Well for those who heard the speech great, but for those critics who put down the Labour Party and Shadow Chancellor who only listened to bits and pieces I say to them read the speeches and comprehend. Granted not everybody will concur with the speeches as I’m pretty sure I will not agree with Conservatives, LibDems , The Green, UKIP and BNP conference speeches either but I too have something in common with our critics which is no different to you all.
For me the highlight of the day has got to be a 91 year old Harry Leslie Smith writer and campaigner was hailed as the Labour conference star speaker as he brought delegates to tears with recollections of poverty and premature death before the creation of the National Health Service. Harry Leslie Smith won two standing ovations and was hugged by Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, as he delivered an impassioned defence of the welfare state. Al so I have to includes Andy Burnham which of course could not beat our dear comrade Harry Leslie Smith
Here is what Andy Burnham had to say:
Conference I’ve got a question for you.
Hands up how many of you would walk 300 miles to save the NHS?
Stand up if you actually have?
Leading from the front, speaking for millions – Conference, please show your appreciation for the Darlo mums and the People’s March for the NHS. We have arrived at a big moment.
The party that created the NHS in the last century today sets out a plan to secure it in this. A rescue plan for a shattered service.
But more than that. A vision for a 21st century NHS there when you need it, personal to you and your family, with time to care. A national health and care service based on people before profits.
Today we place that proud Labour plan at the centre of our election campaign.
And, thanks to Ed’s great speech, we have the money to back it up.
A plan worth voting for, proof that all parties are not the same, giving you a real choice over the future of your NHS.
Because it certainly didn’t happen last time.
Remember that solemn promise of “no top-down reorganisation”?
It was a bare-faced lie.
Days into office, the Tories set about dismantling your NHS.
And the plan that dared not speak its name before the last election is now plain for all to see: run it down, break it up, sell it off.
So today we serve notice on Cameron and Clegg: Thursday 7th May 2015 – your day of reckoning on the NHS.
A reckoning for trashing the public’s most prized asset without their permission.
And a reckoning for a ruinous reorganisation that has dragged it down and left it on the brink.
A winter crisis in A&E now a spring, summer and autumn crisis too.
Over three million people on NHS waiting lists.
Families waiting longer for cancer treatment to start – and the national cancer target missed for the very first time.
The NHS can’t take five more years of Cameron.
I could go on about the damage he’s done.
But let’s be honest – would that help people worried about where the NHS is heading and wanting real answers?
I know there will be families and carers out there watching us today wondering whether anyone really understands what their life is like.
Soldiering on from one day to the next, feeling invisible and taken for granted, ringing the surgery early in the morning but unable to get through, telling the same story to everyone who comes through the door.
You feel no one listens – and no wonder.
So that’s why I’m going to do something different today.
I want to speak directly to you.
And to the parents of children with disabilities, for whom life feels like one long battle and who fret endlessly about what would happen to your son and daughter if you weren’t around to fight.
To the millions of you who face the daily worry and stress of arranging mum or dad’s care whilst trying to hold down a job.
And, most of all, to those of you who might be watching this alone at home fearing what the future might hold.
My message is simple: Labour is with you; your worries are ours; we know things can be better than they are; we want an NHS that takes your worries away; and we can achieve it if we do something bold.
The time has come for this party to complete Nye Bevan’s vision and bring social care in to the NHS.
That allows us to rebuild our NHS around you and your family.
No longer ringing the council for this, the NHS for that.
But one service, one team, one person to call.
An NHS for the whole person, an NHS for carers, an NHS personal to you. At last, a National Health Service keeping you well, not a national sickness service picking up the pieces.
And an end, once and for all, to the scandal that is care of older and vulnerable people in England in 2014.
I ask you this: how much longer will we say that people who are so frail that they need help with getting up, washing and eating, and who suffer from loneliness and isolation, are only worth a slap-dash 15 minute visit?
How much longer will society send out the message to young people looking after someone else’s mum, dad, brother or sister that it is the lowest form of work, lower than the minimum wage because it doesn’t pay the travel time between the 15 minute visits?
How much longer will we see these shameful scenes from care homes on our TV screens of people being shouted at or abused and not say enough is enough?
And for how much longer, in this the century of the ageing society, will we allow a care system in England to be run as a race to the bottom, making profits off the backs of our most vulnerable?
If this party is about anything, then surely it is about ending that.
I want you to understand why I feel like this.
About ten years ago, I saw my own mum ground down and worn out by the battle to get decent care for my gran.
She was in a nursing home where corners were often cut and where it was hard to get GPs to visit. The decent people who worked there were let down by the anonymous owners who filled it with untrained, temporary staff.
My gran’s things often went missing and we had got used to that.
But I will never forget the day when we walked in to see her and her knuckle was red raw where her engagement ring had been ripped off.
Right there, right then – I made it my mission to end this scandal.
And the greatest sadness of all was that this so-called care cost my grandmother everything she and my granddad had worked for.
I know millions of families have been through the same or are going through it now.
People look to Labour to change these things and that is what we will do. You know the Tories will never do it. They put profits before people – always – it’s in their DNA.
Their answer is to let the market that has ripped through social care carry on ripping through the NHS.
Conference, we will do the precise opposite.
I am clearer about this than anything in my life – the market is not the answer to 21st century health and care.
People out there know a minimum wage, zero hours approach will never secure the care they want for their mum and dad.
So our ten year plan for the NHS is founded on people before profits.
We will free the NHS from Cameron’s market and, yes, repeal his toxic Health and Social Care Act.
We will ask hospitals to collaborate once again and reinstate the NHS as our preferred provider.
The public NHS, protected with Labour. Not for sale. Not now, not ever.
Cemented at the core of every community so that it can then begin the job of bringing social care in and lifting it up. Building a culture of respect for all people who care and ending the indignity of flying 15 minute visits.
Caring no longer a dead-end job but part of one workforce working to NHS standards.
But there is a reason why we give the public NHS such stability.
It is so that we can ask it to embrace radical change in the way it provides services to you and your family.
We will ask hospital trusts and other NHS bodies to evolve into NHS integrated care organisations, working from home to hospital coordinating all care – physical, mental and social.
Why? Because it makes no sense to cut simple support in people’s homes only to spend thousands keeping them in hospital.
We can’t afford it. It will break the NHS.
But, more, it’s not right for you.
The ever-increasing hospitalisation of older people is no answer to the ageing society.
Bringing social care in doesn’t add to the financial burden.
It is the key to unlocking the money. But it will mean change and you need to know what that means for you.
Just as Nye Bevan wrote to every household to introduce his new NHS, so I will write again in 2015 to explain what people can expect from our national health and care service.
And this is what I will say for any family caring for someone with long-term needs, one team around you.
No longer should frail or vulnerable people be shunted around the system, from ambulance to A&E to noisy ward. Instead, this team will come to you. Its goal will be to keep you in your own home, safe and well.
You and your carers will have one person to call to get help so no longer telling the same story over and over again.
You will have a care plan personal to you and your family.
If you and your carers get what you really need from the start, then it’s more likely to work. Building the NHS around you will need a new generation of NHS staff, as Ed said yesterday.
So we will recruit new teams of home care workers, physios, OTs, nurses, midwives with GPs at the centre.
And will we have mental health nurses and therapists at the heart of this team, no longer the poor relation on the fringes of the system but making parity a reality.
And to make sure this investment is not creamed off by others, we will look at how we can ensure private health providers contribute their fair share towards the cost of training.
But, with the best will in the world, the NHS won’t be able to do it all.
That is why I can announce today a big change in the way the NHS supports carers so they can keep going.
No longer invisible but at the very centre of this new service.
So today we announce new support for carers: protected funding for carer’s breaks; the right to ask for an annual health check; help with hospital car parking for carers; and we will go further.
We will give all families the right to care in their home, if they want it.
A national health and care service truly there from cradle to grave – from a new right to have a home-birth and a right to be in your own home at the end of your life, surrounded by the people you love, with your care provided on the NHS and no worry about its cost – starting with those who are terminally ill with the greatest care needs.
These are the things that matter and this is about an NHS there for you at the most important moments in life.
This is what people want and this is what becomes possible with our plan.
True whole person care – simply not possible in Cameron’s fragmented, privatised, demoralised service.
Make no mistake – this coming election is a battle for the soul of the NHS. The fight of our lives.
Now we must walk 300 miles for the NHS to every doorstep in the land. With hope. With pride. With passion. With a plan you can believe in. But, in the end, this is about more than us. This is about you.
Your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren.
It’s about whether an NHS will still be there for them in their hour of need as it has been for you.
Don’t regret it when it’s gone. Join the fight for it now.
So I make this appeal to you.
Help the party that founded the NHS give it a new beginning.
Help us make it the service we all want it to be.
An NHS that puts people before profit.
An NHS that cares for the carers.
An NHS there for your mum and dad.
An NHS with time to care.
An NHS for all of you.
This year’s International Speaker was none other than the appearance of New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, who gave a rousing 40-minute performance, with notes, roused what has been a rather subdued Labour conference from its slumbers. He was the first speaker at this conference to lay out the philosophy of progressive politics with passion and real power, and his message on income inequality drew a standing ovation in the hall. Tanned and smiling, de Blasio, 53, sauntered on to the stage to loud cheers, blowing kisses to the crowd “I don’t know why they say the Brits are unemotional,” he drawled.
If the Democrat was tired from his 24 hour round trip (he reportedly landed at 7am this morning and will fly back tonight), he didn’t show it. Although he may not have had time to catch up on Mr Miliband’s lacklustre leader’s speech. In contrast to the widespread criticism of Mr Miliband in today’s newspapers (even The Guardian couldn’t pretend he looked like a winner), de Blasio was full of praise for the Labour leader: “Ed, your agenda is a blueprint of what a fairer, more prosperous, stronger United Kingdom will look like. That is not only why you must win, that is why you will win,” he said.
The Mayor appears to see the Labour leader as a kindred spirit in the fight against global inequality, although his speech was thankfully free of any references to the fashionable French economist Thomas Piketty. His criticism of the Conservatives’s “top down policies” drew applause from the crowd: “Instead of giving working families the leg up they deserve, guess what: they give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest, in the vague hope the money would magically trickle down to everyone else. We are familiar with this approach in our country—it’s called typically voodoo economics.”
Radiating positivity, de Blasio shared his own recipe for electoral success, describing how he came from far behind in the primary contest to end two decades of Republican rule in New York. In a rousing call to arms, he said that he won by refusing to “nibble around the edges” and by taking “dead aim at the crisis of our time” with “bold progressive action.”
Despite the stirring rhetoric and trust me the standing ovation was deserved the key question which remains unanswered was why was Bill de Blasio here? He clearly wasn’t a big enough name to persuade hungover delegates to delay their trains home, because the conference hall was only half full. I was among those asked to move forward to make the vast space look less empty. One suggestion is that Labour’s superstar election strategist, David Axlerod, called in a favour. But was it the right one? This was de Blasio’s first major policy speech overseas since he took office in January, and while he is certainly pitching himself as an activist voice within the Democratic Party, his star is still very much in the ascendant. With the roll call of guest speakers at previous Labour conferences including Nelson Mandela (2000) and Bill Clinton (2002/06), de Blasio’s presence offered little in the way of star quality, and his speech, like Miliband’s, will have little resonance with voters beyond the Labour grassroots.
I felt that Ed Miliband spoke by selling an idea about our party policies and look forward to see a new life of politics coming back to life. Ed Miliband was right to say:
- The NHS, low pay and the housing shortage as key battleground issues for the election.
- Health and Social Care Act has had a devastating impact on the health service in England, opening it up to creeping privatisation.
- Pledge of a £2.5 billion funding increase, paid for through a windfall tax on tobacco companies and a mansion tax, is welcome and necessary, but we still need a clear indication that Labour has the political will to halt NHS privatisation.
- Ensuring workers’ wages rise in line with economic growth is an admirable aim and one which would reverse more than three decades in which wages have shrunk as a share of Britain’s output as employers extract more and more profit from our work.
- To recruit thousands more NHS workers he could have indicated that Labour will raise public-sector pay to make up for years in which it has fallen behind inflation.
- House-building programme to address the chronic housing shortage aims to “double the number of first-time buyers,” but 200,000 new homes a year is far less than we need and he made no mention of the importance of rebuilding lost council-housing stock.
- Thatcher’s right-to-buy madness has failed. House prices and rents are ridiculously high and personal debt levels unsustainable. Labour will break from the private ownership model and commit to providing social housing and secure, affordable rents.
I felt that Ed Balls spoke with even more passion about our party policies ideas and look forward to see a new life of politics coming back to life. Some critics may be sceptical with his speech I say to hell with them and he was right to say:
- Underscore his willingness to take tough fiscal decisions when he reveals he will capchild benefit increases at 1% for the first two years of the next parliament, and force all government ministers to take a symbolic 5% pay cut.
- Balls, battling to improveLabour’s economic credibility in the polls, will defend his decision to back a fiscal stimulus in 2010, but will recommit himself to balancing the books in the next parliament, including by keeping child benefit rises below the rate of inflation and slashing ministers’ pay by £6,708 a year.
- His announcement will come in his speech to the Labour party conference in Manchester on Monday, as Labour sources were also making it increasingly clear that the party will this week commit extra funds for the national health service, possibly by earmarking cash raised by reintroducing the 50p top rate of tax.
For those people who did not have the opportunity to read both Ed Milibands and Ed Balls full conference speech I enclose a copy of it:
I want to start by talking about somebody who’s from Salford, just down the road from here and that’s Alan Henning, a British hostage taken by Isil. His wife, Barbara Henning, made an incredibly moving appeal for his release just over the weekend.
You know, Alan Henning is simply an aid worker trying to make life better for victims of conflict. I think it should tell us all we need to know about Isil and their murderous ways that they take a decent British man like Alan Henning hostage.
And it’s not just British people that they are targeting; it is people of all nationalities and all religions. That’s why we supported a coalition, not simply based on military action but a coalition based on humanitarian, political and diplomatic action to counter the threat of Isil.
Now this week, the president of the United States and the British Prime Minister are both at the United Nations.
We support the overnight action against Isil, what needs to happen now is that the UN needs to play its part. A UN Security Council resolution to win the international support to counter that threat of Isil.
Friends, this country will never turn our back on the world and will never turn our back on the principles of internationalism.
And those values are reflected not just in our country but in this Party, in this hall and in this great city of Manchester. Friends, it is great to be with you in Manchester. A fantastic city. A city with a great Labour council leading the way. And a city that after this year’s local elections, is not just a Tory-free zone but a Liberal Democrat free zone as well.
Now Manchester has special memories for me because it was four years ago that I was elected your leader, here in Manchester. Four years on I feel wiser. I feel older. I feel much older, actually. But hang on a minute, some of you look quite a lot older as well. At least I’ve got an excuse. But I am prouder than ever to be the leader of your party and I thank you for your support.
Now we meet here in serious times, not just for your world but for our country too. Our country nearly broke up. A country that nearly splits apart is not a country in good health. I want to start by thanking all of Labour’s Team Scotland for the part they played in keeping our country together.
Let us thank them all. Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Margaret Curran, Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy, Anas Sarwar, Johann Lamont. Let us thank them all ladies and gentlemen because they helped save our country.
And I want to say to the people of Scotland directly: this Labour party will show you over the coming years you made the right choice. Because we are better together.
Now here’s the thing. All of us, all political leaders, all of us in this hall, have a responsibility to try and explain why 45 per cent of people voted yes. 45 per cent of people wanted to break up our country. And we’ve got to explain why the feeling we saw in Scotland is not just in Scotland but is reflected across the country and my story starts six days from the end of the referendum campaign.
I was on my way to a public meeting. I was late as politicians tend to be. And just outside the meeting I met a woman and I was supposed to be going into the meeting but I wanted to stop and ask her how she was voting. I did that to everybody on the street. One vote at a time. I said to her “how are you voting?” she said “I haven’t decided yet.”
Turned out her name was Josephine. She worked as a cleaner in the building. I asked her what the company was like that she worked for. She said the company was decent but the wages were rubbish. She hadn’t decided because life was so incredibly tough for her. She didn’t want to leave but she thought it might be the best thing to do.
Now, I don’t know how Josephine voted in the referendum, but I do know the question she was asking: “Is anyone going to make life better for me and my family?” And here’s the thing. It isn’t just Josephine’s question. It’s the question people are asking right across Britain: “Is anyone going to build a better life for the working people of our country?” That wasn’t just the referendum question. That is the general election question.
I am not talking about the powerful and the privileged. Those who do well whatever the weather. I’m talking about families like yours, who are treading water, working harder and harder just to stay afloat.
For Labour, this election is about you. You’ve made the sacrifices. You have taken home lower wages year after year. You have paid higher taxes. You have seen your energy bills rise and your NHS decline. You know this country doesn’t work for you. My answer is that we can build a better future for you and your family and this speech is about Labour’s plan to do it. Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.
So what do we need to have that plan for the future? We’ve got to understand what people are saying to us right across the United Kingdom. See, I think across our country there is a silent majority who wanted our country to endure but are telling us that things must change and they come from every walk of life. Like a young woman called Xiomara who works in a pub near where I live.
She lives at the opposite end of the country from Josephine. She’s separated by at least a generation. But they share a common experience. Xiomara couldn’t afford to go to college. So she got a job in the pub kitchen nearby, washing dishes. She’s worked incredibly hard and she’s worked her way up to be one of the chefs.
But like for Josephine, life by Xiomara is incredibly tough. And by the way, she thinks politics is rubbish. And let’s not pretend we don’t hear that a lot on the doorstep. What does she see in politics? She sees drift. She doesn’t think we can solve her problems, now we’ve got to prove her wrong. And it’s not just that people like Xiomara and Josephine are struggling with the problems of today and millions of other people.
I think there’s something almost even more important about our country. People have lost faith in the future. You know, the other day I was in the park. I was actually trying to work on my speech, believe it or not, and I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I went to the park and there were two young women who were in the park and they seemed excited to see me and they came over. And – it’s not that funny – one of them actually said “so it is true, you do meet famous people in this park.” And the other one said “yeah it is.” And then the first one said “no offence, we were hoping for Benedict Cumberbatch.”
But anyway, one of them said something which really stuck with me. She said this, she said: “My generation is falling into a black hole.” And she said about her parents’ generation: “they’ve had it so good and now there’s nothing left for us.” She wasn’t just speaking for herself, she was speaking for millions of people across our country. Millions of people who have lost faith in the future.
Like Gareth, who is high up at a software company. He’s got a five year old daughter, he’s earning a decent wage, he can’t afford to buy a home for himself and for his family, he’s priced out by the richest. He thinks that unless you’re one of the privileged few in Britain the country is not going to work for you and your kids are going to have a worse life than you.
And so many people, friends, across our country feel this way. They feel the country doesn’t work for them. And they’ve lost that faith in the future. Now our task is to restore people’s faith in the future. Not by breaking up our country. But by breaking with the old way of doing things. By breaking with the past.
I’m not talking about a different policy or a different programme. I’m talking about something much bigger. I’m talking about a different idea, a different ethic for the way our country succeeds.
You see, for all the sound and fury in England, Scotland, Wales, across the United Kingdom, what people are actually saying to us is this country doesn’t care about me. Our politics doesn’t listen. Our economy doesn’t work and they’re not wrong, they’re right and this Labour Party is going to put it right.
But friends, to do that we have to go back to the very foundations of who we are and how we run things. We just can’t carry on with the belief that a country can succeed as a country with a tiny minority at the top doing well.
Prosperity in one part of Britain, amongst a small elite. A circle that is closed to most, blind to the concerns of people. Sending the message to everyone but a few: you’re on your own. See, think about it for a minute. In our economy, it’s working people who are made to bear the burden of anxiety, precariousness and insecurity.
They’ve been told: you’re on your own.
So many young people who don’t have the privileges, think their life is going to be worse than their parents.
They’ve been told: you’re on your own.
So many small businesses are struggling against forces more powerful than themselves.
They’ve been told: you’re on your own.
And the most vulnerable have been thrown on the scrapheap, cast aside, not listened to even when they have a case.
They’ve been told: you’re on your own.
And to cap it all, in our politics, it’s a few who have the access while everyone else is locked out.
They’ve been told: you’re on your own.
No wonder people have lost faith in the future. That’s why so many people voted to break up our country. Is it any wonder? The deck is stacked. The game is rigged in favour of those who have all the power.
Friends, in eight months’ time, we’re going to call time on this way of running the country. Because you’re on your own doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for your family, it doesn’t work for Britain.
Can we build a different future for our country? Of course we can. But with a different idea for how we succeed. An idea that in the end won this referendum.
An idea I love because it says so much about who we are and who we have it in ourselves to become.
An idea rooted in this party’s character and our country’s history.
An idea that built our greatest institutions and got us through our darkest moments.
An idea that is just one simple word.
Together we can restore faith in the future.
Together we can build a better future for the working people of Britain.
Together we can rebuild Britain.
Friends, together we can.
Together says it is not just the powerful few at the top whose voices should be heard, it’s the voice of everyone. Together says that it is not just a few wealthy people who create the wealth of our country. It’s every working person. Together says that we just can’t won’t succeed as a country with the talents of a few, we’ve got to use the talents of all. Together says that we can’t have some people playing under different rules, everybody’s got to play under the same rules.
And together says that we have a duty to look after each other when times are hard. Together. The way we restore faith in the future. Together: a different idea for Britain.
Now you might be thinking this sounds like a pretty big undertaking, changing the way our country is run, a totally different idea, that’s quite a big task, is it really going to be possible? Can we do it? I mean, it’s the 21st century, is that going backwards? Well it isn’t. And the reason it isn’t is because that idea is everywhere around us to see.
In every walk of life. The inspiration is everywhere of a different way of doing things. See, earlier on I mentioned Gareth, who works at a software company, who’s worried about his daughter and worried about the future. I didn’t just meet him, I met his colleagues as well. And that software company, the thing that shines through about it for me is it is full of bright, savvy young people, full of great enthusiasm.
But it isn’t about the boss at the top. It isn’t each individual on their own. Go to every person at that company and they say the same thing. You need to use the talents of every single person. Not just the software designers, but the customer service. Not just the developers, but those who manage the accounts. And go to so many great businesses across our country and they’ll the same thing to you, that is the ethic of the 21st century in business.
We need great entrepreneurs. Britain needs great entrepreneurs. But the greatest entrepreneurs recognise that they’re only as strong as their team.
And it’s not just in business. They’ll be people here who work in our brilliant National Health Service. Our brilliant National Health Service, friends.
Earlier this year, I spent a couple of days at an NHS hospital in Watford. I wanted to go there to see how things look from the front line. Mainly I sort of got in the way really, but that’s what politicians tend to do. And I remember one evening I was in A&E at 9pm and I was watching nurses from different backgrounds different walks of life, all coming together. I was incredibly moved, I was incredibly inspired by the team work. I was so proud of our National Health Service.
Go to any great hospital, go to any great school, it is the team that makes it strong and then think about our brilliant armed forces and let us pay tribute to them today friends.
Our brilliant, heroic troops serving our country in the most dangerous places. Talk to any of them and they will talk about the team and the team that make sit strong. So it’s true of business, it’s true of public services, it’s true of our armed forces, it’s true of so many walks of life.
You see, if the ethic of the 20th century was hierarchy, order, planning, control, the talents of just a few, the ethic of the 21st century co-operation, everybody playing their part, sharing the rewards, the talents of all. Together. Friends, it is time we ran the country like we know it can be run.
Now here’s a question for you: If the challenge is to run the country on this principle of together, can the Tories be the answer?
Can the Tories be the answer?
I’ll tell you why they can’t be the answer, because if you want the best example of the “you’re on your own”, rig the system for the powerful few, insecure, throwback dogma then just look at this government.
If you’re a low paid worker struggling to make ends meet, you’re working harder for longer for less and you’re on your own.
If you’re a family in the squeezed middle you feel like you’re just treading water and you’re on your own.
If you’re on a zero-hours contract, getting up at 5am every morning to find out whether you’ve got work, they’ll tell you that is how an economy succeeds and you’re on your own.
If you are one of the people worried about the railway company, the payday lender, they’re not going to do anything to help you. You’re on your own.
And if you’re one of the nine million people who rent your home in the private sector, they’re certainly not going to do anything for you. They’re going to tell you you’re on your own.
And why? Because they say intervening would be like Venezuela. That’s what they say. You see they say they don’t believe in government intervention. Really? Of course they do.
Because if you are a millionaire who wants a tax cut, they’re certainly going to intervene to support you. You’re not going to be on your own.
If you are a banker, who’s worried about your bonus, well it’s good news for you because George Osborne is going to go all the way to Europe to fight tooth and nail to try and protect it. You certainly won’t be on your own.
If you are an energy company whose prices and profits are soaring, good news again. You’ve got a Prime Minister who’ll be your own PR man. You won’t be on your own.
And by the way, if you are a Conservative supporting, gold mining, luxury hotel owning, Putin award winning, Russian oligarch, and you have got a £160,000 to spare to bid in an auction, you won’t be on your own; you will be on tennis court playing doubles, with David Cameron. That tells you all you need to know about this government.
Now, look, we know the kind of election campaign they are going to fight. In the next eight months, David Cameron is going to talk a lot about the past. He’s not going to want to talk that much about the present or the future. Now why? He’s going to tell you, he’s going to tell the British public that none of the problems in our country are anything to do with him. He’s done a really outstanding, tremendous job and he really deserves a lot of congratulations and thanks.
So he’s done a great job; all the problems are nothing to do with him and if you just hang on until after the general election things are about to turn the corner for your family.
Now the British people will have to be the judge of this. But I think there are some things to bear in mind. The record of this government, friends, isn’t just mediocre. It is one of the worst ever.
The longest fall in living standards since 1870.
Wages rising slower than prices for 50 out of 51 months.
For your family five years of this government; five years of sacrifice and zero years of success.
Now you might think that David Cameron’s right and things are about to turn round for you and your family. As I say the British people will have to be the judge of this. But isn’t there a second, more plausible explanation for their record? A Tory economy is always an economy for the few.
Because that’s who they care about. That’s the basis on which they think a country succeeds. And so the past with this government is a good guide to the future. Your family worse off. You can’t afford to take that risk. The British people can’t afford another five years of David Cameron.
Now, I’ve got an idea for our Prime Minister: he likes the surfing, he likes playing that game Angry Birds and he likes the tennis with the Russian oligarchs. Friends, I’ve got a great idea: Why don’t we give him all the time in the world to do all of those things. Come next May, let’s send him into opposition.
It’s up to us. We have to build a future for you and your family. That’s what Labour’s plan for Britain’s future is all about.
Today I want to lay out six national goals. Not just for one term of office. Or even for one year. But a plan for the next ten years. Britain 2025.
Day one of me as Prime Minster, this is the plan, and these are the goals I want us to pursue. Now you might ask why ten years? I’ll tell you one of the reasons. People are fed up with politicians who come along and say vote for me and on day one everything will be transformed. Friends the British people won’t believe it. It’s what I call doing a Nick Clegg.
Look, when Nick Clegg broke that promise on tuition fees, he didn’t just destroy trust in himself and the Liberal Democrats. He did something else. He destroyed trust in politics. Every time a promise is broken, every time a false promise is made, every time we say vote for us and tomorrow everything will be totally different, people get more and more cynical. People get more and more turned off.
People think politics is more and more a game and that all we’re in it for is ourselves. That’s why I plan for the next ten years. Not a plan for the next ten years which says nothing changes. But a route map. A route map for the country.
A route map for people like Gareth that I talked about earlier. For the young woman who wanted to see Benedict Cumberbatch and ended up with me and said ‘My generation is falling into a black hole. I want to know there’s a future for me.’ That’s what this plan is about.
Our plan starts with rewarding hard work once again because that’s what we’ve got to do as a country. One in five of the men and women go out to work in our country, do their bit, make their contribution, put in the hours and find themselves on low pay. With Britain’s traditions, with Labour’s traditions, that should shame us all.
So our first national goal is that we halve the number of people in low pay by 2025. Transforming the lives of two million people in our country.
The principle of together says we don’t just use the talents of all, we reward the talent of all. And the minimum wage has got to become a route to bringing up your family with dignity.
So we will raise the minimum wage by £1.50 an hour by 2020. To over £8 an hour. A rise in pay of £60 a week for a full-time worker on the minimum wage. Or more than £3,000 a year. The Tories are the party of wealth and privilege.
Labour is the party of hard work fairly paid. And it’s not the low paid but it’s all working people who should have their talents rewarded.
So our second national goal is that all working people should share fairly in the growing wealth of the country. That means, as the economy grows, the wages of everyday working people grow at the same rate.
You know what’s amazing friends, is that statement, that goal is even controversial. It used to be taken for granted in our country that’s what would happen.
That’s what the cost of living crisis which the Tories don’t understand is all about. To counter it you need a government with a singular focus on tackling it. Key to this is transforming our economy so we create good jobs at decent wages. That requires a massive national effort. The principle of together: everybody playing their part.
For government it means no vested interest, no old orthodoxies, no stale mindset, should stand in the way of restoring this basic bargain of Britain. It means reforming our banks, much bigger reform of our banks. Breaking up the big banks.
So that we have the competition we need in our banking system. It means getting power out of Whitehall. We are far too centralised a country. It’s time we did something about it. It’s time we transferred power out of Whitehall. To our businesses, towns and cities, so that they can create the jobs, the prosperity, the wealth that they need.
It’s about businesses and trade unions engaging in cooperation not confrontation.
And it’s also about something else friends for this party. It’s using our historic values to fight for those at the frontline of the modern workforce. I’m talking about a group of people that we in the Labour Party haven’t talked about that much and we need to talk about them a lot more. The growing army of our self-employed.
Five million people in our country. Often the most entrepreneurial, go-getting people in Britain who have a hard, insecure life very often. You see, because of the job they do, two out of three don’t have a pension.
One in five can’t get a mortgage. They don’t want special treatment. They just want a fair shot. The task for this Labour Party is to end this 21st century modern discrimination. It is to fight and deliver equal rights for the self-employed in Britain.
I said earlier that we need to create good jobs at decent wages. To transform our economy. The jobs of the future. So our third national goal is that by 2025, Britain becomes truly a world leader in the green economy, creating one million new jobs as we do. Under this government, we’re falling behind Germany, Japan, the United States and even India and China when it comes to green technologies and services.
There are so many brilliant businesses who are desperate to do their bit but government’s not playing its part. With our plan, we will. This is what we’re going to do.
We’re going to commit to taking all of the carbon out of our electricity by 2030.
We’re going to have a Green Investment Bank with powers to borrow and attract new investment. And as Caroline Flint announced today, we will devolve power and resources to communities so we can insulate 5 million homes over the next ten years.
You see the environment isn’t that fashionable any more in politics as you may have noticed with David Cameron. But it matters. It’s incredibly important for our economy. And there is no more important issue for me when I think about my children’s’ generation and what I can do in politics, than tackling global climate change. Now we need a plan for jobs. We need a plan for wages. We need a plan that is actually going to help the working families of our country.
At the heart of our plan for our country and for your family is also a future for all of our young people.
I met somebody called Elizabeth the other day. Where is she? She’s here. Elizabeth, why don’t you stand up for one second. Elizabeth is an apprentice.
She’s an auto-electrician. I think it’s fair to say Elizabeth that you are breaking through in what’s been pretty much a man’s world. Now, let’s have another round of applause for her and the great job she’s doing. She is one of the lucky few. Actually Elizabeth’s school, because I met her yesterday, Elizabeth’s school helped her to get an apprenticeship. But so many other schools don’t do that. In fact, lots of the people I meet who are on apprenticeships say ‘my school said apprenticeships were rubbish and they wouldn’t help me but now I’m doing it, it’s really great for me’. Frankly there aren’t enough of them and they aren’t high-quality enough.
So our fourth national goal is that by 2025 as many young people will be leaving school or college to go on to an apprenticeship as currently go to university.
Now, I’ve got to tell you this is an absolutely huge undertaking. We are such a long way away from this as a country. It is going to require a massive national effort. It’s going to require young people to show the ambition to do well and to get on.
It’s going to require schools to lead a dramatic change in education, with new gold standard technical qualifications. And it is going to need business and government to lead a revolution in apprenticeships. You know, government is very good at preaching to business about what it should be doing. Let me just tell you: government is absolutely useless when it comes to apprenticeships. It’s true of governments of both parties. Look at other countries; they do a fantastic job in giving apprenticeships to the next generation. We don’t do that in this country.
First we’ve got to tackle the failure by government. Then we’ve got to say to business that you’ve got to play your part. If you want to bring in a worker from outside the EU, that’s ok but you must provide apprenticeships to the next generation.
You see we can’t have what’s happening at the moment in IT where you’ve got more and more people coming in but actually the number of apprenticeships falling in IT. And we’ve also got to say to business this: We’re going to give you control of the money for apprenticeships for the first time but in exchange, if you want a major government contract, then you must provide apprenticeships to our young people. A plan for jobs, for wages, for education.
But what is it, what other things give us confidence and security in life? It’s the love of the people we care most about. Decent work properly rewarded. But it’s also the confidence and security of having our own home. So many people don’t have that today. That very British dream, of home ownership, is fading for so many people. You know, under this government, we’re building fewer homes than at any time since the 1920s.
So our fifth national goal is that by 2025, for the first time in fifty years, this country will be building as many homes as we need. Doubling the number of first time buyers in our country.
Again it is going to require a massive national effort, a massive national effort. We won’t let large developers sit on land, we will say to small developers and construction companies that we will help them to build homes again in our country. We will build a new generation of towns, garden cities and suburbs creating over half a million new homes.
And we will also make housing the top priority for additional capital investment in the next parliament. This party will get Britain building again.
Your family also needs public services you can rely on. Education policing, transport and nowhere is that more true than our National Health Service.
I mentioned earlier on that I spent a couple of days at a hospital in Watford earlier on this year. And while I was there I met an amazing man called Colin in his 80s, who sadly died a few weeks later. But I will always remember my conversations with him. You see he remembered the foundation of the NHS, he remembered what life was like before the National Health Service. And I remember him saying to me: “Ed the problem then was you were on your own. On your own having to pay for medical treatment.” Friends we are so proud of our National Health Service. And I know my duty to Colin and to the British people. It is to make sure our NHS is there when we need it.
So our sixth national goal is that we create a truly world-class 21st century health and care service.
Because a hospital is only as good as the services in the community. So see that’s the biggest lesson I learnt in Watford. If people can’t get to see their GP, if elderly people can’t get the visits they need then they end up in hospital when it could have been avoided. And that’s bad for them, and it is bad for the taxpayer it costs billions of pounds. And let’s face it friends those services are creaking.
Those services are creaking just now. One in four people can’t get to see their GP within a week. We’ve had the scandal of home care visits for the elderly restricted to just 15 minutes. In this day and age. The NHS does face huge challenges over the coming years. We will transform our NHS. It is time to care about our NHS. We need doctors, nurses, midwives, care workers, who are able to spend proper time with us, not rushed off their feet. So we will set aside resources so that we can have in our NHS 3,000 more midwives, 5,000 more care workers, 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses. An NHS with time to care.
And in order to pay for it we won’t borrow an extra penny. Or raise taxes on ordinary working families. We will clamp down on tax avoidance including tax loopholes by the hedge funds to raise over £1 billion. We will use the proceeds from a mansion tax on homes above £2 million.
And we will raise extra resources from the tobacco companies, who make soaring profits on the back of ill health. Because friends the principle of building it together means everyone playing their part in making our NHS what it needs to be.
In total we will set aside £2.5 billion in an NHS time to care fund and tomorrow Andy Burnham will set out our integrated plan for physical health, mental health and care for the elderly. Truly a 21st century National Health Service. The stakes are incredibly high at this election and nowhere more so than on the National Health Service because we know the NHS is sliding backwards under this government. We know they are privatising and fragmenting it.
Just imagine what another five years of David Cameron would mean for our National Health Service Friends.
We are not going to let it happen, our NHS is too precious, too important and we will not let it happen. Friends, we built the NHS. We saved the NHS. We are going to repeal the Health and Social Care Bill and we are going to transform our NHS for the future. That is what the next Labour government will do and friends, we will do it together.
Six national goals friends. Six national goals to transform our country. Not a false promise on day one. Not some pie in the sky idea that can’t be delivered. Real, concrete ideas that can transform our country. That can restore faith in the future. A plan for Britain’s future. Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.
But to make that happen we also have to do something else and transform who has power in our country so that those who feel locked out feel let back in.
You know people think Westminster politics is out of touch, irrelevant and often disconnected from their lives.
And as somebody who stands at Prime Minister’s Questions each Wednesday I often know what they mean. We might as well say it; it is what people think about politics. They think it is not about them and we’ve got to change it. We don’t just need to restore people’s faith in the future with this economic and social plan we need to change the way politics works in this country. What does that mean?
First of all it is time to hear the voice of young people in our politics so we will give the vote to 16 and 17 year olds in general elections.
It is time we complete the unfinished business of reform of the House of Lords so we truly have a Senate of the nations and regions. And it is time to devolve power in England.
And I’m incredibly proud of our proposals. Our ambitious proposals to reverse a century of centralisation and there can be no better place to be talking about this then here in Manchester. Devolving power to local government, bringing power closer to people right across England.
And we need bigger reform of our constitution, but here is the thing friends, given everything we know about what people think of Westminster politics, it has got to be led by the people.
It can’t be some Westminster stitch-up. That is why we need a proper constitutional convention harnessing the civic energy and spirit of people right across our land. England, Scotland, Wales, every part of the United Kingdom. But you know I have realised something else giving people voice is also about recognising who we are as a country.
We are more than ever, four countries and one. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Britain too.
Each nation making its contribution. We are not just better together, we are greater together. And that is not something to fear that is something to be proud of. I learnt something really important as I’m sure we all did in this referendum campaign.
All of those people who were proud to be Scottish and proud to be British. Just like there are so many people who are proud to be Welsh and proud to be British.
No one more so than our brilliant First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones and let’s hear it for him today Ladies and Gentleman.
And so too we can be proud to be English and proud to be British. And I say to this party we must fight for these traditions and not cede them to others. Englishness: a history of solidarity.
From the Battle of Cable Street against Oswald Mosley and the black shirts to the spirit of the Blitz. Englishness: traditions of fairness. From the Ford workers at Dagenham who fought for equal pay to today’s campaigners for the living wage. Englishness: a spirit of internationalism. From those who fought in the Spanish Civil War to our generosity to those overseas. Now friends there will be some people who tell you that being English, Welsh or Scottish means dividing or setting ourselves against each other. Rubbish. Why? Because here is what we the Labour Party know.
The injustices facing working face them right across the United Kingdom and we can only tackle them together. That is after all what we spent the last two years fighting for and I am not going to let anyone after the last two years drive us apart.
If David Cameron cares so much about the Union why is he seeking to divide us?
He is learning the wrong lessons from Scotland. He is learning the wrong lessons from Scotland. Because what he doesn’t understand is that the lessons are of course about the constitution, but they are not about playing political tactics about England.
And here is why he is doing it. David Cameron doesn’t lie awake at night thinking about the United Kingdom. He lies awake at night thinking about the United Kingdom Independence Party. UKIP. That is why he is doing it friends and I say pandering to them is just one more reason why he is not fit to be the Prime Minister of this great country.
Better together, across the United Kingdom. But also better together, true to our traditions of internationalism. And nowhere is that more true than when it comes to Europe and the European Union. Friends, let me say it plainly: our future lies inside not outside the European Union.
We need to reform Europe. We need to reform Europe on the economy, on immigration, on benefits, on all of these big issues. But here is the question for Britain. How do we reform Europe? Do we reform Europe by building alliances or by burning alliances?
Well, look, what’s really good is that we’ve had a recent experience, a test case, by David Cameron of his strategy.
I don’t know whether you missed it, but it’s about somebody called Jean-Claude Juncker. And in case you missed the score, it’s not so good from his point of view, that’s David Cameron, is he lost by 26 to 2.
Now, why did he lose? Because at the start people thought he might win that vote. I’ll tell you why. Because you see the problem for our country is that when David Cameron comes calling, people don’t think he’s calling about the problems of Britain or the problems of Europe. They think he’s calling about the problems of the Conservative Party. And here’s the funny thing friends, here’s the funny thing. If you’re elected the Chancellor of Germany or the Prime Minister of Italy or the President of France you don’t really think you were elected to solve the problems of the Conservative Party.
That’s why he can’t succeed for our country. And, look, what we had over Jean-Claude Juncker is just a preview of what could befall this country if David Cameron was back in power after 2015. Because he lost 26 to 2 over that. He has to win 28-0 to get reform of Europe. Unanimity. No chance for David Cameron.
He’s got no chance of fighting for this country. Because people think he’s got one hand on the exit door and his strategy has failed. If you want to reform Europe. If you want to change the way Europe works. If you want to keep Britain in the European Union and if you realise that the biggest threat to our prosperity is now the Conservative Party, the right answer is a Labour government.
I’m determined that as Prime Minister, I promote our values all round the world and one of the things that that means friends is seeking a solution to a problem that we know in our hearts is one of the biggest problems our world faces and that is issues in the Middle East and Israel and Palestine.
I tell you, I will fight with every fibre of my being to get the two state solution, two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side, that will be a very, very important task of the next Labour government, friends.
There’s one other thing I want to say about what we need to do abroad. You know we have made extraordinary progress on Lesbian and Gay rights over the last twenty years. If I think about the transformation that I have seen growing up into adulthood, the biggest transformation.
We’ve made such progress on equality. But we have to face the fact that internationally things are, if anything, going backwards. We can’t just let that happen. We can’t just say “well, that’s OK”. The next Labour government will fight to make sure that we fight for our values and for human rights all round the world.
So today I can announce that I am appointing Michael Cashman, Lord Cashman, as our envoy on LGBT rights all round the world.
So it’s about a plan, at home and abroad, but it’s also about leadership.
Friends – you know, I know, that the next eight months represent my interview with the British people for one of the most important jobs in our country.
Let me tell you what I care about.
I care about big ideas that can change our country.
The principle of together.
I care about hearing the voices of people right across our land and not shutting them out.
And I care about something else.
I care about using the power of government to stand up against powerful forces when we need to do so.
It came home to me the other day, when I met Rosie, a doctor from Devon, and she said to me: “what we need is someone who will stand up for working people, for everyday people, because you will have the power and we won’t.”
That’s why I stood up to Rupert Murdoch over phone hacking. That’s why I stood up to the banks over bonuses. That’s why I stood up to the payday lenders over their exploitation of the poorest people in our country. That’s why I stood up to the energy companies over their profits and prices and, yes, it’s why I stood up to the Daily Mail when they said my dad hated Britain because I know my dad loved Britain.
Ok, that’s me, but what about the other guy. Now this isn’t a conventional job interview so I get to say something about him. He stands up for the principle of “you’re on your own”. He stands up for the privileged few. And here’s the thing that gets me the most about him perhaps. He really thinks that a good photo opportunity will fool people into thinking he doesn’t just stand up for the rich and privileged, he stands up for you and your family.
In this day and age, when people are so cynical about politics, I just think it adds to that cynicism. But here’s the thing. He’s been found out.
He’s been found out because he hugged a huskie before an election, and then said “cut the Green crap” after an election.
He’s been found out because he stood outside an NHS hospital before an election with a placard saying “no hospital closures”, and he closed that very same A&E department after the election.
He’s been found out because he changed his logo to a tree before an election, and tried to sell off the forests after the election.
And he’s been found out because he said he was a compassionate conservative before the election, and he imposed the cruel, the vindictive, the unfair Bedroom Tax after the election.
And you know what gets me even more? You know what gets me even more? Is that even now, with all the tales of misery, hardship, injustice, he thinks a bit of rebranding will get him off the hook. So he calls it the “spare room subsidy” as if that will make the problem go away. Well, David Cameron, you’ve been found out.
So friends, there is a choice of leadership at this election. A real, stark choice of leadership. Leadership that stands for the privileged few or leadership that fights for you and your family. And as I said earlier, this isn’t just about leadership and government and Labour’s plan for Britain’s future. It’s also about all of you.
See, we can’t build the country we need without you. Without mobilising every part of Britain.
So I say to young people: we need your hope, your energy, your vitality.
I say to every older person: we respect your service and we need your wisdom.
I say to every business: you can be part of this and we can’t do it without you.
I say to every entrepreneur: we need your ideas, your enthusiasm.
I say to every charity: we admire your spirit and we want to hear your voice.
I say to every nurse, every teacher, every public service worker: we salute your dedication and we know why you do what you do.
I say to every person in our country who believes that tomorrow can be better than today: we need you.
Together we bring up our families.
Together we look out for our neighbours.
Together we care for our communities.
Together we build great businesses, the best in the world.
Together we teach the young.
Together we heal the sick.
Together we care for the old.
Together we invent cures for the most terrible of diseases.
So, of course, friends, together we can rebuild our country.
Together we can reward hard work.
Together we can ensure the next generation does better than the last.
Together we can make our NHS greater than it has ever been before.
Together we can make Britain prouder, stronger in the world.
Together we can restore faith in the future.
On our own, we can’t but together we can.
In the next eight months the British people face one of the biggest choices in generations.
A choice between carrying on as we are, on your own, for the privileged few.
Or a different, better future for our country.
We are ready.
Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.
Let’s make it happen.
Together. Thank you very much.
Copy of Ed Balls full Conference Speech:
Twenty years ago, starting at this Labour conference, we together took the historic step of reforming our party’s constitution.
The result is on the back of our membership cards today.
Our goal: ‘a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few.’
Our conviction, that: ‘By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone’.
Twenty years on, that Labour vision – our Labour values – are more relevant than they have ever been.
Because, while our economy is growing again, taxes are up, wages are down, NHS waiting times are rising, and most working people are still not seeing any benefit from the recovery.
It’s no wonder the country is crying out for change.
But at a time when trust in politicians is at an all-time low – and when even after deep spending cuts and tax rises for working people, our deficit is still high – this is our task.
Not to flinch from the tough decisions we must make. But to show the country that there is a better way forward.
Labour’s plan for Britain’s future. Our common endeavour: to build an economy that works for the many, and not just a few, for all working people in every part of our United Kingdom.
And Conference, when we think of those words – ’by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone’ – don’t they resonate more loudly after the events of the last few days?
Because Conference, we meet here in Manchester, a united party in our still United Kingdom.
And let us pay tribute to Johan Lamont and Margaret Curran, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown, Anas Sawar, Jim Murphy, Douglas Alexander, in my team Cathy Jamieson, all the MPs and MSPs, party workers and volunteers, many more beyond our own party too, who have worked so tirelessly to win last week’s vote. Conference, we thank them all.
But let us never forget, after all the campaigning and brilliant barnstorming speeches, the decision to stay together and shape Scotland’s future within our United Kingdom was not made by politicians or pundits but by the people of Scotland.
They voted to retain the shared prosperity, and security, and solidarity that our union delivers. But the people of Scotland did not vote for the status quo. They voted for the opportunity to shape Scotland’s future with greater devolution. And it is our duty to deliver on that promise – and for Wales and for the cities and regions of England too.
Yes, we do need to change our constitution and reform and strengthen our union in a fair way – a process which should start from the people, not politicians. But we know too that people in Scotland and across the rest of the United Kingdom want bigger change than that.
Change which goes beyond powers and processes, parliaments and constitutions. Radical change to build an economy that works for all working people.
Conference, knocking on doors in my constituency a few Sundays ago, I spoke to a mum in Outwood.
She told me her teenage son had finished college and had been looking for a job for ages.
She was so relieved when he finally got one, but worried he’s on a zero-hours contract.
Every morning he has to ring in at 7 o’clock to see if they want him.
And when they say no, and he can do nothing else until the next morning, she said it breaks her heart.
Because he deserves better than this. And she’s right. And that story is not the exception.
It’s one of thousands and thousands of doorstep stories all of us hear across our country every week.
Parents worried about whether their children will get a job or an apprenticeship and whether the next generation will be worse off than their own.
Relying on us – Labour – to make things better.
Families and pensioners seeing prices in the shops and heating bills going up and up.
Millions of people – in the private and public sectors – struggling without a pay rise or unable to get the hours they need, still not feeling the benefit of this recovery.
And relying on us – Labour – to make things better.
Young people struggling to save to get on and buy a house.
Disabled people and family carers forced to pay the government’s Bedroom Tax.
Thousands of people working in our NHS, millions more who depend upon it, worried about rising waiting times and creeping privatisation.
All relying on us – Labour – to make things better.
And Conference, we must not let them down.
And that is why it is our job to go on and win the General Election so we can change Britain and deliver our country from this unfair, out of touch and failing Tory Government.
Conference, we all know the great weight of responsibility we carry on our shoulders.
And that is why our party is so united and determined and fired up to get Ed into Downing Street.
Over the last four years, Ed has led us from the front.
Reforming our party and leading a Shadow Cabinet with more women than ever before and more BME candidates than ever before.
Modernising our relationship with the trade unions.
Standing up for the victims of phone-hacking.
Speaking up for the British people on the cost of living crisis.
Demanding the reforms we need to change our economy.
At every turn, he has led this party with courage, strength, principle and vision, and he will do the same for our country.
Our leader, Britain’s next Prime Minister, Ed Miliband.
And as for David Cameron and George Osborne, going round the country saying they’ve fixed the economy, telling people they’ve never had it so good.
How out of touch can you get?
Prices still rising faster than wages.
And the Tories say they’ve fixed the economy.
The slowest recovery for 100 years.
Business investment still lagging behind .
The lowest level of house building since the ‘20s.
One in six young people out of work.
The gender pay gap widening again.
Over a million zero hours contracts.
Working people £1,600 a year worse off.
And the Tories say they’ve fixed the economy?
What planet are they on?
Conference, working people can’t afford five more years of the Tories.
We know what the Tories really mean when they say they’ve fixed the economy.
The millionaires who got a massive tax cut.
That’s who the Tories have fixed it for.
The hedge funds funding the Tory party.
That’s who the Tories have fixed it for.
The big investors buying the Royal Mail on the cheap.
Russian oligarchs buying tennis matches with Boris and Dave.
That’s who the Tories have fixed it for.
Conference, it’s the same old Tories.
And it’s the same old Tory economics.
Cutting taxes at the top and hoping wealth will somehow trickle down.
Standing up for a privileged few, while everyone else is left behind
For the few not the many.
David Cameron, George Osborne, and Nick Clegg.
And now David Cameron thinks a grateful and devoted nation will give him another five years in Downing Street.
You know what – even his own party don’t believe him anymore
Remember Cameron’s A list?
Nine Tories elected in 2010 already standing down.
From the A List to the Exit Door in just four years.
Nine Tories leaving.
Another scurrying off to UKIP.
And Boris scrambling back to Westminster, preparing to elbow David Cameron out of the way.
That’s today’s Tories.
Giving up on Cameron.
Giving up on the General Election.
Starting to fight the next Tory leadership election instead.
Conference, we know working people can’t afford five more years of the Tories.
But this is no time for complacency.
Because this is the hard truth that we learn – not just from events in Scotland – but also from the local and European elections, the rise of UKIP and from the conversations we all have on the doorstep and in our workplaces week after week.
Yes, the Tories are deeply unpopular.
And yes, the country is crying out for change.
But, even after the progress and successes of our last four years, we have more work to do to show Labour can deliver the change that people want to see.
To show that we have learned from our time in government, that we will make the tough decisions we need to get the deficit down, and that we can change our economy and make it work for working people.
So Conference it’s more important than ever that we – the Labour Party – are honest with the country about what the last Labour government got right and what we got wrong.
Like you, I’m proud of many of the things we did.
Conference, we – Labour – introduced the first ever national minimum wage – and we will raise it if we win the election next year.
We – Labour – introduced free nursery places for the first time – and we will expand free childcare for working parents if we win the election.
We – Labour – introduced civil partnerships and paved the way this year for our country’s first ever same-sex marriages.
We opened 3,500 Sure Start children’s centres.
We made the right call on not joining the Euro.
And most important of all, starting in 1997, after 18 years of neglect, we reformed the NHS, we invested in the NHS, we reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks in the NHS.
Conference, we saved our National Health Service from the Tories.
And next year, after just five years of David Cameron – with waiting times rising, fewer nurses and a crisis in A&E – we will have to save the NHS from the Tories once again. And we will do what it takes.
Because Conference, it’s the oldest truth in British politics: you can never ever trust the Tories with our NHS.
So we can be proud of many things we did.
But where we made mistakes – like all governments do – we should be grown up about it.
We should put our hands up, learn from the past and explain how we will do things differently in the future.
So Conference, we should have had tougher rules on immigration from Eastern Europe – it was a mistake not to have transitional controls in 2004.
And we must change the rules in the future.
Longer transitional controls for new countries.
A longer time people have to work before they can get unemployment benefit.
Stopping people claiming child benefit and tax credits for families abroad.
Cracking down on employers who exploit migrant workers and undercut wages by avoiding the minimum wage and proper rights at work.
Tough controls, fair rules.
That is what we mean by fair movement not free movement.
And Conference, while it was the banks which caused the global recession, and it was the global recession which caused deficits to rise here in Britain and around the world, the truth is we should have regulated those banks in a tougher way.
It was a mistake. We should apologise for it. And I do.
And so as we get the deficit down, we must reform our banks for the future so that can never happen again.
And Conference, and we didn’t do enough to tackle the underlying causes of rising spending on housing benefit and in-work poverty.
So the next Labour government will raise the minimum wage, build more homes to get the housing benefit bill down and cap overall spending on social security.
And Conference, we should not have scrapped the 10p starting rate of income tax.
But we don’t just need to learn from our mistakes.
We also need to put right the mistakes this Government has made.
So we won’t pay for new free schools in areas where there are excess school places.
We will repeal the NHS Bill and stop the creeping privatisation of the National Health Service.
And yes, Conference, in our first Budget, the next Labour government will scrap the Bedroom Tax too.
Building on our record.
Learning from the mistakes of the last Labour government.
And putting right the mistakes of this Tory Government.
A changed Labour Party to change Britain.
But we will face great challenges.
Working people are already paying more taxes.
Our public services are under great pressure.
We know there would have been tough decisions on tax, spending and pay restraint in this parliament whoever was in government.
But three years of lost growth at the start of this parliament means we will have to deal with a deficit of £75 billion – not the balanced budget George Osborne promised by 2015.
And that will make the task of governing hugely difficult.
And this goes to the heart of the political challenge we face.
People know we are the party of jobs, living standards and fairness for working people.
But they also need to know that we will balance the books and make the sums add up and that we won’t duck the difficult decisions we will face if they return us to government.
Working people have had to balance their own books.
And they are clear that the government needs to balance its books too.
So Labour will balance the books in the next parliament.
These will be our tough fiscal rules. We will get the current budget into surplus and the national debt falling as soon as possible in the next parliament.
Tough fiscal rules that our National Policy Forum endorsed in July, demonstrating that, however difficult, our party can unite in tough times to agree a radical, credible and fully costed programme for government.
And we will legislate for these tough fiscal rules in the first year after the election and they will be independently monitored by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
So in our manifesto there will be no proposals for any new spending paid for by additional borrowing.
No spending commitments without saying where the money is coming from.
Because we will not make promises we cannot keep and cannot afford.
And because we will need an iron commitment to fiscal discipline, we want the Office for Budget Responsibility to be allowed to independently audit the costing of every spending and tax measure in Labour’s manifesto – and those of the other main parties too.
A bold reform which the Tories are desperate to block. Because they are running scared from having their own manifesto subject to independent scrutiny.
And because David Cameron and George Osborne want to carry on peddling untruths and smears about Labour’s plans.
Conference, the next Labour government will get the deficit down.
And Ed Miliband and all my Shadow Cabinet colleagues are clear it will mean cuts and tough decisions and we will take the lead.
So I can announce today that if we win the election, on day one of the next Labour government, the pay of every government Minister will immediately be cut by five per cent.
Ministerial pay will then be frozen each year until we have achieved our promise to balance the nation’s books
Because we are all clear that everybody in the next Labour government will be fully focused on that vital task of getting the deficit down.
And Conference, our Zero-Based Review of public spending is examining every pound spent by government to cut out waste and make different choices.
Andy Burnham is setting out how we can save money, and improve care by pooling health and social care with a single budget and joint management.
Yvette Cooper has set out how police forces will work more closely together to make savings. And we will scrap Police and Crime Commissioners so that we can do more to protect frontline policing.
Hilary Benn is working with the toughest and best generation of local government leaders we have ever had to make savings and free up resources for the front-line.
We will look to prioritise early intervention now which can save billions of pounds in the future.
And we will insist that all the proceeds from the sale of our stakes in Lloyds and RBS are used not for a frivolous pre-election giveaway – but instead that every penny of profit will be used to repay the national debt.
Conference, fiscal responsibility in the national interest.
And we will have to make other decisions which I know will not be popular with everyone.
At a time when the public services that pensioners rely on are under such pressure, we will stop paying the winter fuel allowance to the richest five per cent of pensioners.
Over the long-term, as life expectancy rises, we will need to continue to raise the retirement age to keep our pensions system affordable.
We will cap structural social security spending and keep the benefits cap, but we will make sure it properly reflects local housing costs.
I want to see child benefit rising again in line with inflation in the next parliament, but we will not spend money we cannot afford. So for the first two years of the next parliament, we will cap the rise in child benefit at one per cent. It will save £400 million in the next Parliament. And all the savings will go towards reducing the deficit.
But unlike the Tories we will always ask those who have the most to make the biggest contribution.
That is why, with the deficit still high and working people already paying more, we opposed David Cameron cutting the 50p top rate of tax. Now cannot be the right time to give the richest 1 per cent of people in the country a £3 billion tax cut.
So as we get the deficit down in the next parliament, the next Labour government will reverse this Tory tax cut for millionaires.
Because Labour will balance the books in a fairer way.
In the next parliament, when we will continue to face tough spending constraints, I want to see pay settlements that are both affordable and fair.
Public and private sector workers should all share fairly in rising prosperity.
So Labour will not undermine fairness and the independent Pay Review Bodies by rejecting their advice out of hand.
Instead, we will work with the Pay Review Bodies, employers and employees, to ensure that pay settlements are affordable and fair, doing more for those on lower pay with tougher settlements at the top.
Conference, we will also scrap the shares for rights scheme, reverse the tax cut for hedge funds, crack down hard on tax avoidance and close tax loopholes.
And we will levy a tax on the highest value properties – a mansion tax on houses worth over £2 million.
But we will do it in a fair, sensible and proportionate way. Raising the limit each year in line with average rises in house prices. Putting in place protections for those who are asset rich but cash poor. And ensuring those with properties worth tens of millions of pounds make a significantly bigger contribution than those in houses just above the limit.
Because how can it be right that the billionaire overseas buyer this year of a £140 million penthouse in Westminster will pay just £26 a week in property tax — the same as the average-value property in that area?
Different choices for fairer deficit reduction and to safeguard our vital public services.
Labour’s plan to balance the books in a fairer way.
Labour’s economic plan will balance the books.
But an economic plan must do much more than that.
We also need to change the way our economy works.
Restoring the broken link between the wealth of the nation and family finances and delivering rising prosperity for all.
Across the developed world, rapid technological change is replacing traditional skilled jobs too – in banking and offices as well as on production lines.
The result is a ‘hollowing out’ of our labour market: medium-wage, skilled jobs on the slide. Low-wage, insecure employment on the rise.
Conference in this new world, we know we cannot succeed the Tory way through a race to the bottom – with British companies simply trying to compete on cost as people see their job security eroded and living standards decline.
We can only succeed and create the number of good jobs we need
through a race to the top.
So Labour’s economic plan will transform vocational education.
We will work with employers to introduce a gold standard technical qualification and radically expand apprenticeships.
And we will get young people back to work.
Rachel Reeves will introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee, a paid job for young people and the long-term unemployed, which people will have to take up or lose benefits.
Paid for by repeating the tax on bank bonuses.
Ending the scourge of long-term unemployment once and for all.
Making work pay
And because a modern economy depends not just on traditional infrastructure, but on the most important modern infrastructure of all childcare.
So we will increase the bank levy to expand free childcare for working parents to 25 hours a week to help Mums and Dads balance work and family life.
We will give tax breaks to firms that pay the living wage and end the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts.
And by the end of the next parliament, Labour will increase the national minimum wage to £8 an hour.
But what’s the Tory plan for the next Parliament? They want to spend £3 billion on a tax break for a minority of married couples.
People who are separated, widowed or divorced won’t get it.
Women who’ve fled and divorced an abusive partner won’t get it.
Read the small print and you see that two thirds of married couples won’t get it.
And 5 out of 6 families with children won’t get it either.
And the Tories call it their flagship policy for families.
So in our first Budget, we will scrap this unfair policy and instead use the money to introduce a lower 10p starting rate of income tax.
A tax cut for 24 million people on middle and low incomes. More working people benefiting. More women benefitting. More married couples. More families with children.
A fairer way to help hard working people in tough times.
And Conference, Labour’s economic plan means a modern industrial policy to back growth sectors like advanced manufacturing, clean technology and the creative industries.
Proper competition in banking and energy markets.
New takeover rules to support long-term investment, not short-term asset-stripping.
A proper British Investment Bank so businesses can get the finance they need.
Giving the Green Investment Bank the borrowing powers it needs to do its job.
And Chuka Umunna and I have asked Graham Cole, Chair of AgustaWestland UK to review what more we can do more to back British exports.
We will keep Britain’s corporation tax rates at the lowest in the G7, but instead of another corporation tax cut next year, our economic plan will use the money to cut business rates for small firms – because it’s time we had a fairer deal for small businesses across Britain.
And Conference, why should decisions on what skills Manchester needs be made in Whitehall?
Why should a Transport Minister in Westminster make decisions about all the transport needs of Birmingham, Newcastle or Leeds?
So our economic plan will devolve power and resources not only to Scotland and Wales but to city and county regions in every part of England.
Our new, independent National Infrastructure Commission will end dither and delay on big infrastructure decisions we need for the future.
And whatever the outcome of the Howard Davies review into airport capacity, we must resolve to finally make a decision on airport capacity in London and the South East – expanding capacity while taking into account the environmental impact. No more kicking into the long-grass, but taking the right decisions for Britain’s long-term future.
And Conference, our country badly needs more homes.
Demand is outstripping supply, risking a premature rise in interest rates. The housing benefit bill is rising.
So, following the Lyons report, and by making housing a priority within the existing capital settlement for the next parliament, Labour’s economic plan will get at least 200,000 new homes a year built by 2020.
Creating jobs, helping first-time buyers and building the homes Britain needs for the future.
And Conference, Labour’s economic plan is based on the clear conviction that Britain has always succeeded, and can only succeed in the future, as an open and internationalist and outward-facing trading nation.
We need reform in Europe.
Cutting wasteful subsidies.
Getting the Euro area growing again.
Reforming immigration rules.
Ending the waste of two European Parliaments.
So let us build the alliances to secure reforms and change Europe so it works better for Britain.
Conference, as we heard so powerfully from the Chief Executive of Airbus this morning, we’re not going to earn our way to higher living standards by walking away from our biggest single market.
Let us say loud and clear, walking away from Europe would be a disaster for British jobs and investment.
Conference, on Europe this party will always put the national interest first.
Conference, that is Labour’s economic plan.
That is the kind of government we should be – ambitious, reforming, doing what it takes to deliver an economy that works for working people, in every part of Britain.
And that’s the kind of Chancellor I want to be too.
People rightly want to know who we are, what drives us on, what makes us tick.
So let me say this.
I’d always rather taxes were lower, but my first tax cuts would be for millions of hard working people – not millionaires.
I hate wasteful spending, but I also hate the waste of talent of one in six young people out of work.
I’m pro-business, but not business as usual.
I’m pro-Europe, but I’d never join the Euro.
I love the NHS – and I will do whatever it takes to save it.
And above all else, I want to build a better and fairer country for my children and all of our children
Because as someone who has grown up with a stammer, I have worked all my political life to break down barriers so that all children can succeed, and to get extra help and support to those children who need it. Because I don’t want to live in a society where children are held back by their special need or disability, by their parents’ income or by the colour of their skin.
That’s why I’m Labour.
Conference, I am a realist and an optimist.
I don’t believe in ducking difficult choices, unpopular decisions, hard truths.
But I do believe in the power of politics and public service to make a difference.
That’s who I am.
That’s who we are.
That’s what our Labour Party is for.
And that is why I am proud to be a member of this party and to serve in Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet.
We have learned from our past and our mistakes.
We are tough enough to make the difficult decisions.
And – with Ed Miliband’s leadership – by the strength of our common endeavour – we can make the change Britain needs.
Conference, this is what our first Labour Budget will do:
A British Investment Bank set up.
Business rates cut.
Tax avoidance tackled.
The deficit down fairly.
Infrastructure decisions made, not delayed.
The minimum wage raised.
Energy bills frozen.
A jobs guarantee for young people.
Tax cuts for millions – not millionaires.
Bank bonuses taxed.
The bedroom tax scrapped.
Our NHS saved.
That’s what Labour’s first Budget will do.
Fixing the economy for everyone.
A plan for the many not the few.
People relying on us to deliver.
We will not let them down