Today Labour launched our manifesto for the General Election. It sets out how Labour would deliver for working people, cut the deficit every year and protect our frontline public services.
Today’s manifesto is different to manifestos that Labour has published 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 Budget Responsibility Lock guaranteeing that every manifesto policy is paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing.
Where policies do cost money we have set out how they are paid for. For example:
- A £2.5 billion NHS Time to Care fund, from a mansion tax on properties over £2m, a levy on tobacco firms and closing a hedge fund tax avoidance loophole.
- 25 hours of childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, paid for by increasing the banking levy by £800 million.
- Cap class sizes for 5, 6, & 7 year olds, from ending the Free Schools programme.
- Cut business rates for small business properties, from not going ahead with another cut to Corporation Tax.
People want change, a better future, but they want to know we can make progress while securing the nation’s finances. This manifesto answers that question with a plan for big reform, not big spending.
And that responsible approach contrasts with an increasingly desperate Conservative campaign that is making promises it has no idea how to pay for. There is nothing more dangerous for the NHS than saying you’ll protect it with no idea where the money is coming from. It is an approach that leads to broken promises, with working people paying the price in higher taxes and public services undermined.
So this manifesto and this election campaign show that Labour is not only the party of change, but the party of responsibility too.
It is more ambitious because it starts from a clear commitment to balance the books but does not stop there. On the foundation of a plan to secure the nation’s finances it shows how we improve the family finances of the working people of Britain by:
- Rewarding hard work – by raising the minimum wage, banning exploitative zero hour contracts, freezing energy bills and backing small businesses
- Sharing prosperity – by guaranteeing apprenticeships, cutting tuition fees, getting homes built, and devolving powers to every part of Britain.
- Building a better Britain – ensuring the NHS has time to care, opening up our politics, and being a confident outward looking nation once again.
Tearing up the old assumptions
The manifesto Labour launched this morning tears up some old assumptions.
For too long, we have been told that what's good for the richest and most powerful is always good for the whole of our country.
Under this government, that belief has resulted in insecurity for millions, young people fated to have a worse life than their parents, and public services cut back to the core.
But Labour believes something different: that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.
And with this manifesto, Ed Miliband seeks to follow in the footsteps of the Labour Prime Ministers who have built the great institutions of our country.
All of them called time on the old way of doing things. In 1945, Clement Attlee called time on the dark days of the depression. In 1964, Harold Wilson beckoned in the white heat of the scientific revolution. In 1997, Tony Blair called time on a decaying public realm and said that our hospitals, our schools, and all our public services could once again be the best in the world.
I think it is time to put an end to the tired old idea that we will all be OK as long as we look after the rich and powerful, ready to put into practice the truth that it is only when working people succeed that Britain succeeds.
I know Britain can be better. The British people know Britain can be better. Together, let's make it happen.
What do you think about Labour's manifesto?
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