THE NEXT LABOUR GOVERNMENT WILL GET THE DEFICIT DOWN, BUT WE WILL NEVER TAKE BRITAIN BACK TO THE 1930s
George Osborne has broken his promise to balance the books. But where he has failed, Labour will succeed.
Our pledge on the deficit - that a Labour government will build a strong economic foundation and balance the books to secure the future of the NHS – is one that we will honour so that we can transform our economy, build a prosperous Britain and protect public services.
The Tories’ economic plan has failed. Yet they’ve committed themselves to slashing public services to a level not seen since the 1930s. They are doing it because they want to, not because they have to.
They are ideologically committed to an approach which will result in a permanent cost of living crisis of low skills and low quality jobs which won’t raise the tax revenues needed to tackle the deficit.
Unless we tackle the deficit in a tough but balanced way we face a simple choice between spending more money on debt interest payments or more money on vital public services like our NHS.
That’s why Labour will deal with the deficit by taking a tough and balanced approach based on five principles.
By following this approach we will cut the deficit, create the strong economic foundations needed to build a prosperous Britain for working people and protect the public services we all value and rely on.
LABOUR PRINCIPLES FOR DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT
1. Setting a credible and sensible goal to balance the books
- We will get current budget into surplus and national debt falling as soon as possible within the next Parliament.
- We reject the Tory plan which sets a target of a 35 per cent state, putting the NHS and productive investment in skills and education at risk.
2. Recognising that Britain will only be able to deal with the deficit by tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
- The Tories have allowed welfare spending to rise further than planned and tax revenues to fall because of low wages, insecure jobs, housing shortages and social failure.
- Labour’s plan to tackle the cost of living crisis includes increasing the minimum wage, building homes, reforming the banks and transforming vocational education.
- Our agenda for economic change is about big reform not big spending
3. Making common sense spending reductions.
- Ed Balls has written to the Shadow Cabinet to say that, except for a limited number of priority areas, they should plan for departmental budgets to be cut each year until we have balanced the books.
- Instead of spending less doing the same things we must use money better by devolving power, breaking down old bureaucracies, and rebuilding public services around early intervention.
4. Protecting everyday working people by ensuring those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.
- Because those at the top should contribute the most Labour has set out plans for reversing the 50p millionaires’ tax cut and a mansion tax.
- In contrast the Tories have refused to rule out cutting the top rate again, and put up VAT in this parliament.
5. Promising new policies only when they are fully funded and do not require any additional borrowing
- All our manifesto commitments will be fully funded. For example our £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund for the NHS is funded by a mansion tax on homes worth over £2m.
- The Tories however have announced £7bn unfunded tax cuts which would be paid for by bigger cuts to public services or increases in VAT.
ONLY A LABOUR GOVERNMENT WILL FIGHT ON THE ISSUES AFFECTING WOMEN
While David Cameron’s problems with women continue, I’m delighted that Labour will make sure the issues affecting women form an integral part of our General Election campaign.
Labour has always been the party of women, and for women. In our people, our policies and our politics, women and families are at the heart of everything we do.
I’m proud of Labour’s strong record on issues like family care, equal pay and tackling domestic violence. But there is still so much work to do and it is being made harder by the Tory-led Government.
Under this Government women’s progress has taken a backward step. The Tories and Lib Dems have made life harder for women. Analysis following the Autumn Statement confirms that 85 per cent of the Tory-led Government’s cash this Parliament comes from changes to direct taxes and benefits from women.
For women to make progress once again we have to have a Labour government and women's votes will be key to achieving this. Only then will we be able to pursue vital policies like Labour’s pledge on 25 hours free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds or raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour – both of which are incredibly important policies affecting women in Heywood and Middleton.
The votes of women will determine whether we have a Tory or Labour Prime Minister in No10. Let’s make sure we have a government that cares about the issues affecting women and the only way to guarantee that is to vote for Labour.
The next Labour Government will make sure cancer patients get access to potentially life-saving drugs and treatment through a new annual Cancer Treatments Fund.
The problem with cancer policy under the current Government is that it prioritises one form of cancer treatment over others and places one group of patients ahead of another. This is indefensible when we know surgery and radiotherapy are responsible for nine in ten cases where cancer is cured. It is not right that 40,000 people every year who could benefit from radiotherapy are missing out.
That’s why I’ve backed Labour’s new annual fund which will build on existing provision to improve access not just to drugs but also to radiotherapy and surgery. Labour would also guarantee that any patient in receipt of a drug from the Cancer Drugs Fund would continue to be offered that drug.
The new £330 million Fund will be created by adding £50m from the pharmaceutical industry rebate to the £280m-a-year Cancer Drugs Fund budget. Cancer experts will be consulted on the allocation of the resource and the best mechanisms for delivering it.
I’m proud that Labour is leading the fight against cancer and in government we will ensure that sufferers in Heywood and Middleton will have access to potentially life-saving drugs and treatment.