enabling agenda must be ensuring that people can pay a minimum price for things we cannot live without: Accommodation, services, utilities.

There is now an appalling shortage of appropriate housing for many people – mostly because the Tories sold off so many council houses and did not replace them. This is why the Tories were able to impose the Bedroom Tax on so many innocent people – a restrictive idea, intended to push people out of some areas and into others; shifting Labour voters out of places the Tories didn’t think they should have to share with the riff-raff, you see – a gerrymandering tactic to make those constituencies easier to win in elections. The solution is simple: Build council houses again.

When the utility companies – gas, water and electricity suppliers – were privatised, we were all promised that household bills would be kept down by more efficient private-sector business models and private investment. That has not happened. Instead, consumers have been held to ransom by a small cabal of corporations who have been able to charge rip-off prices. Remember the electricity price scandal of 2013? Who told those firms to quit their restrictive practices and cut bills? Labour. The enabling party. The fear of a Labour government imposing new rules in the consumer’s favour helped hold the greedy private bosses in check for a while, but now we have a Conservative government. How long do you think it will be before prices soar? This Writer reckons they’ll take the first opportunity. Even now, after Labour managed to secure price cuts, the poorest families still have to choose between heating and eating during the winter (the phrase has been used so often it is now a modern cliché). This must not be allowed to continue and the solution is clear: Re-nationalise. There are even two bonus factors in such a plan: Firstly, as many of these utilities are owned – or part-owned – by firms or governments based abroad, it will ensure that our bills pay people in the UK rather than boosting foreign economies at the expense of our own and, secondly, takings will help the UK Treasury balance the books.

There is at least one other privatised service that could also be re-nationalised: The railway system. Prices have rocketed while government subsidies have also soared, since the system was turned over to private hands in the early 1990s. This is madness; it is a huge drain on resources and must not be allowed to continue. We should re-nationalise and follow the example of Northern Ireland, where the service was never privatised and where any profit is ploughed into improvements, not profit.

Then there is our grocery bill, which keeps escalating. This is a particularly thorny subject as, for example, farmers are being ripped off by supermarkets over the price of milk, but the same corporations will happily send apples to the other side of the world and back, just to have them polished. It’s time to straighten out that system as well – although it will take a while.

So this is how Labour should frame its arguments from now on: Labour enables; the Tories restrict.

It should be stressed that the themes raised above are just starting-points which occurred to This Writer while considering the issue last night. The above is not an exhaustive list. Undoubtedly there are many more.

Your comments are invited.

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National Park pay cut highlights the need to strengthen trade unions

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The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of work for 19 of its staff, removing enhanced rates of pay for weekend work.

The organisation’s bosses reckon they do not have the cash to continue with a pay condition that used to be mandatory across the United Kingdom; if you worked Saturdays, you got time-and-a-half, and on Sundays, double-time.

What was their pay cut, then?

The article in this week’s Brecon and Radnor Express doesn’t mention one. It states: “Following a consultation with staff, the authority amended its proposals and agreed to continue paying the enhanced time-and-a-half rate for working bank holidays [bank holiday work used to be paid on the double-time rate, This Writer believes]… [Staff] have been given until this week to accept the new terms and conditions.”

This is the kind of unacceptable behaviour that working people have been forced to endure for too long, under successive right-wing governments that have legislated against trade unions and industrial action.

The current Conservative Party manifesto gives a prime example of ‘boss’ thinking: “We will protect you from disruptive and undemocratic strike action. Strikes should only ever be the result of a clear, positive decision based on a ballot in which at least half the workforce has voted. This turnout threshold will be an important and fair step to rebalance the interests of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions.

“We will, in addition, tackle the disproportionate impact of strikes in essential public services by introducing a tougher threshold in health, education, fire and transport. Industrial action in these essential services would require the support of at least 40 per cent of all those entitled to take part in strike ballots – as well as a majority of those who actually turn out to vote.”

A “fair step to rebalance the interests of employers, employees, the public and the rights of trade unions”? Really?

Apply the same rules to political elections and none of the Conservative Party would be elected at all. None of that party’s expensive and pointless ‘Police and Crime Commissioners’ would have been elected, either.

There is nothing “fair” about this Conservative proposal – and I expect the workers at the Brecon Beacons National Park to agree.

Picket line: FBU members on strike in June 2014. The government was imposing new conditions of employment that would have ensured far fewer firefighters would qualify for their pensions in the future.

Picket line: FBU members on strike in June 2014. The government was imposing new conditions of employment that would have ensured far fewer firefighters would qualify for their pensions in the future.

Richard Murphy, of Tax Research UK, states a very good case for trade unions, as follows: “Unions are essential for three reasons. The first is to ensure fair pay and conditions. Many of the things that people take for granted now, from sick pay to holiday pay to employment rights only happened because of trade unions.

“Secondly, collective bargaining is essential if working people are to stand up to employers who can otherwise use their relative power to suppress wages on an individual basis. Unions are, therefore, essential for the improvement of the incomes of wage earners and one reason why we have growing inequality in the UK is the loss of union representation.”

[Going back to the national park, the newspaper article quoted the authority as saying its change would bring it into line with “much of the public sector across Wales”. Clearly, the public sector in Wales needed collective bargaining; they have been picked off, one organisation at a time, by cynical bosses.]

“Third, unions are economically efficient. They reduce employer negotiating time. They reduce the number of disputes by resolving vast numbers of them by their interventions. And they reduce the inefficiency that results from the uncertainty of individual negotiations and resulting grievances.”

Mr Murphy continues: “This is class warfare and it will harm the UK by reducing wages, increasing inequality, denying representation to people who need it and reducing efficiency in the workplace.

“No logic can support this policy. Dogma based on class hatred can.”

Agreed.

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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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