Ed Miliband – 2013 Speech on Welfare Reform


Below is the text of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, on welfare reform. The speech was made in Newham, in London, on 6th June 2013.

It is great to be here in Newham.

Where a Labour Mayor and council are doing so many great things to help get local people back into work.

On Monday, Ed Balls gave a speech about how the next Labour government would control public spending.

The biggest item of expenditure alongside the NHS, is the social security budget.

The next Labour government will have less money to spend.

If we are going to turn our economy round, protect our NHS, and build a stronger country we will have to be laser focused on how we spend every single pound.

Social security spending, vital as it is, cannot be exempt from that discipline.

Now, some people argue that if we want to control social security we have to leave our values at the door.

But today I want to argue the opposite.

Controlling social security spending and putting decent values at the heart of the system are not conflicting priorities.

It is only by reforming social security with the right values that we’ll be able to control costs.

And the system does need reform.

And it is only by controlling costs that we can sustain a decent system for the next generation.

In every generation the world has changed and Britain’s welfare state has to change with it.

We’re no different.

Today we have women at work, not the male world of work that William Beveridge envisaged in the 1940s.

We have persistent worklessness, not the full-employment of the past.

So jobs for everyone who can work and help to make that happen, must be the starting point for social security reform: cutting the costs of worklessness.

Today, people often don’t get paid enough in work to make ends meet.

And the taxpayer is left picking up the bill for low pay.

We must change our economy, so that welfare is not a substitute for good employment and decent jobs.

Today the welfare state, through housing benefit, bears the cost for our failure to build enough homes.

We have to start investing in homes again, not paying for failure.

And, today, people’s faith in social security has been shaken when it appears that some people get something for nothing and other people get nothing for something – no reward for the years of contribution they make.

We have to tackle this too.

Overcoming worklessness, rewarding work and tackling low pay, investing in the future and recognising contribution: these are the Labour ways to reform our social security system.

And what I want to talk to you about today.

And it is very important I do, because there is an extra responsibility on those who believe in the role of social security to show real determination to reform it.

Real long-term reform not the short-term, failing approach of this government.

Which leaves hundreds of thousands of people in long-term idleness.

Hits the low-paid in work and pretends they are skivers.

Forces families into homelessness, driving up bills.

Never truly getting to grips with the root causes of social security spending.

So here is the choice:

Remake social security to make it work better for our country and pass on a fair and sustainable system to the next generation, with the Labour Party.


Take the Conservative way: taking support away from working families and those who need it most, always seeking to divide our country and not tackling the deep causes of rising costs.


Let me start with the importance of work.

As I have said before:

Labour – the party of work – the clue is in the name.

Our party was founded on the principles of work.

We have always been against the denial of opportunity that comes from not having work.

And against the denial of responsibility by those who could work and don’t do so.

This country needs to be a nation where people who can work, do.

Not a country where people who can work are on benefits.

That’s about values.

And it’s also about making social security sustainable for the future.

History teaches us this.

The growth rate of social security spending was higher under the Thatcher and Major governments of 1979 – 1997 than under the New Labour governments of 1997 – 2010.

How can this be?

Given the Conservative governments pared back benefits, year after year.

Whereas the Labour government took action, of which I am proud, to increase tax credits to help make work pay and to address pensioner poverty in a way no previous government had done since the War.

The reason is this:

Because among the biggest drivers of social security spending are the costs of unemployment.

That’s what happened under those Tory governments.

Unemployment went up.

Now we have heard so much from this government, and from Iain Duncan-Smith, about the importance of work.

So surely they’ve promoted it?

The answer is they haven’t.

After only three years, just like the Thatcher government, they have a dirty secret about social security.

Something they don’t want you to know.

Long-term worklessness is now at its highest level for a generation.

From this government, that preaches to us about work.

About people not being on benefits.

Today, there are more men and women – half a million – who have been out of work for over two years than at any time for sixteen years, in fact since the Labour government took office in May 1997.

This worklessness, this waste, under these Tories, is totally at odds with the values of the British people.

In 2012 youth unemployment alone cost Britain £5 billion.

And long periods of unemployment store up costs for the future.

This level of unemployment among young men and women means further costs of at least £3 billion per year in the long term in further worklessness and lost tax revenue.

Billions of pounds that could be put to far better use.

There’s nothing in Labour values that says that this is a good way to spend tax-payers’ money.

Britain just can’t afford millions of people out of work.

Now just as there is a minority who should be working and don’t want to, there is a majority who are desperate for work and can’t find it.

I think of the young man I met in Long Eaton recently, out of work for four years, desperate for a job.

The problem is this government’s Work Programme can leave people like him unemployed year after year after year.

We would put a limit on how long anyone who can work, can stay unemployed, without getting and taking a job.

For every young man and woman who has been out of work for more than a year, we would say to every business in the country, we will pay the wages for 25 hours a week, on at least the minimum wage.

Fully funded by a tax on bankers’ bonuses.

The business would provide the training of at least 10 hours a week.

And because it is a compulsory jobs guarantee, young people will have an obligation to take a job after a year or lose their benefits.

And we will do the same for everyone over 25 unemployed for more than two years.

And to those who say the work simply isn’t there, I say with a national mission, led from the top of government, we can get thousands of businesses, tens of thousands, in the country behind the idea.

Businesses and social enterprises that are desperate to give people a chance.

And while the jobs guarantee is national we will make it happen through local action.

The kind of local action I’ve seen here in Newham.

Devolving power and resources to local communities so there can be advice and support suitable for the individual who is looking for work and tailored to the particular needs of businesses in the area.

But we need to go further.

Parents need choices, particularly when their children are very young.

We know the difference stay-at-home mums and dads can make in the earliest period of a child’s life.

But we also know that the ethic of work is an important one to encourage in a household.

We do not want worklessness passed down from one generation to another.

The last Labour government made significant progress in getting parents in workless households back into work.

But the truth is there is still more we can do.

Too many children still live in families without work.

And under the current government too little is being done about this.

At the moment, if both partners in a couple are out of a job, or a lone parent is out of work, they risk completely losing touch with the world of work when their child is under 5.

But all of the evidence is that the longer anyone remains disconnected from the workplace, the more likely they are to stay unemployed for a long period.

Bad for them and bad for the country.

And there is something we can do.

Thanks to the last Labour government, we now have nursery education available for all 3 and 4 year olds, for 15 hours a week.

The very least we should offer and demand is that while their children are at nursery, both partners in a workless household, as well as single parents who aren’t working, should use some of the time to undertake some preparations to help them get ready to go back to work.

Attending regular interviews in the Job Centre, undertaking training, finding out what opportunities exist.

To be clear, under this policy there would be no requirement to go back to work until their youngest child is 5.

But there would be a pathway back into work for them.

We should also support disabled people.

Those who cannot work.

And those who want to work and need help finding it.

Successive governments did not do enough to deal with the rise in people on Incapacity Benefit.

It was a legacy of unemployment from the years Mrs Thatcher was in power.

But the last Labour government should have acted on it sooner.

Towards the end of our time in government, we did introduce tests for the Employment and Support Allowance.

That was the right thing to do.

And we continue to support tests today.

But when over 40% of people win their appeals, it tells you the system isn’t working as it should.

And too often people’s experience of the tests is degrading.

So this test needs to change.

It needs reform so that it can really distinguish between different situations.

Disabled people who cannot work.

Disabled people who need help to get into work.

And people who can work without support.

The test should also be properly focused on helping to identify the real skills of each disabled person and the opportunities they could take up.

I meet so many disabled people desperate to work but who say that the demand that they work is not accompanied by the support they need.

So these tests should be connected to a Work Programme that itself is tested on its ability to get disabled people jobs that work for them.

So the first piece of a One Nation social security system that controls costs begins with the responsibility to work and the responsibility of government to help make it possible.

Rewarding Work

But it is not just about work.

It is also about the kind of work that can properly support people and their families.

Today in Britain almost three million men and women and almost one and half million children live in families that are going to work and are still not able to escape poverty.

People doing the right thing, trying to support themselves and their children.

The last Labour government took action on this, and was right to provide tax credits for those in work.

But we didn’t do enough to tackle Britain’s low wage economy, a low wage economy that just leaves the taxpayer facing greater and greater costs subsidising employers.

To tackle the problem of poverty at work and to control costs we need to create an economy that genuinely works for working people.

I want to teach my kids that it is wrong to be idle on benefits, when you can work.

But I also want to teach them that the people in this country who work 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week, do two or even three jobs, should be able to bring up their families without fear of where the next pound is coming from.

That’s as much an issue as the responsibility to work.

Of course, this government has nothing to say about this.

Worse than that, they are taking our country in the wrong direction.

Their failure on the economy means that real wages have fallen £1,900 since this government came to office.

We know that this government will never stand up for low and middle-income working people.

But our approach for the future needs to make good on what the last Labour government did not achieve.

As William Beveridge envisaged seventy years ago when he founded the social security system we need to understand that there are three sets of people with responsibilities:



And the private sector, including employers.

That’s what One Nation is all about.

Responsibility being borne by all.

For too many people in Britain the workplace is nasty, brutish and unfair.

The exploitation of zero hours contracts to keep people insecure.

Using agency workers to unfairly avoid giving people the pay and conditions offered to permanent staff.

Recruitment agencies hiring just from overseas.

And some employers not paying the minimum wage.

These issues too are about our responsibilities to each other.

About the failure of government to set the right rules and the failure of a minority of employers.

Be in no doubt: all of this is on the agenda of the next Labour government.

So, for example, we will change the law to stop employment agencies using loopholes to undermine the pay of what are effectively full-time employees.

And we will do everything in our power to promote the living wage.

If local councils can say if you want a contract with the council then you need to pay the living wage, then central government should look at doing that too.

And for every pound that employers pay above the minimum wage towards a living wage, government would save 50 pence in lower tax credits and benefits and higher revenues.

We should look at offering some of these savings back to those employers to persuade them to do the right thing and pay the living wage.

It will be tougher to tackle big issues facing our society like child poverty in the next Parliament.

But I still think we can make progress if everyone pulls their weight.

And it starts with tackling child poverty among families in work, as part of a long-term goal that no-one should have to work for their poverty.

So the second plank of our approach is about an economy that works for working people so that we can both keep social security costs under control and work towards a fairer society.

Investing for the Future

The third plank of our approach is wherever possible we should be investing for the future, not paying for the costs of failure.

It is why it is far better to be investing in putting people back to work than paying for them to be idle.

It is why it is so important to invest in childcare so we support families as they struggle to balance work and the needs of family life.

And the same is true when it comes to one of the biggest drivers of the growth of social security spending in recent decades: housing benefit.

We can’t afford to pay billions on ever-rising rents, when we should be building homes to bring down the bill.

Thirty years ago for every £100 we spent on housing, £80 was invested in bricks and mortar and £20 was spent on housing benefit.

Today, for every £100 we spend on housing, just £5 is invested in bricks and mortar and £95 goes on housing benefit.

There’s nothing to be celebrated in that.

And as a consequence we are left with a housing benefit bill that goes up higher and higher.

For the simple reason, that we have built too few homes in this country and therefore we see higher and higher prices, particularly in the private sector.

Now, this government talks a lot about getting housing benefit under control.

But let me be clear: any attempt to control housing benefit costs which fails to build more homes is destined to fail.

For all the cuts this government has made to housing benefit, it is still rising and it is forecast to carry on rising too.

Of course, there is an issue of values here too.

In 2011, there were 10 cases where £100,000 a year was spent on housing benefit for individual families.

That’s 10 too many.

And it is one of the reasons why Labour has said we would support a cap on overall benefits.

As Ed Balls said on Monday, an independent body should advise government on how best to design this cap to avoid it pushing people into homelssness and costing more.

But the real, long-term solution is clear: we have to do what hasn’t been done for three decades and to move from benefits to building.

Currently Britain is building fewer new homes than at any time since the 1920s.

Ed Balls talked on Monday about how we invest for the future of our country.

Clearly, the building of homes is high on that list.

This will be a priority of the next Labour government.

But just like tackling worklessness, we can’t do it from central government alone.

We will need every local authority in Britain to be part of this effort.

At the moment, we expect individual families to negotiate with their landlords.

In these circumstances, it is almost inevitable that tenants end up paying over the odds.

And so does the taxpayer, in the housing benefit bill.

It’s time to tackle this problem at source.

So a Labour government would seek a radical devolution to local authorities.

And Labour councils in Lewisham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham have all come to us and said that if they had power to negotiate on behalf of tenants on housing benefit, they could get far greater savings than the individual on their own.

So a Labour government would give councils this power.

Bringing the cost of housing benefit down.

And what is more, we would let them keep some of the savings they make on the condition that they invested that money in helping build new homes.

This is the way we can start to bring about the shift from benefits to building.

Bringing the housing benefit bill down for the long-term too.

And it is a One Nation solution: enforcing the responsibilities of government and private landlords.

So the third plank of a One Nation social security system is to invest in the future, not to pay for failure.

Recognising Contribution

The fourth and final plank is around recognising contribution.

We do that by recognising the importance of supporting families, through maternity and paternity leave and pay, child benefit and child tax credit.

We do that by providing support to people with disabilities, both those who cannot work and also to those who can work, but whose extra needs it is right to recognise.

Of course, it is right to make sure that we have the right tests in this area too.

Which is why we support tests for Personal Independence Payments, but again they must be done in the right way.

We also recognise contribution by supporting elderly women and men who have contributed to our country throughout their lives.

On pensions, we know we have a rising elderly population and a rising budget.

The way to make this sustainable is to ensure that we increase the number of people in the working population supporting our elderly.

And therefore to show a willingness to adjust the retirement age.

Of course, there needs to be proper notice, but as people live longer, the age at which people retire will have to increase.

All of Britain’s elderly men and women deserve dignity in retirement, after a lifetime of contribution to our country.

That’s why there will always be a place for universal support at the heart of our welfare system.

Like an NHS for all.

A proper basic state pension for all those who’ve paid in.

But whether it is relation to pensioners or children there is always a balance that has to be struck between universal, contributory and means-tested benefits.

With so many difficult choices facing the next Labour government, we have to be realistic about what we can afford.

So it doesn’t make sense to continue sending a cheque every year for Winter Fuel Allowance to the richest pensioners in the country.

Equally, when it comes to the decisions of the next Labour government it won’t be our biggest priority to overturn the decisions this government has made on taking child benefit away from families earning over £50,000 a year.

But in one important respect our social security system fails to recognise contribution: the service of those currently of working age.

Last week, I met somebody who had worked all his life, for 40 years, in the scaffolding business.

What does the social security system offer him if he falls out of work?

It’s the same as someone who has been working for just a couple of years.

That can’t be right.

I can’t promise to turn the clock back to Beveridge and nor do I want to.

Our society isn’t the same as it was back then, with most men at work and women at home.

But the idea that people should get something back for all they’ve put in is a value deeply felt by the British people.

So I believe we should look at the support that is offered to those who fall out of work and the contribution on which it is based.

Currently, after two years of work, someone is entitled to “Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance” without a means test for six months.

They get £72 per week.

Whether they’ve worked for two years or forty years.

Two years of work is a short period to gain entitlement to extra help.

And £72 is in no sense a proper recognition of how much somebody who has worked for many decades has paid into the system.

As so many people have told me: “I have worked all my life, I have never had a day on benefits, and no real help is there when I needed it.”

So I have asked our Policy Review to look at whether, without spending extra money, we can change the system.

Asking people to work longer – say 5 years instead of 2 – before they qualify for extra support.

But at the same time making that extra support more generous to better reward contribution.

This is particularly important for older workers who find it harder to get back into work at a level similar to their previous occupation.

And we will look at accompanying this with extra help back into work for older workers who lose their jobs.

And as we look to reform this contributory part of our welfare system, we should also examine ways to take account of some of the other kinds of contribution people make, like mums looking after very young children and children looking after their elderly parents.

Because we want to send a signal about the real importance that the next Labour government attaches to recognising contribution.

Planning the Budget

So the four building blocks of a One Nation social security system are: work, rewarding work, investing for the future not paying for failure, and recognising contribution.

A system that is sustainable.

And one which reflects the values of the British people.

But I believe we need to do more in these tough times in how we plan social security spending.

In Labour’s last period in office we introduced the three-year spending review.

Enabling Departments, like any business, to properly plan three years ahead.

Throughout previous generations, there had been an annual spending round, rows between ministers, arguments between Departments, leaks to the newspapers.

A bit like now really under this government.

It makes much more sense to plan ahead.

I believe we should extend this approach from Departmental spending to social security spending.

So that planning social security over three years should become a central part of each spending review.

And I also believe that a cap on social security spending should be part of that planning process.

Because what governments should be doing is looking three years ahead and setting a clear limit within which social security would have to operate.

Now, clearly there are detailed issues that need to be worked on to make any cap sensible.

The government has also talked about a cap on social security.

And we will look at their proposals.

In particular, they are right we need to be able to separate the short-term costs of social security – those that come from immediate downturns in the economy – from the big, long-term causes of rising spending that should be within a cap, like housing costs and structural unemployment.

And we need also to consider how to cope year to year with higher than expected inflation and how to treat the impact of an ageing population.

The starting point for the next Labour government will be that in 2015 – 2016 we would inherit plans for social security spending from this government.

Any changes from those plans will need to be fully funded.

For example, if we were in government today we would be reversing the millionaire’s tax cut to help make work pay through tax credits.

Today I am delivering a clear statement about One Nation Labour’s principles for social security spending:

The next Labour government will use a 3-year cap on structural welfare spending to help control costs.

Such a cap will alert the next Labour government to problems coming down the track.

And ensure that we make policy to keep the social security budget in limits.

Introducing greater discipline, as ministers from across Departments will be led to control the big drivers of spending.


So here is the choice that people will face at the general election.

I have set out how we can control the social security budget.

Not in anecdote or as part of a political game or as a way of dividing the country.

But as a way to reform the system so that it meets the values of the British people.

I have set out the values that would drive a One Nation social security system in government.

But there is another choice on offer from David Cameron.

I will tell you that there is a minority who don’t work but should.

He will tell you anyone looking for work is a skiver.

I will tell you that we need to protect the dignity of work and make work pay.

He will hit the low-paid in work.

I will tell you that we do need to get the housing benefit bill down with a cap that works, but crucially by investing in homes and tackling private landlords.

He will make the problem worse by making people homeless and driving up the bill.

I will tell you that we always need to value contribution in the system

He will hit people who work hard and do the right thing.

We will tackle the deep, long-term causes of social security spending and tackle the costs of failure like housing benefit, worklessness and the problem of low pay.

They will not.

We must pass on to our children a social security system that is sustainable.

And a system that works and is supported.

We can use the talents of everyone.

Demand responsibility.

And seek to move forward as a united country.

Or we can have politicians who seek to use every opportunity to divide this country and set one group of people against another.

I believe this country is always at its best when it is united.

One Nation.

Everyone playing their part.

That is the social security system I want to build.

That’s the future I want to build for Britain.

Ed Miliband – 2013 Speech to Progress Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, at the Progress Conference on 11th May 2013.

Thank you for that kind reception.

But it is great to be here at Progress.

For nearly 20 years Progress has been an important forum for debate in our party, and it will to continue to provide that in the future.

That’s why I am proud to be here today.

We meet – as we always seem to – in the aftermath of the local elections.

And I want to start by congratulating all of you here who worked so hard for our Party.

Let’s take this opportunity to applaud the 291 newly-elected Labour councillors.

And let’s applaud the great success we had in the crucial battlegrounds of the next general election, places from Carlisle to Harlow to Hastings.

And if you will allow me, let’s applaud a One Nation Labour success: a new councillor in Witney Central, Laura Price, pushing David Cameron’s own Tories into third place.

This is a party moving forwards.

But what else did we learn from last week’s elections?

That the people of Britain have lost any confidence in this government’s ability to turn this country round.

But also that our Party has more to do to reach out to the people we need to win back.

That is clear from the results.

Being a one term opposition is about defying the historical odds.

But today I stand here convinced that not only can we win the general election.

If we do the right things and we have the right programme, the right policies, the right organisation – this general election is there to be won.

And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

To win we have to be clear about the ideas that will drive us to victory.

We will not win the election by saying that we were a good government and we just need to carry on where we left off.

Because the truth is that things have dramatically changed in the years since Progress was founded in the run up to our victory in 1997.

Progress helped make possible New Labour’s successes: rebuilding our schools and hospitals; lifting families out of poverty; creating Sure Start to give support to millions of young families; introducing the minimum wage.

I am proud of those achievements.

We should always be proud of those achievements.

But almost two decades on, many of the truths that underpinned that project – truths that appeared to be so self-evident back then – have been undermined.

That is what I heard as I went round the country during these local elections.

From Maidstone to Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

In our economy, our society and our politics the old certainties have broken down.

There was an old way of running the economy that saw financial services as the bedrock of our prosperity.

That what was good for the City of London would automatically be good for Britain too, just as long as government was there to redistribute the tax revenues.

It is no longer true.

In the way we live together in communities, there was an old certainty that globalisation and economic change would open up aspiration and benefit all.

For example, that ever-increasing diversity would automatically benefit the whole country and that should shape our view of immigration.

It no longer holds true.

And in our politics, there was an old certainty that we were in a world of predictable party politics, where the pendulum and the voters would always swing between Labour and Conservatives.

None of these certainties any longer hold.

And that changes what our party needs to do.

The first of those old certainties was shot to its core by the financial crash in 2008.

But it had been crumbling before then.

The reason I take a different view of our economy from the past is simple: it is clear now this economy is not working for most working people.

And the answer can’t be to go back to the world before the crash.

In our society, change has brought anxiety, winners and losers, and often people have felt left alone and isolated in the face of change.

It is not prejudice but real issues that have driven concerns about immigration.

About the pace of change.

With worries about jobs and livelihoods.

And about the integration of our communities.

If we go out and talk to people, we all hear it on the doorstep.

And in our politics, more and more people are turning away from the major parties.

More people who don’t vote.

And more people eligible to vote who have never voted at all.

That’s why I say our biggest opponent at the next election is not the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats or UKIP, but the idea that nobody can make a difference.

These are uncomfortable truths for our Party.

But we ignore them at our peril.

Now, in the face of so many deep and profound challenges in our country, it is no wonder that the people of Britain are worried about our future.

Let me tell you, on the way back from Doncaster last Friday, having celebrated our Party’s victory over an Independent mayor, a construction worker in his forties came up to me on the train.

He said he had just one thing to say: that the country had no future.

No future for him.

No future for his friends.

No future for his son.

And that’s what he needed me to know.

It shows the gravity of people’s concern about what is happening.

He, and millions of people like him, just don’t believe we have an economy that works for them.

A society that they feel part of.

Or a politics that can answer these challenges.

Now, can the Government turn this around?

I think we can be pretty clear that the answer is no.

In this week of the Queen’s Speech, exactly three years after they stood together in the Downing Street Rose Garden, what do David Cameron and Nick Clegg really offer for our country?

Their economic plan has failed and they have run out of ideas – and the Queen’s Speech shows it.

They stand up for the wrong people – from the millionaires’ tax cut, to their U-turns on cigarette packaging and lobbying.

And they are hopelessly divided and cannot offer the leadership our country needs – and Europe shows that more than anything else.

What an extraordinary spectacle of a government that says it is relaxed about its own MPs voting against their own Queen’s Speech.

I know David Cameron is a man who likes to be known for a bit of relaxing, even chillaxing, but on this occasion, it beggars belief.

He’s not lying on the sofa, relaxed.

He’s hiding behind the sofa, too scared to confront his party and provide the leadership the country needs.

He’s weak and panicked and flailing around.

Because on this, as on so many issues, he has no answers to the challenges facing Britain in the future.

And why is he in this position?

Because he is being pushed around by his own backbenchers.

That’s the only reason he changed his mind in January on an in/out referendum.

It wasn’t about the national interest, it was simply about his party interest.

And it hasn’t even worked.

Because those backbenchers will keep coming back for more.

David Cameron may try to out Farage-Farage on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

But in all of our decisions we make, we will always stand up for the national interest.

And our national interest lies in staying in the EU.

And working for the changes that will make it work better for Britain.

It is wrong now to commit to an in/out referendum and have four years of uncertainty and a ‘closed for business’ sign above our country.

Of course people are frustrated about the EU, but in town centres across the country I heard loud and clear where people see the national interest, what people are most worried about: jobs, living standards, the fate of their small businesses.

One Nation Labour will not put them at risk.

It is One Nation Labour that will fight for our national interest.

Of course, we live in anxious times.

And it is understandable that people are looking for different answers.

But UKIP doesn’t have them.

It is a party of protest, not solutions.

And the Tories are fast turning from a party of government to a party of protest too —protest against each other.

Labour will succeed as a party of solutions addressing the challenges of 2015.

In the 1990s, Labour adapted to change.

So too today.

The policies for today will not be the same as those we put forward back then, or in 2005, or in 2010.

We are not going back.

Nor are we looking for false promises or easy answers.

We will have to pay the deficit down.

We cannot promise to reverse every cut.

And we will not just sit back and wait for the political pendulum to swing.

We will win by offering Britain a new direction: to rebuild together as a country, not fall apart.

That is what One Nation Labour is all about.

That’s why One Nation Labour is the modernising force in the Labour Party and in the country today.

It means a new economic plan.

A plan to turn Britain around.

When there is less money around.

This is the challenge the British people have set us.

I think of the young man in Long Eaton I met desperate for work, who couldn’t find work, and who hasn’t be able to for four years.

I think of the single parent I met in Lincoln.

She was working as an ambulance controller, desperate not to be stigmatised, struggling to make ends meet.

She wanted a government that understood.

I think of the market trader I met in Bristol desperate, as he told me, just for some hope.

What unites every person I met during the local election campaign is the sense that we are facing an economic crisis without end.

We will win the next general election by showing people that we have credible, real answers to that crisis.

And that is the mission we are on as a Party.

One Nation is not just the country we would like to be.

It is the only way we can succeed as an economy in the future.

It is based on this idea: wealth creation does not come simply from a few at the top.

All the lessons of our history, from the industrial revolution to the post-war reconstruction, are that we need a recovery made by the many.

The people who do the hours.

Who put in the shifts.

The people who are out at work before George Osborne’s curtains are open.

And come back after those curtains have already closed for the night.

And we are setting out how we do that.

Different from this government.

And different from the last Labour government too.

Training and apprenticeships for the forgotten 50 per cent of our young people, not just qualifications for those who go to university.

A banking system that serves the real economy, in particular small business, not businesses serving our banks.

An industrial policy based on long-term, durable wealth creation and innovation, not on the short-term, fast-buck.

Homes, schools, transport that we invest in, as the best route to growth, to create jobs and to enable people to play their part.

And understanding that we cannot have a recovery made by the many when living standards are falling year on year on year.

That might not keep the people in Downing Street awake at night.

But we know it is what keeps the people of this country awake at night.

That’s why we’d make different decisions on the tax system from this government and from our own past, like wanting a mansion tax to fund a 10p starting rate of tax.

And all this must be underpinned by credibility that we understand the next Labour government will not have money to spend like the last.

In our society, we are not dazzled by change.

But nor do we seek to re-create the past.

Take immigration.

It was controversial when I started giving speeches on immigration a year ago.

Immediately, people asked: is this a dog-whistle to prejudice?

Let me tell you: this Party must never make the mistake that any issue is a no-go area.

If the British people are talking about it, we must be talking about it too.

And we’ll always do it in a Labour way.

On immigration, I bow to no-one in my commitment to a diverse, multi-ethnic Britain.

It is one of things that makes our country great and more prosperous.

But immigration doesn’t just work for everyone automatically.

And we got it wrong in government.

Not just the policy.

But our failure to listen.

The pace of change does matter.

Integration – including learning English – is important.

And it’s about our economy too.

We should stop employers paying less than the minimum wage.

Crack down on recruitment agencies that only take people from overseas.

And say no to slum landlords who cram people into houses, leaving neighbours and communities with burdens simply too big to bear.

An agenda only we can champion.

Because we’re the party that believes in high standards for working people and not a race to the bottom in wages and conditions.

And just as we need rights and responsibilities when it comes to immigration, so too in social security.

Which is the only party in politics today that is actually going to tackle the chronic problem of 70,000 young people languishing on the dole for more than a year and 160,000 older people out of work for more than two years?

Only the Labour Party.

I think of the young people I met, like that young man in Long Eaton, desperately looking for work.

And the older person in Blackpool, who was so turned off politics because he thought no-one could help get him a job.

Only the Labour Party – with a compulsory jobs guarantee has anything to say to them.

For all their rhetoric about welfare reform, for all the cuts they’ve made, this government will be spending more on social security at the end of this Parliament than at the beginning.

Not because they’re generous.

But because they haven’t taken the action on the economy and they haven’t created the jobs we need to keep the social security bill down.

Rights and responsibilities are at the core of what we believe for our society.

Because One Nation is about everybody having opportunity and having a responsibility to play their part.

And that should go all the way to the top of society too.

From taxing the bankers’ bonuses for youth jobs to ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax through the stamping out tax avoidance for individuals and the big corporations too.

Now, there is no greater challenge to the old certainties than when it comes to our politics.

Here, the only way forward for us is to understand why people have turned away from politics and seek to change it.

Power in Britain is far too centralised.

Local people don’t feel they have a say in the decisions that shape their lives.

That is why, as part of our Policy Review, we are absolutely committed to devolving power down.

Because the only way we can restore faith in politics is from the ground up.

And if you want to see what difference that can make, look at the fantastic 29 Labour councils committed to paying a living wage.

We need to devolve power not just in the country but in our party as well.

You know, the best campaigns I saw across Britain were the ones based on an open manifesto process, talking to people about their lives and about what they wanted to see, as we did in Lancashire.

Our pledges in that election were made by the many.

Based on 150,000 conversations on doorstep across all of Lancashire.

And, finally, the lesson for politicians is always we need to open up our politics.

In this campaign, as you know, I went to town centres across the country and stood on a pallet.

Reinventing the old-fashioned town meeting.

The way politics used to be done.

Not seeking the easy questions but answering the hard ones.

In a small way, it is a symbol of the need for us to open up our politics.

And it is a lesson for our party.

That we need to reach out to people.

Including people who are completely turned off politics.

In every area, the only way forward is use the talents of every person in the country.

A recovery made by the many.

A society in which everyone plays their part and accepts their responsibilities, all the way to the top.

And a politics to match.

But there’s one other thing that will win us the next general election.

And it’s not about policy.

It is what I used to say on that pallet in every town centre I went to.

We don’t just offer a different style of management.

We offer a different vision of the country.

Think about UKIP and what it is offering.

It is seeking to offer a patriotic story about Britain.

But it is not my patriotic story.

And it is not yours either.

Because it is insular.

Backward looking.

And it won’t meet the challenges of our age.

Just look what they say about rights for women and maternity leave.

They say employers shouldn’t hire women who want to have a child.

They are campaigning to scrap maternity pay.

And are against parental leave for working families.

We don’t like their story about our country.

And we have a much better one ourselves.

A sense of mission for the country.


Not exclusive.

Outward looking.

Not inward looking.

Optimistic about our future.

Not simply hankering back to the past.

There will be some people who say that a UKIP strategy or a Lynton Crosby strategy may just work.

Set one group of people against another.

Those in work against those out of work.

Those in the public sector against the private sector.

North against South.

I say it’s our job to show a different way forward.

Because we believe it.

And it is the only way our country can succeed.

One Nation is not just a slogan.

It is not a Labour idea or a Conservative idea.

It is a British idea.

A country that acknowledges the difficulties, accepts the anxieties, knows that times are going to be hard, but that is confident that change can come.

A country that knows that we work best when we work together.

That knows that we won the War and rebuilt after the War because of that vision.

A country where everybody is given the chance to play their part.

And everybody is expected to do so.

That’s what One Nation Labour stands for.

That’s the future I offer our country.

That’s the Britain we will rebuild together.

Ed Miliband – 2013 Speech to Scottish Labour Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, to the 2013 Scottish Labour Party conference, held on 19th April 2013.

Thank you so much for that incredibly kind reception.

It is great to be with you here in Inverness today.

I want to start by thanking the work you do for Scotland, our party and Britain.

Since we last met you’ve had those fantastic local election results in Glasgow, Aberdeen, South Lanarkshire.

Let’s applaud everyone who was part of that.

And let’s applaud Johann Lamont for the excellent work she is doing as the first leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Anas Sarwar her deputy.

And Margaret Curran, our great Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.

And let us also pay a special thank you to Alistair Darling for leading the Better Together campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.

Friends, this is a party on its way back.

And I want to talk to you today about two very important moments of decision.

The referendum.

And the general election.

Big choices that Scotland has to make.

The last ten days have been dominated by memories of Lady Thatcher and the 1980s.

I know how much pain the Conservative governments of that time caused to communities in Scotland and across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Areas that felt angry and abandoned.

Social division.

And the injustices of the poll tax.

And the reason the Tories were able to do this because they won election after election.

If we learn one thing from this history, it is that we must never allow a Tory government in Westminster to do what was done over eighteen years after 1979.

It was a Labour government that stopped them in 1997.

And I have news for the SNP:

By making David Cameron’s government a one-term government, it will be Labour that does it again in 2015.

And let me talk to you today about the scale of challenge that we face.

You know the similarities between what is happening under this Tory-led government in Scotland now and what happened under the Tory governments in the 1980s.

But the parallels don’t end there.

What ushered in that Tory government, was the failure of the old order in 1970s.

So too today.

Five years on from the financial crisis of 2008.

Our banks still failing, our living standards still falling, the people of Britain, of Scotland, paying the price.

The old order breaking down again.

And just like back then, it is because the old way of running our economy just doesn’t work any more.

This time:


The dominance of finance over industry.

Allowing unaccountable vested interests in the private sector to have free rein.

Government just getting out the way.

The old in-it-for-yourself, laissez faire, deregulated economy just isn’t working for working people.

So when David Cameron says “we’re all Thatcherites now”, I have news for him: we’re not.

And when Alex Salmond says Scotland “didn’t mind” Margaret Thatcher’s economics, I have news for him, you did.

And you do.

The reality is this, only Labour can build a new settlement.

The answer lies not in going back.

Not in taking the Gleneagles hotel back into public ownership.

Going back to penal tax rates of the 1970s.

We need the benefits of a dynamic market economy.

But we do need a new settlement, appropriate for new times.

And here’s the difference with us and our opponents.

We know countries succeed by uniting and not disagreeing.

Despite my deep disagreements with what Lady Thatcher did, I showed respect, because you can’t preach the principle of One Nation, and then fail to uphold it in practice.

That is who I am.

I want to be a Prime Minister of the whole country.

Britain will succeed when everyone feels part of Britain and can contribute to our country.

That’s what One Nation Labour is all about.

One Nation Labour a party of the south as well as north, the private sector and the public sector, the person who owns the small business as much as the person who works for it.

A party of every part of the whole country.

We know that Britain’s best days lie ahead if we unite our country and not divide it.

That’s how we will succeed as an economy and a society.

The Need for a New Beginning

Some people used to believe, three years ago, David Cameron could change our economy for the better.

The slowest recovery for 100 years.

Wages falling.

Prices rising.

Unemployment increasing.

Borrowing going up, despite all the cuts, all the tax rises, because of their economic failure.

Their plan has completely and utterly failed the people of Scotland and the people of the United Kingdom.

How do they offer to turn our economy around?

The same old answers.

Tax cuts for millionaires.

They don’t want you to know the truth.

They are giving 13,000 millionaires an average £100,000 tax cut each this year and every year.

Same old Tories.

The same old way of doing things that says wealth trickles down from those at the top to everyone else.

That just doesn’t work.

And what else do they propose?

Fewer rights at work for everyone else.

Parliament recently debated the government’s plans to swap shares for your employment rights.

It was described as a “positively dreadful” idea and an “ill thought through attack on employment rights”.

Who do you think used the words?

It wasn’t Len McCluskey.

Not Margaret Curran.

Not even Vince Cable.

But Michael Forsyth.

These Tories are too right wing even for Michael Forsyth.

Now even the Tories don’t trust the Tories on employment rights.

We could have told them that a long time ago.

And from the people who brought you what they called the community charge, or what we know as the poll tax, comes a new idea.

Because he’s a PR guy, David Cameron calls it the “spare room subsidy”.

But let’s call it what it is: it is the iniquitous bedroom tax.

The bedroom tax forcing people out of their homes.

Driving up costs as they force people into the private sector.

What kind of government thinks that is the way to turn our economy around?

Let me tell you:

A heartless government.

And a hopeless one too.

This Tory-led government.

And all the time, what do they do?

They just seek to divide not unite our country.

Trying to pretend we have a good government being let down by bad people when the reality is that this is a country of good people being let down by an appalling, hopeless government.

There is a different way.

One Nation Labour: Vision

It’s not going to be easy.

But there is a different future.

It’s not just a question of waiting for a little bit of growth.

It’s not about the old problems of the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s, but the problems of today.

Like the living standards crisis that blights so many people’s lives.

The reality that you know in your own communities that this economy dosen’t work only for a few at the top.

How we pay our way in a world with new trading powers, like China, India and Brazil.

We have a huge challenge to rise to.

And we will have to solve these in more difficult times too when there is less money around.

That’s why we need to rebuild our economy from its foundations.

We do that with a simple idea, idea that expresses who we are as a party: that we need a recovery made by the many and not just a few at the top.

When you back the people who do the hours, put in the shifts.

Who get up in the morning before George Osborne’s curtains are open.

And get back after they have closed for the night.

So we must challenge what has been happening in our banks for decades, so that we have banks that serve our businesses not businesses serving our banks.

Let’s establish regional banks to serve small businesses in every part of Britain.

That backs those communities.

Getting back to those old principles.

Principles we should be proud of.

And principles we should restore in our banking system.

We must challenge the decades-long culture of short-termism that’s held back British firms.

Let’s abolish quarterly reporting rules and, we should do something, let’s change the takeover rules for companies to stop the hedge funds and the speculators swooping in for a quick profit.

We must challenge the decades-long problems in our vocational education system in all parts of the United Kingdom, working with a Scottish Labour government led by Johann Lamont.

We know there is a huge challenge.

Let’s reject the culture that says university is always best and vocational education second best.

And let’s have proper high quality, real apprenticeships for our young people to aspire to in this country.

And we must challenge the decades-long problem of not building enough homes in this country that has put the dream of home ownership and fair rents further and further out of reach.

That’s why we would have used the money from the 4G auction to start building homes again and put construction workers back to work.

That is what the government should be doing.

And building a recovery made by the many needs every person who can to play their part.

You know what’s really interesting for all this government’s rhetoric about welfare reform, and despite all their cuts, the costs of economic failure goes up and up under this government.

There is only party in British politics that will actually tackle the scourge of long-term unemployment.

It is the Labour Party.

With a compulsory jobs guarantee for the 7,000 Scottish young people unemployed for more than a year and the 15,000 over 25s unemployed for more than two years.

Real jobs, with real rights to work, with a real responsibility to do so.

Friends, let me say this, you know there is a minority in our communities who can work and should be doing so.

But you also know there is a majority desperate for work.

And, let me be clear, what I am never going to as leader of the Labour Party will never seek to divide our country and say to young person in Inverness or the older worker laid off in Ipswich desperately looking for work, that they are scroungers, skivers or somehow cheating the system.

We know we will succeed by uniting our country, not dividing it.

And we won’t have a recovery made by the many if family budgets are just squeezed year on year on year.

That’s why if we were in government now we would cancel the millionaires’ tax cut, and protect the tax credits that make work pay.

That’s why we want to introduce a 10p starting rate for income tax.

And we’d be taking on the energy company rip-offs and breaking the stranglehold of the big energy companies.

That’s how we begin to win the people’s trust once again.

That’s how we will start to build a different economic future for Britain.

Independence is Not the Answer

And so what about Alex Salmond?

While we present a plan for our economic future, Alex Salmond spends his time trying to draw a line through the country.

It’s the same divisive politics that we’ve seen from the Tories, just a different form of division.

The Tories divide between those in work and those out of work, those in the private sector and those in the public sector, those in the trade unions and those outside them.

Alex Salmond wants to divide between the people of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

It’s wrong.

He has no focus on the issues that really shape people’s lives.

What has he said about Lady Thatcher’s legacy?

Not just that Scotland didn’t mind her economics.

He said thanks to Lady Thatcher we got a Scottish Parliament.

Well I’ve got a message for him.

Margaret Thatcher didn’t deliver a Scottish Parliament.

The Labour Party and the people of Scotland did.

And he doesn’t understand the need for a new settlement, despite all his rhetoric, he defends the old order.

His is a narrow nationalism that thinks the way Scotland prospers is in a race to the bottom across the UK in corporation tax while doing nothing for working people.

His is a narrow nationalism that says if it is in the interest of the SNP then it is OK to do cosy deals with Rupert Murdoch.

His is a narrow nationalism that prays for Tory success so that he can convince people that the only way to get rid of the Tories is to get out of the UK.

He claims he opposes the Tories but he wants them to succeed.

We are going to stop them in their tracks.

Have you ever heard such a selfish, self-serving, narrow-minded, blinkered, in it for yourself, divide and rule piece of nonsense?

We know we need to celebrate our shared history.

Build our shared future.

And elect a Labour government.


Our country has been here before.

Huge challenges our country faces.

Dark and difficult times.

But every time we have come through the storm, it is because we have come together, joined together, worked together: the people of Scotland, the people of Britain.

So here is my message to you.

Let us do that again.

We offer something our opponents cannot.

The power of a people coming together.

Let the Tories try to divide our society.

Let the SNP try to divide our country.

We are a one One Nation party.

We are the unifiers.

We are the ones who can turn Scotland round.

And with your help, we are the ones who can turn Britain too.

Ed Miliband – 2013 Speech to the People’s Policy Forum


Below is the text of the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, to the People’s Policy Forum in Birmingham on 23rd March 2013.

I am delighted to be here today.

This is a very special event.

What today is about is doing politics in a different way.

And doesn’t politics need it?

Because I think we have to do politics in a different way.

You can watch politicians trading blows in the House of Commons each week.

Sometimes I enjoy it and sometimes I don’t.

But it’s not necessarily very enlightening.

We’ve got to take politics back to where it belongs: to you.

So that’s why we’ve said: you set the agenda.

You can ask anything you want.

And we will have a conversation.

But first let me say a few things about where the country is and where the country needs to go.

Since I became Labour leader, I have tried to understand what we got wrong on issues like banking regulation, immigration and Iraq, I have sought to understand why people left Labour.

But as I go around Britain I also sense an increasing disappointment and disillusionment with this Government.

They don’t believe David Cameron can turn Britain around.

But let me be clear with you.

I know that however discredited, divided and damaging this Government becomes, it doesn’t necessarily translate into support for us.

We have to earn your trust.

Indeed, many people will believe that the failure of this Government means they should give up on politics altogether.

That nobody can turn round the problems of the country and nobody deserves their vote. That is a terrible thing for our democracy.

I understand that some people think the problems are so great that no no one can fix them.

But I passionately believe that Labour can. That we can turn round the problems of the country.

Let’s start with the economy.

Three days after George Osborne’s Budget, the fog is clearing.

It’s five years since the financial crisis of 2008.

But what’s happening now?

We are in the slowest recovery for 100 years.

Wages are flat.

Prices are rising.

Living standards falling.

Yet here’s the really depressing thing. What the Government offered this week was no change, just more of the same.

A penny off a pint – buy 320 pints of beer and you get one free. I don’t know about you but I don’t think that’s going to turn around the living standards crisis and it’s not going to convince anyone.

All they offer is more of the same and that’s not enough.

Can you imagine another five years of this?

Low growth.

Living standards squeezed further.

You paying the price.

They are resigned to a lost decade.

A lost decade Britain cannot afford.

A lost decade of national decline.

Not a decade where we make sacrifices now to build a better future, but where things get worse not better.

But I know what some of you are thinking.

“It’s true things look grim. But there’s nothing we can do.”

Well, I don’t believe it is inevitable.

And it is One Nation Labour’s task to show you we can stop this slide into a lost decade.

To show people it doesn’t have to be this way.

Not promising overnight answers.

Not promising that things will be easy

But showing there is a different direction for the country.

And that is what I want to do today.

I start from a simple idea:

We succeed as a country not by leaving things to a few people at the top.

We need an economic recovery made by the many.

Our economy is always more successful when it works for all working people.

When everyone can play their part.

We can learn from Birmingham’s history.

Over 150 years ago, a man called George Cadbury opened a factory just down the road from here.

He had a simple idea: his business would be more successful if his workforce was well-motivated and lived in decent homes with decent conditions.

That is the idea that should guide us to the change we need today.

But it hasn’t been the way our economy has been run for a long time.

And it certainly isn’t the direction offered by this Government.

They think wealth comes from a few at the top.

I know wealth comes from the forgotten wealth creators.

The people that work in the supermarkets, the factories, in small businesses on your high street, doing the shifts, putting in the hours.

It’s them who have got to be rewarded and supported in this country.

So what should we be doing differently?

Let’s start with our young people.

Long-term youth unemployment here in Birmingham went up 46 per cent last year.

On Wednesday, we learnt that 50,000 more young people across the country were looking for work.

After all the rhetoric we’ve heard from the Government, that is the reality.

On the same day, we learnt that Barclays were paying out £39 million in bonuses to just 9 people who work there.

And that’s two weeks before they get the millionaires’ tax cut from this Government.

This is not an economy being run for the many.

But for the few.

So five years on from the financial crisis, the banks carry on with business as usual and our young people find themselves without work.

We can’t afford another five years of this.

A lost decade for our young people.

So as a start, I say tax the bankers’ bonuses and use the money to put our young people back to work.

Guarantee every young person out of work for more than a year a job.

And as Prime Minister I would get every business and charity behind this idea.

And let’s get our young people working again with a proper career and future.

All of them.

Particularly the 50 per cent of young people who don’t go to university.

We’ve got to have a revolution in the way we do things for them.

So the focus of the next Labour government would be on getting those young people proper qualifications and apprenticeships.

And because we want businesses to get the young people they need, we will give them more control over the money spent on training.

But in return if firms want a major government contract they would have to provide apprenticeships for the next generation.

That would mean 32,000 apprenticeships for High Speed 2.

Not just a route of travel from Birmingham to London, but a route to a proper career.

Ensuring rights and responsibilities for young people and businesses.

So young people is where I would start in building a recovery made by the many.

But that recovery also needs to include the millions of businesses in this country that are the backbone of our economy.

You know that better than anyone here in the West Midlands.

For so many businesses, this looks more and more like a lost decade.

And nowhere is that more true than when it comes to our banks.

Change has been promised time and again but change never comes.

I am not just talking about bonuses.

But about lending to Britain’s businesses.

That is falling at the moment.

Can we turn this round?


Instead of businesses serving our banks, we need banks serving our businesses.

As part of a new British Investment Bank, let’s have a regional banking system, serving each and every region including here in the West Midlands.

The world’s first building society was founded in Birmingham.

And we should build a system with the same ethic today.

The purpose of regional banks should be to support businesses in their region, not to gamble the money in the City of London.

Giving small businesses, the life blood of our economy, the priority they deserve.

The lost decade also threatens the infrastructure of the country.

Schools, transport, housing.

It wastes talent today and stores up problems for the future.

Across the West Midlands you’ve seen 18,000 construction workers’ jobs have been lost since 2010.

And housing starts are at the lowest levels since the 1920s.

Yet the Government are borrowing £245 billion more than they planned to pay their own failure. It just doesn’t make any sense.

And we’ve now got schemes which seem about making it easier for people to buy second homes.

But they are not willing to invest that same money in the actual bricks and mortar.

We all know that we can’t solve the housing crisis without investing in the homes people need to live in.

A Labour budget would invest in our infrastructure.

It’s right for our economy and it’s right for people who can’t afford to buy or rent their home.

These are just three ways in which we can start to turn round the direction of the country.

For young people, for small businesses and for our infrastructure.

But we can’t create a recovery made by the many if family budgets are being squeezed year after year after year.

And the reality for so many families in Britain is a living standards crisis.

Which leaves people without confidence in the future.

Now, you know better than anyone that no politician can transform people’s living standards overnight.

But we can make the right choices.

That’s why if there had been a Labour Budget a few days ago, we would have reversed the millionaires’ tax cut.

And protected the tax credits that help work pay for millions.

Reintroduced a 10p tax rate paid for by a new tax on houses worth over £2 million.

And we would have had a temporary cut in VAT.

And that’s not all.

We would tackle rip-off prices.

Starting by reforming the energy markets to get a better deal for consumers.

And do everything we could to encourage a living wage, as Labour is doing here in Birmingham.

All these policies would make a difference. And that’s how you start a recovery made by the many.

These are just some of the changes we would make in government to avoid a lost decade.

Despite all our problems our country faces, I am an optimist about Britain not a pessimist.

The Government somehow wants you to believe that we have bad people who are letting down a good government.

Actually we have good people who are being let down by a bad government.

A bad government that stands up for the wrong things.

A government that cut taxes for millionaires.

And disgracefully throws people out of their homes with the bedroom tax.

This country can achieve anything when it puts its mind to it and when we have the right spirit.

And that means we need to unite as a country.

I am reminded of the stories my dad told me when I was a boy.

He came to this country in the Second World War.

As a refugee from the Nazis.

He joined the Royal Navy.

The Navy brought people of all backgrounds, all classes, all talents coming together for Britain.

Because they knew that Britain could only win the war if everyone made their contribution.

That’s what I mean by “One Nation”.

It’s not a Labour idea.

Or a Conservative idea.

But a British idea about how much we can achieve as a country if we come together.

We saw the same spirit when it came to the Olympic games.

Pulling together.

Coming together.

Working together.

For the good of ourselves.

And the good of our country.

That’s what makes anything possible.

That’s how we avoid the lost decade.

That’s how we can get our country moving again.

And that’s how we can meet our challenge to change Britain.

I look forward to working together.

Ed Miliband – 2013 Speech to the British Chambers of Commerce


Below is the text of a speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, to the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference in London on 14th March 2013.

It is excellent to be with you here today.

Let me start by saying how much I admire the work of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Because of the 100,000 businesses, rooted in every community in the country.

Knowing what is happening at the sharp end.

And you are always willing to speak truth to power.

And I want to pay particular tribute to John Longworth for the work he does as your Director-General for the voice he provides for the BCC.

I was very struck by something John Longworth said the other day.

He said: “Firms across Britain know they can drive growth…but they also know that they can’t do it alone…”

John is so right about this.

You create the wealth, make the profits, employ the people.

But you need a country that gets behind you.

To get the recovery we need it must be made by the many, the small and medium sized firms like yours that are the backbone of the British economy.

Now there is a Budget in six days time.

And as the BCC has said, urgent action is needed to help your businesses to succeed.

To help our economy grow.

And to help reduce the deficit on a sustainable basis.

That starts with the confidence and security of your customers.

That’s why we’ve called, for example, for a temporary cut in VAT.

And for the reintroduction of a 10p tax rate.

And any government preparing for a Budget in the current climate should be looking at the burden of business rates, especially as they fall on small businesses on this country.

Measures like these will help us take the first steps towards a recovery made by the many.

But they are not enough.

Because the Budget also needs to raise our sights to the big challenges that our country faces.

And we need to confront them, head on, right now.

Because the old ways just won’t do any more.

We need to build new institutions out of the rubble of the old.

And I want to propose today radical new approaches to banking, skills, the British firm and infrastructure, all underpinned by confidence and clarity about our place in the world.

That’s the way we truly get a recovery that is built to last.

A recovery made by the many.

Our approach for the future of the British economy has to start with our banks.

I start from a simple proposition: we need banks that serve our businesses, not businesses that serve our banks.

I hear it so often from businesses like yours that you just can’t get the finance that you need.

Turned down by banks that don’t know your businesses or who don’t seem to care.

And the government’s measures are just failing.

Net lending fell by £4.5 billion last quarter.

While too many of the big banks appear to carry on with a bonus as usual culture.

It is time to recognise that tinkering will not sort this out.

Britain needs a wholly new banking system.

And to understand how to build one, we need to understand the root of the problem.

Because these problems are decades old.

In the ten years before the financial crash, 84% of the money lent by British banks went into property and financial services.

As an example, just think about the transformation of Northern Rock.

Founded as a proud mutual, with a clear mission to serve the people and businesses of the North East of England.

A century of success.

Ending in an ignominious collapse.

Caused by its gambling in the City and in the property markets, rather than its old commitment in the real economy.

We have to learn the lessons.

It’s why we need tough regulation of our banking system.

That’s why we want new challenger banks to create real competition on the high street.

And why we are working with the BCC to design a proper British Investment Bank.

Such a Bank would provide long-term and patient capital for British businesses, especially those just starting up.

But today I want to say that we need to go further.

Because we need to make sure that the British Investment Bank serves the whole country.

So as part of that idea, I believe we need a regional banking system, reaching out to each and every region of the country.

Regional banks, with a mission to serve that region and that region alone.

Not banks that like to say “no”.

But banks that know your region and your business.

Not banks that you mistrust.

But banks you can come to trust.

Today we are publishing the report of our independent Small Business Taskforce I commissioned, chaired by Bill Thomas.

It calls for Britain to have its own version of the German “Sparkassen”: local banks that are run to support the local economy.

I am committed to turning the idea of regional banks into reality during the next government.

Because I am determined that One Nation Labour becomes the party of the small business and the entrepreneur as together we create a recovery made by the many.

And just like we need a new banking system to provide you with the finance you need, so we need a new skills system to provide you with the workforce you need.

Again I start from a simple proposition: every young person should have a pathway to good qualifications, a job and a career.

For so many young people that doesn’t happen.

And at the same time, you have been telling us for so long that you don’t get the young people with the skills and training they need.

That sometimes you have the vacancies but just can’t find skilled young people to fill them.

We need a transformation of education, opportunities and our culture for the forgotten 50% of young people who don’t go to University.

I think about a fourteen year old at school today.

If it is university that excites them, then they know the path forward, even as that path has got so much harder recently.

Work hard at GCSEs, then at A-levels and then move on to a degree and out to the world of work.

But what about those young people who want a different route?

Those who want to learn a skill or a craft.

Or want an apprenticeship.

Britain offers those young people very little at the moment.

This is another decades-long problem and we need to turn it around.

There is an alphabet soup of vocational qualifications on offer to young people.

We need to give young people a clear sense in each area of what qualification they should be aiming at.

That’s why the next Labour government proposes to accredit a new gold-standard technical baccalaureate so that our young people know where they are heading.

But it’s not just about a clear set of qualifications, it is about qualifications that are relevant to you as businesses.

Far too often, you tell us money spent on training is not well spent.

So we propose for the first time to put the public money spent on training and apprenticeships directly in the hands of employers.

And as well as changing qualifications, and making them relevant, we also need to inspire our young people.

Building up real work experience in school, not taking it away.

Creating new elite technical colleges for young people to which they can aspire, like they aspire to Oxford and Cambridge.

And we need to challenge the culture that says university is always best and vocational training is second-best.

Other countries don’t have this culture and Britain can’t afford it either.

Part of that change of culture we need is to celebrate and nurture the British firm.

We shouldn’t be ashamed to be patriotic about supporting our businesses.

Other countries do it, so should we.

You have been telling us for a long time how particularly difficult it is in Britain for a small firm to become a medium sized firm and a medium sized firm to become a world-beating corporation.

The way we change that is by addressing the short-term culture imposed on British business.

Sir George Cox, former Head of the Institute of Directors, recently reported to us on how to make this happen.

For that to happen we need to make changes.

Like abolishing quarterly reporting rules that lead listed firms constantly to think next month’s returns are more important than planning for the next five or ten years.

Like changing takeover rules, so great British firms aren’t at the mercy of the hedge funds and speculators who can swoop in after a takeover has been launched in the hunt for a quick buck.

And like changing rules on executive pay so that Britain’s best talent is incentivized to take the longer view.

Just some changes we need to enable British firms to take the long view.

And for smaller firms we should make changes too.

I hope you will engage with our Small Business Taskforce.

It has a whole set of ideas about how to help small businesses.

One of those calls on us to create new hubs of enterprise across the country.

Places where firms can share the costs of premises, back office services and other business advice.

This is something which government should be doing more to enable.

We’re determined to help small firms: invent, invest, train and prosper.

Because we know that so many jobs in the future are not going to come from a small number of large firms but a large number of small firms.

But the culture of the short-term isn’t just bad for business.

You know better than anybody that it holds back our government too.

If we are going to have a recovery made by the many, our country needs infrastructure as good as anywhere in the world.

That’s true of transport, energy and communications.

You’ve been telling us for so long that the way we resource and plan our infrastructure in Britain is not good enough.

And I agree.

That’s why at a time when our construction sector is still flat on its back, in this Budget One Nation Labour would be advancing investment in infrastructure.

But you know also it isn’t just about the resources, it is about the way decisions are made.

Sometimes we get it right.

As we did with the Olympic Games.

But so often we don’t.

That’s why Labour has asked Sir John Armitt, former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, to see how we can do better.

He will be looking for answers on how we invest in our infrastructure, how we get the planning rules right and how we can create consensus across the political spectrum on some of the most difficult decisions.

These are vital questions.

So that rebuilding our country will not only begin now but continue for decades to come.

Giving business the security and confidence they need.

I know you will all offer Sir John your support in that work.

Finally, all of these institutional changes need to be underpinned by a confidence about our place in the world.

So many of you are exporters, looking at new markets, and exploiting those markets you are already involved with.

The BCC is rightly making the case for greater co-ordination of the work that is done abroad to help you compete and succeed.

I agree and these are part of the recommendations of our Small Business Taskforce.

But I believe that if we are to succeed we also need an unambiguous sense of our national future.

I understand the frustrations you have with the way the European Union often works, including many businesses over regulation.

And I want a Europe of jobs and growth not the austerity and unemployment we have.

But for me, I want to be clear: our future lies in the European Union not outside it.

Because of the 500 million consumers in the single market.

But also if we are to reach out to the BRIC countries, our place lies in the EU not outside it.

Because we have more chance of getting our way in breaking down trade barriers with the rest of the world as part of that bloc than on our own.

Not finding that negotiations about trade happen without Britain in the room.

So a reformed banking system, a new skills system, a patriotic championing of the British firm, a new approach to infrastructure and a secure sense of our place in the world.

But there is something else about the way that we will succeed.

In these times, I think back to the stories my dad told me.

He came to Britain as a Jewish refugee during the Second World War, fleeing from the Nazis.

He joined the Royal Navy.

It was a time when people of all backgrounds, of all beliefs, of all talents came together for a common purpose.

They shared a vision for the country.

They knew, like John Longworth said, that we can’t do it alone.

That is what I mean by One Nation.

You know, there are many pessimists around today.

I am not one of them.

I am one of the optimists.

Just think what the Olympic Games showed us.

When we pull together, when we work together, we can achieve anything.

For the good of ourselves.

And the good of our country.

That is what we have shown throughout our history.

That is what we have shown in our darkest times.

That is what you show in the work you do every day.

That’s what we can show again as a country.

And I look forward to working together.

Ed Miliband – 2013 Speech to the Fabian Society


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to the Fabian Society on 12th January 2013.

It is great to be here at the Fabians.

Today I want to talk to you about the idea of One Nation.

The idea of a country which we rebuild together, where everyone plays their part.

It is not an idea rooted in Fabian pamphlets.

Though I bow to nobody in being an avid reader of them.

It is not an idea either rooted in academic studies of Sweden or any other country.

Though as some of you know, again I can talk at length about these subjects too.

It is an idea rooted deep in British history.

Because it is rooted deep in the soul of the British people.

Deep in the daily way we go about our lives.

Our relationships with our family, our friends, our neighbours.

We know this idea is a deep part of our national story because we have so many different ways of describing it.

“All hands to the pump.”

“Mucking in.”

“Pulling your weight.”

“Doing your bit.”

And every day we see it at work in our country.

On Christmas Day, I helped out somebody down the street from me who makes Christmas lunches for elderly people in the area living on their own, it’s that spirit.

The same spirit we saw last year in the Olympic Games.

Now because this idea is so much part of who we are as a nation, of how we think of ourselves, all politicians try to embrace it.

But its real potential, and what I want to talk about today, comes when we understand the deeper lesson for the way we run our country.

Turning this spirit of collective endeavour, of looking out for each other, from something we do in our daily lives, to the way our nation is run.

That is what One Nation Labour is about.

Taking the common decency and values of the British people and saying we must make it the way we run the country as well.

And why does this idea – the idea of One Nation – speak so directly to the state of Britain today?

Because we are so far from being One Nation.

While a very few people at the top are doing well, so many people feel their prospects diminishing, their insecurity rising.

They feel on their own.

Not part of a common endeavour.

You know, a young woman came up to me recently and told me she had decided to go to University in Holland because she said she couldn’t afford to do so in Britain.

Believe it or not, to a government minister her departure will seem a success because if more people leave the country it will help them meet their net migration target.

But it doesn’t feel like a success to me to have talented young people fleeing abroad.

In Britain that young woman doesn’t feel part of a country where she can play her part, she feels on her own.

And it’s not just our young people who are finding it so hard to do their bit.

There are so many people across Britain who want to play their part but don’t feel they can.

Those running small businesses are struggling just to keep their business afloat in the face of rising energy bills and banks that won’t help.

They don’t feel part of a Britain we rebuild together, they feel on their own.

And then take all the people struggling to make ends meet, to pay the bills, doing two or three jobs, they feel on their own with nobody on their side.

So what do so many people in Britain have in common today?

They believe the system is rigged against them.

They believe that the country isn’t working for them.

And you know, it’s not that any of them thinks Britain owes them a living or an easy life.

All they want is a sense of hope, they want to believe there is a vision for a future we can build together.

And that is why One Nation is such a powerful idea right now: because it is about our country and what it faces.

Can David Cameron answer this call for One Nation?

This week shows yet again why he can’t.

What did they call it on Monday?

The Ronseal re-launch.

But what did we discover?

The tin was empty.

And they have no vision for the country.

And what have we also seen this week?

The appalling attempt to denigrate all those who are looking for work.

To pretend that a Bill that hits 7 million working people is somehow promoting responsibility.

And all the time an attempt to divide the country between so-called scroungers and strivers.

To point the finger of blame at others, so people don’t point the finger of blame at this government.

Nasty, divisive politics which we should never accept.

It should be the first duty of any Prime Minister to be able to walk in the shoes of others.

This week he has shown he just can’t do it.

No empathy.

And no vision either.

So my overwhelming feeling in looking at this government is simple:

Britain can do better than this.

I have said what it means to be a One Nation Prime Minister.

To strive always to walk in the shoes of others.

But One Nation tells us more than that.

It tells us that we need to bring the country together so everyone can play their part.

And let me explain what One Nation is about in our economy, our society and our politics.

Let me start with the economy.

One Nation Labour is about reshaping our economy from its foundations, so that all do have the opportunity to play their part, not just a few.

And to understand what a One Nation economy means, we need to recognise how it differs from what New Labour did and also how it differs from the current government.

New Labour rightly broke from Old Labour and celebrated the power of private enterprise to energise our country.

It helped get people back into work, and introduced the minimum wage and tax credits to help make work pay.

And it used tax revenues to overcome decades of neglect and invest in hospitals, schools and the places where people live.

There are millions of people who have better lives because of those decisions.

It is a far cry from what we see today.

We’re back to the old trickle-down philosophy.

Cut taxes for the richest.

For everyone else, increase insecurity at work to make them work harder.

In other words, for the 99 per cent: you’re on your own.

Sink or swim.

For the top 1 per cent: we’ll cut your taxes.

We don’t need a crystal ball to know what this will mean, because the last two and a half years have shown us.

Business as usual at the banks, squeezed living standards, a stagnating economy.

No plan for rebuilding the British economy.

But the One Nation Labour solution is not to say that we need to go back to the past, to carry on as we did in government.

One Nation Labour learns the lessons of the financial crisis.

It begins from the truth that New Labour did not do enough to take on the vested interests and bring about structural change in our economy.

To make it an economy that works for the many not just the few.

From the banks on our high streets to the City of London to the big energy companies.

Now, New Labour did challenge the old trickle-down economics by redistributing from the top.

But again it didn’t do enough to change our economy so that it grew from the middle out, not from the top down.

One Nation Labour is explicitly about reshaping our economy so that it can help what I call the forgotten wealth creators of Britain.

The millions of men and women who work the shifts, put in the hours.

Who are out to work while George Osborne’s curtains are still closed.

And are still out at work when he has gone to bed.

Those who have gone to university and those who haven’t.

The people who don’t take home millions or hundreds of thousands, but make a hard, honest and difficult living.

These are the people on whom our future national prosperity truly depends.

So what do we need to do today?

We need to reform our economy.

To take on the vested interests that block the opportunities for our small businesses and for all the other forgotten wealth-creators.

We need a new deal for our small businesses who have been let down by the banks.

We have to tackle short-termism in the City to enable companies to play their part to contribute to long-term wealth creation.

We have to work with business radically to reform our apprenticeships and vocational education, so we use the talents of all young people, including the 50 per cent who don’t go to University.

And we have to promote a living wage to make work pay.

That is the way that we rebuild our economy.

From the middle out.

Not from the top down.

That’s what One Nation Labour is about in the economy.

So we learn the lesson of New Labour’s successes, embracing wealth creation.

We learn the lessons of what it didn’t do well enough, reshaping our economy and creating shared prosperity.

And we recognise there will be less money around because of the deficit we inherit.

That’s why Ed Balls rightly came to this conference last year, to say if we were in government today we would have to put jobs in the public sector ahead of pay increases.

And in a way that we did not have to be under New Labour, we will have to be ruthless in the priorities we have. And clear that we will have to deliver more with less.

So One Nation Labour adapts to new times, in particular straitened economic circumstances.

And the power of the idea of One Nation also shapes the kind of society I believe in.

One Nation Labour is based on a Britain we rebuild together.

That means sharing the vision of a common life, not a country divided by class, race, gender, income and wealth.

And that’s so far from where we are in Britain today.

We can only build that kind of society, where we share a common life, if people right across it, from top to bottom, feel a sense of responsibility to each other.

Now, New Labour, unlike Old Labour, pioneered the idea of rights and responsibilities.

From crime to welfare to anti-social behaviour, it was clear that we owe duties to each other as citizens.

It knew we do not live as individuals on our own.

And it knew that strong confident communities are the way that you build a strong confident nation.

All of this is so far again from what we have seen from this government.

This government preaches responsibility.

But do nothing to make it possible for people to play their part.

They demand people work, but won’t take the basic action to ensure that the work is available.

They talk about a “big society”.

But then it makes life harder for our charities, our community groups.

But here again the answer is not simply to carry on where we left off in government.

New Labour was right to talk about rights and responsibilities but was too timid in enforcing them, especially at the top of society.

And it was too sanguine about the consequences of rampant free markets which we know can threaten our common way of life.

Learning from our history, One Nation Labour is clear that we need to do more to create a society where everyone genuinely plays their part.

A One Nation country cannot be one:

Where Chief Executive pay goes up and up and up and everybody else’s is stagnant.

Where major corporations are located in Britain, sell in Britain, make profits in Britain but do not pay taxes in Britain.

And where at the top of elite institutions, from newspapers to politics, some people just seem to believe that the rules do not apply to them.

To turn things round in Britain, we all have to play our part.

Especially in hard times.

We are right to say that responsibility should apply to those on social security.

But we need to say that responsibility matters at the top too.

That’s the essence of One Nation Labour.

It shares New Labour’s insight about our obligations to each other.

And it learns the lessons of what New Labour didn’t do well enough, ensuring responsibilities go all the way through society from top to bottom.

And what does One Nation Labour mean for the way we do our politics?

It starts from the idea that people should have more power and control over their lives, so that everyone feels able to play their part, not left on their own.

New Labour began with a bold agenda for the distribution of power in Britain.

And it stood for a Labour party not dominated by one sectional interest, but reaching out into parts of Britain that Old Labour had never spoken to.

Inviting people from all walks of life to join the party and to play their part.

It wanted too, to open up our system of government and oversaw the biggest Constitutional changes for generations, including devolution to Scotland and Wales.

The contrast with this government is clear.

The way they operate, the high-handed arrogance of their way of doing things.

They cannot claim to be opening up politics.

And they certainly cannot claim to be rooted in the lives of the British people.

But once again we have to move on from New Labour, as well as from this government.

Because although New Labour often started with the right intentions, over time it did not do enough to change the balance of power in this country.

That was true of the Labour Party itself.

Of our democracy.

And of our public services.

By the time we left office, too many people in Britain didn’t feel as if the Labour party was open to their influence, or listening to them.

Take immigration.

I am proud to celebrate the multi-ethnic, diverse nature of Britain.

But high levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in our country.

And too often those in power seemed not to accept this.

The fact that they didn’t explains partly why people turned against us in the last general election.

So we must work to ensure that it never happens again.

And what is the lesson for One Nation Labour?

It is to change the way that power and politics works in our own Party right away.

That is what you will be seeing from One Nation Labour in 2013.

Opening up in new ways.

Recruiting MPs from every part of British life: from business to the military to working people from across every community.

Seeking support in every part of the United Kingdom, across the South of the country as well as the North.

Building a party that is dedicated to working with people to help them improve their own lives—even before government.

So for example, Labour Party members going to door to door offering people practical to help switch energy suppliers and cut their bills.

Creating a policy-making process that enables people directly to shape our policies so that they reflect their own concerns.

Jonathan Primett from Chatham wrote to us recently, complaining about rogue landlords at a time when the private rented sector is growing fast in our country.

Today I want to respond to him.

Britain is in danger of having two nations divided between those who own their one homes and those who rent.

If we are going to build One Nation, people who rent their homes should have rights and protections as well.

That’s about rooting out the rogue landlords.

Stopping families being ripped off by letting agents.

And giving new security to families who rent.

So we will introduce a national register of landlords, to give greater powers for local authorities to root out and strike off rogue landlords.

We will end the confusing, inconsistent fees and charges in the private rented sector.

And we will seek to give greater security to families who rent and remove the barriers that stand in the way of longer term tenancies.

That is a real example of how a One Nation Labour Party, by opening up our politics, is responding to the new challenges that the British people care about today.

One Nation Labour is also practising a new approach to campaigning—through community organising—which doesn’t just seek to win votes but build new relationships in every part of Britain.

For example, taking up local issues from high streets dominated by betting shops to taking on payday loan companies.

And, of course, a One Nation Labour government should open up too.

If devolution to Scotland and Wales is right, so it must be right that the next Labour government devolves power to local government in England.

And reforms our public services so that the people who use them and the people that work in them, feel as if they have a real chance of shaping the way they operate.

That’s the way to ensure we can all work together, to rebuild our country, with everyone playing their part.

That’s what One Nation Labour is about.

It learns the lesson of New Labour’s successes, seeking to reach out to parts of Britain that Old Labour ignored.

It learns the lessons of what it didn’t do well enough, of where New Labour left people behind.

And it recognises that in 2013, as the world has changed, politics has to change with it.

I talked about it in my Labour Party conference speech a few months ago about why I came into politics.

It was because of my personal faith.

A faith that we are better, stronger together than when we are on our own.

A faith that when good people come together they can overcome any odds.

For me, that’s what One Nation Labour is all about.

This faith isn’t unique to me.

It is deeply rooted in our country.

One Nation Labour is different from the current government.

And from New Labour and Old Labour too.

It will take on the vested interests in order to reshape our economy in the interests of all.

It will insist on responsibility throughout society, including at the top so we can build a united, not divided, Britain.

It will strive to spread power as well as working for prosperity.

We must build One Nation.

It is what the British people demand of us.

And, together, it is what we can achieve.

Ed Miliband – 2012 Speech to the CBI Conference


Below is the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, to the CBI Annual Conference on 19th November 2012.

I am delighted to be here with you today.

And I want to thank you, the representatives of British business, for the extraordinary work you do, especially in the difficult times we face.

In the last two years since I spoke to the CBI conference I have been impressed by the work you do, creating wealth, and giving young people an opportunity to succeed.

A few weeks ago, I talked about the challenges facing Britain and the idea of One Nation.

One Nation is an idea about how we share prosperity fairly.

But it is also about how we create the wealth.

It also offers a country going through tough times a shared long-term vision about how we will pay our way in the world and succeed as a nation.

With business, government and the British people working together.

There are so many issues that we could talk about today.

How we transform vocational education in this country.

So that you can be in the driving seat to ensure that Britain has the qualified young people we need.

How we can change our banking system.

So that small business can be the engine of job creation in this country.

How we reform corporate governance, so we can relieve the pressures on you of short-termism.

So that you can take the long-term view and create the sustainable wealth that Britain needs.

And how, even in the next Parliament, we can take the difficult decisions over the deficit.

So there is a huge range of issues that I want to have a dialogue with you on over the coming months.

But I want to talk to you today about one big issue facing us:

I am talking about our relationship with the European Union.

For around three decades, our membership of the European Union has seemed to be a settled question.

But you will have noticed, it is not any more.

Public scepticism about European Union has been on the rise for some time.

Some Cabinet Ministers in this government now openly say that we would be better off outside the EU.

And many of our traditional allies in Europe, frankly, are deeply concerned, because they think Britain is heading to the departure lounge.

Those of us, like me, who passionately believe that Britain is stronger in the European Union cannot be silent in a situation like this.

I will not let Britain sleepwalk toward exit from the European Union.

Because it would threaten our national prosperity.

Because it would make it far harder to build the One Nation economy that I believe in.

But above all it would be a betrayal of our national interest.

That’s why I am devoting my speech today to the case for Britain remaining in the European Union.

But I also want to make that case in a new way.

A way that responds to the new challenges Britain and Europe faces today.

From European Ideal to Euroscepticism

Let me start by talking about the causes of Euroscepticism, because it’s very important that we understand them.

The EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

To many in Britain today, it seemed almost absurd.

But to my parents’ generation, it would have seemed well-deserved.

My mum and dad came to this country because of the terrors of the Nazis.

For them, Europe was a murderous continent.

A continent that that had gone to war four times in only 130 years.

For many in their generation, the European Union was a noble ideal.

The countries of Europe seeking to put peace and prosperity in place of war and destruction through economic and political co-operation.

But time has passed.

The prospect for a new war between Europe’s major powers has thankfully faded.

And that means the power of the founding ideal has faded with it.

But that is only part of the explanation as to why people’s faith has waned.

My argument is that it’s not just the fading of that ideal which has led to British Euroscepticism.

Nor can we put Euroscepticism down to bendy bananas and bans on British chocolate.

There are real failures.

And I think that’s what the pro-European side often needs to come to terms with.

There are twenty five million people without jobs across Europe today.

Five million young people across Europe looking for work.

The failures of the Euro shakes people’s confidence in the whole European Union.

So do failings in the EU Budget, that often seems to match the priorities of the 1950s, not the 21st century.

And while enlarging the EU was good for Britain’s strategic interest, frankly, the way that we handled immigration without transitional controls increased scepticism here in Britain.

Given all this, I don’t think it is surprising that some people feel unhappy, even angry with the European Union.

And what has been happening in response from people who believe in the EU?

Too many have turned a blind eye to these failings.

Believing their understandable real passion for the case for Britain being in Europe should mean a passionate defence of the institutions of the European Union.

That can’t be right.

The answer is not just to make the same old case for the European Union more loudly.

We need to argue the case in a new way, not simply assume it as an article of faith.

The New Case for Staying In

That case starts with our economy.

Let’s not treat this as an argument of faith: let’s argue the cause.

You know better than anyone about the importance of the single market.

A market of 500 million people.

Producing and selling one third of the world’s goods and services.

And you take advantage of those opportunities every day.

It’s where British businesses do at least 50 per cent of their trade.

And then think about all of our aspirations for the British economy.




All essential to a One Nation economy.

I think it’s easier not harder to achieve that within the European Union than outside it.

Take our car industry.

Nissan, Tata, Toyota didn’t come to Britain for a low-wage, low-skill economy.

They come to Britain because we offer a gateway to high-income consumers who want high-value goods.

And to make those high-value goods they invest in high-skilled jobs.

Take our high-technology clusters, like Tech-City in London and the Cambridge Cluster.

We have people from all over Europe coming here to be part of those Technology Clusters.

And they’re attracting the best entrepreneurs, the most technically-gifted experts from across the world.

Because of the single market.

So I believe the economic case is strong.

But there is a wider case too.

There are problems in the world today that are simply too large, too complex, too international in scope for any nation state standing alone to deal with.

And to believe otherwise is just to hark back to a bygone age that is not coming back.

Just think about terrorism and organised crime.

They don’t respect borders.

But the European Union helps us cooperate to tackle it.

And it works.

The European arrest warrant helped bring to justice those who tried to bomb London on the 21st July 2005.

Take climate change and energy – something the CBI has been passionate about.

I know from my time in government, that as Britain we represent 2 per cent of global emissions, as Europe around 13 per cent.

Negotiating as part of the European Union is easier not harder than negotiating alone.

And that applies to a whole range of foreign policy problems.

Ranging from sanctions on Iran to playing a role in the growing crisis in the Middle East.

And there is another strategic interest.

While the old idea – that my parents would have understood – of avoiding war between the great powers has passed, we do have an interest in an enlarged European Union.

Where countries seeking the benefit of economic cooperation are required to advance the cause of political freedom, free and fair elections and the rule of law.

And we’re seeing it with some Balkan states as well.

The European Reform Agenda

So there is an economic, a political and a strategic case for Britain remaining in the EU, and we need to make it.

But there is an urgent imperative for us to reform the European Union so that it can help us compete and pay our way in the world.

Collective austerity is not working for working people across Europe.

And it is harmful for our ability to export and prosper.

A Labour government would seek to build alliances for a different approach.

A more pro-growth, pro-jobs approach.

And that applies to the European Budget too.

Agriculture makes up just 1.5 per cent of the production of the European Union.

So it cannot be right that almost 40 per cent of the EU Budget is still spent on the CAP.

I say that we need to build alliances for a comprehensive reform of the Budget.

Let’s ensure more of the money is spent on public goods that help your business, like infrastructure, energy and innovation.

Some of the European Budget is spent on that but not nearly enough.

Think of what it could do for your businesses.

And while we’re on the subject of the European Budget, let me say:

It cannot be part of a Pro-European position to support an automatically rising European Budget.

We also need to complete the single market.

Especially in areas which could benefit Britain, from digital technologies to energy.

And I know from my experience in government that the EU attitude to industrial policy feels woefully out of date.

In government, if the first question is how can government make it easier for business to compete and succeed, too often the second question is: will EU state aid rules allow this to happen?

All this needs to change.

That’s an essential part of working together to build a One Nation economy at home.

The Alternatives

So that’s the case for remaining within the European Union.

And reforming it.

But what about the case for leaving?

I think we need to take that case seriously.

Some will say Britain can stand alone in the world.

Like Norway or Switzerland.

Of course we could do that.

But we would be weaker, not stronger, as a result.

Those in favour of leaving the EU say we could still be part of the single market.

They may be right.

But who would set the rules?

Not us.

It would be those within the European Union.

We would live by rules that we have no say in making ourselves.

Still contributing to the EU Budget, as Norway does, but voiceless and powerless.

Unable to change the terms of trade.

And in or out of the European Union, we will be affected by whether the European economy is growing or not.

The best place for Britain is to be at the table, seeking to shape the economic direction of Europe.

Do we want to be inside the room?

Or do we want to guarantee ourselves a place outside the room?

And then think about the world trade talks.

If we left the EU, be under no illusions, it would be the United States, China, the European Union in the negotiating room.

Literally eating our lunch.

And Britain in the overflow room.

And we need to be absolutely clear about the dangers of that.

Of course, we should reach out to the BRIC countries.

But we have far more ability to do so as a member of a market of 500 million rather than just 60.

And how would Britain compete with the rest of the world it we were outside the European Union?

What would our equivalent be of Norwegian oil and gas or Swiss tax advantages?

Listening to some of those who advocate exit, I fear it would be that we would end up competing on low-wages and low-skills.

An off-shore low-value economy.

A race to the bottom.

That’s not a future for Britain that we should contemplate.

Europe’s Changes

Of course the European Union is changing.

Countries in the Eurozone are driving towards greater political and economic union.

They are on a different path from countries like Britain.

Britain is outside the Euro.

And will, in my view rightly, remain so.

But is that an excuse for leaving?


I believe we must work to ensure that this more flexible European Union, where some countries pursue deeper integration and others don’t, still benefits all.

We need to build alliances to ensure mutual respect between those inside the Euro and those on the outside.

And we know what that means:

Protect our voting influence.

Ensuring that we are part of the decision-making process that affects us.

And above all, ensuring a successful European economy.


Now of course, we do not know exactly what the EU will look like after all these changes happen.

But the question for now is should we have a referendum now?

My answer to that is no.

As your businesses strive to come out of the worst economic crisis of our lifetime?

To spend our time now debating whether to exit the European Union would threaten recovery.

At this moment – when you are facing some of the most difficult economic circumstances of our lifetime – this is not the time for it.

Think about a business considering coming to Britain.

What would they think if there was a referendum now?

They would put investment in Britain on hold as they waited to see.

There would be instability in our economy.

And neither does it reflect the priorities of the British people.

Their jobs, living standards and prosperity.

Keeping Britain In

I am pleased to say that my party is united in the view that Britain is stronger in the EU than it would be outside.

And I give Nick Clegg and David Cameron credit for this – I think they do too.

But to do that, we must be clear about the right strategy for Britain.

To ensure that we do not drift toward the exit door.

The Conservative part of the current government tells us that what matters most is the repatriation of powers.

Of course, I will look at what they propose.

But here is my view on this:

Britain needs to keep its eyes on the prize:

Fighting for economic change and for influence in a changing Europe.

We cannot afford to use up our energies and alliances on negotiations that will not deliver.

Like seeking to opt out on Justice and Home Affairs to keep the sceptics happy.

And then opting back in to the European arrest warrant.

Just as with the veto that wasn’t last December.

Increasing frustration and the drive to the exit of those at home, as people claim betrayal of what was promised.

And undermining our status abroad as they write off Britain as a serious player.

Taking us closer to the departure lounge.

It is the wrong strategy for Britain.


I know many of you, look upon the debate in Britain with deep and real concern.

Many of your businesses rely on our being in the European Union.

And I understand that many of you have concern about the drift of the debate over the last couple of years, and I share that concern.

I will fight your corner.

I will fight your corner for Britain to remain in the EU

And I will fight your corner to reform it.

And there is one more reason for resisting the call to exit.

About the character of our country.

Exit would not honour the traditions that have made Britain the great country it is.

It would undermine them.

Britain has always given so much to the world.

We have traded with others.

Not turned inwards.

We have opened up our country to new influences.

Not shrunk from them.

We have engaged with others.

Not stood aside from them.

An ambitious Britain has always been an outward looking Britain.

An inward-looking Britain, can never be an ambitious Britain.

Yes, reforming the European Union will be difficult, will require building alliances, will have its frustrations.

But I am certain it is better than leaving.

I believe our future lies within European Union,

I believe our future demands we reform the European Union.

Because I believe doing so will enable us to build One Nation here in Britain.

And that is why I commit to it today.

Ed Miliband – 2012 Speech to Labour’s Youth Conference


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to Labour’s Youth Conference on 16th March 2012.

It’s great to be here at this Labour Youth Conference.

You know you can judge a party and its prospects for the future by how it’s performing amongst the young.

We need your energy.

We need your spirit.

We need your idealism.

Idealism demonstrated at campuses all around this country where it is Labour students who are campaigning for justice and fairness at work.

By campaigning for their universities to adopt a Living Wage.

Let us applaud their energy, their spirit, their idealism today.

Idealism demonstrated by our young councilors, some of them just 18.

I spoke to one of them, Jake Morrison, one of the youngest Labour councillors in Britain, elected at last May’s elections.

He is serving the Wavertree ward in Liverpool, campaigning for safer streets and against this government’s NHS Bill.

Let us recognize the efforts of Jake and all our young councilors, let us applaud them.

And let us applaud our party members too.

We’ve had tens of thousands of people join us since the General Election.

And I can tell you that the number of people under 27 in our party has doubled in the last three years alone.

Coming to Labour to change our country.

Let us applaud the energy, spirit, and idealism of all those who have joined our party.

And we need that energy, spirit, and idealism because of the challenges facing Britain, and our young people.

Under this government, more than one million young people out of work.

Like the young woman I met recently at a youth centre in London.

She had sent off 137 CVs, and hadn’t got a single reply.

The only job she could find, cash in hand, for less than the minimum wage, working for a couple of months at a fish and chip shop.

She was desperate to work but felt she was banging her head against a brick wall.

Friends, she is a not a layabout.

She has ambition.

She has hopes and dreams for the future.

Her problem is she hasn’t been given a chance.

She doesn’t have a government which matches her ambition.

And what’s true of her is true of the vast majority of those one million young unemployed in this country.

They’re not workshy, they’re not scroungers, they just need the chance to work.

Huge potential going to waste.

You judge the future of a political party by whether young people want to be part of it.

But let us say something clearly today our core belief:

But you judge the future of a country by whether young people feel they have a part in it.

Let me tell you what a sixteen year old once wrote in his diary:

“I am young, I have a potential which hasn’t yet been tapped, and which will not be for quite a while.”

That sixteen year-old was a member of my family.

Not me, but my Dad.

He wrote those words just after he arrived in Britain, a Jewish refugee from Belgium in 1940.

He arrived here with his father, separated from his mother and sister.

Unable to speak English.

After six months of scraping a living doing odd jobs.

And three months after that, he was accepted into Acton Technical College.

He studied at night, in the one room which he shared with my grandfather so he could learn English and pass his exams.

It was his hard work that meant eighteen months after arriving at Dover, he won a place at the London School of Economics.

After that, he never looked back.

He succeeded because he was given a chance.

And that was matched by his sense of striving.

He went on to become a university professor himself, wrote books, and his teaching inspired many young people.

He met my Mum here and they raised a family.

He is still an inspiration to me.

Hard work — and its value.

The genius of it was that it wasn’t some ‘eat your greens’ lecture.

At least most of the time it wasn’t.

It was just a sense that you shouldn’t waste your potential.

And they also taught me something else born of their experiences.

Two people rescued out of the darkness of the Second World War.

And they taught me a simple lesson.

That you had a responsibility to leave the world a better place than you found it.

And no challenge or injustice was too big for us to overcome.

I tell this story because it’s what helped make me the person I am.

Today, we live in a very different time.

Compared to the challenges my parents and their generation faced, ours do not seem large.

Think of that time.

A country shattered by war.

Facing the costs of reconstruction.

No NHS, no proper welfare state.

But the strange thing is that there is more fatalism about what happens in the world.

More cynicism about the ability of any politician to make a difference.

What is the answer to this?

Not to lessen our ambition.

But to be bolder.

To convince people that there is a clear and realistic vision of a better future.

Let’s deal with this government first.

They’ve got no compelling vision for the future.

Even Vince Cable says so.

It has no sense of ambition.

All it knows is austerity.

And it has no sense of responsibility.

‘Don’t blame us, we’re just the government.’

What have they done to young people?

They scrapped the Future Jobs Fund which provided real jobs.

They trebled tuition fees.

The number of young people looking for work for more than six months has doubled over the last year alone.

And there are 49.000 young people who have been looking for work for over a year.

Two and a half times more than there was a year ago.

Just think of that.

And what is their solution?

A Work Programme which doesn’t guarantee work.

And a Jobs Programme which doesn’t guarantee jobs.

Do you know that young people can be left languishing on their programme for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years under this government, without finding work?

What greater example could there be of the lack of ambition of this government?

And as for their work experience:

Work experience of course has a role to play, but it cannot be the summit of our ambitions.

There is only one solution to a jobs crisis.


No young person should be left languishing on the dole for more than a year.

It is not the Britain I believe in.

It is not the Britain you believe in.

And it is not the Britain we would have under a Labour government.

And that’s why my ambition is this:

To conquer long term youth unemployment.

The first line of a Labour Budget would be a tax on bank bonuses to get young people into work.

To business we say: we’ll pay the wages, if you provide the training.

To young people we say: if you’re out of work for a year we’ll guarantee you the opportunity to work.

Responsibility on the part of government to give every young person a chance.

Responsibility on the part of employers to make that chance real.

And responsibility on the part of young people to take that chance.

Saying no is not an option.

And when people ask what’s the difference between ourselves and this government, let’s tell them:

Under Labour, a job is guaranteed.

For at least six months.

At least at the minimum wage.

With real training.

And real prospects.

Labour’s Real Jobs Guarantee.

Real jobs, Real wages, a real chance for our young people.

If I was the Prime Minister, I would seek to mobilize every business in Britain, every voluntary sector organization, every young person too, behind this effort.

I would never stand by.

Labour would get our young people working again.

When I met the young woman who had handed in 137 CVs, just down the road from the City of London, she asked me how it was possible that in the banks a few miles away, these vast bonuses were still being paid to some of people who caused the financial crisis in the first place.

Her friend said: they seem to be carrying on as if nothing has happened, and we are paying the price.

By taxing the bank bonuses to help the young unemployed, we are doing more than coming up with a new programme.

We are saying something about who we are as a party.

We are saying something about what we aspire to be as a country.

We all owe obligations to each other, however rich or poor we are.

And when we talk about the bonus tax for youth jobs, we are showing the difference in our priorities, even in tough times.

We are on the side of those who work hard, strive, play by the rules.

Labour priorities versus Tory priorities.

Their priority is to cut taxes for people who have a job and earn over £150,000 a year.

A tax cut targeted at the richest people in Britain,

And they say we’re all in it together.

Our priority is to stand up lower and middle income families and for our young people who just need a job.

It’s right for them.

And it’s right for the country.

But it’s not enough just to convince the public that we’re decent people with better priorities.

We have to show people that we can manage our priorities and manage their money.

Including when there is less money around.

And so the challenge we face is a demanding one.

To show our radicalism, ambition and vision, even in tough fiscal times.

Not to measure the success of the next Labour government by the money we spend but by the difference we make.

But I know we can make a difference.

By showing our different priorities.

Like we do on the bank bonus tax for youth jobs.

Not going ahead with the government’s tax cut for the banks.

Instead putting the money to a much better cause:

Cutting tuition fees.

And investing in the young people of Britain.

These are just downpayments for the change a Labour government would bring.

A downpayment for the change and ambition this country needs.

But our challenge isn’t just to create jobs for young people, or to cut tuition fees, important though that is.

It is to shape a new economy.

The old economy, the one which seemed to work during your parents’ generation, just won’t do any more.

Not just because of the banking crash.

But because even before then, it was serving the few at the top, not the majority.

It created some high paying jobs in financial services.

But too often, low-wage, low-skill jobs, without good prospects.

Your generation needs not just more jobs, but good jobs.

We need an economy that is about proper training.

I met a group of apprentices here in Warwick at Jaguar Land Rover a few months back.

Their eyes sparkled with excitement about what they were doing.

Building racing car prototypes.

Not everyone can be a racing car apprentice.

But there can be a lot more apprenticeships.

A Labour government ambitious for the future will insist that every business which gets a large government contract must provide apprenticeships for the next generation.

To create an economy that works for working people, we need to back our small businesses, to help them get the finance we need.

A Labour government ambitious for the future would reform finance by planning for a British Investment Bank to help those entrepreneurs create the jobs we need.

To create an economy that works for working people, we need to make low-carbon growth a priority.

A Labour government ambitious for the future would understand that tackling climate change and a good economy are not in conflict, as George Osborne says, but going hand in hand.

To create an economy that works for working people, we need fair rewards from top to bottom.

An ambitious Labour government would reform our system of top pay and make sure there’s an ordinary worker on every remuneration committee.

To create an economy that works for working people, we need to work together to hold power to account wherever it lies.

That’s why a Labour government, ambitious for the future, will work to reform the way our energy market and train companies work, and fight for the consumer and ordinary citizen.

And will stand up to vested interests without fear or favour.

We know that none of this will be easy.

It will not be easy to create a country we believe in.

To create a country fit for our young people.

We will face many challenges.

Old orthodoxies about the way our economy is run.

Powerful vested interests who don’t want change.

High unemployment.

Tough fiscal times.

We must remember what my mum and dad taught me:

However difficult the circumstances, no injustice, no challenge is too big for our country to overcome.

No injustice, no challenge is too big for our party to overcome either.

I will never shrug my shoulders at the sight of one million young jobless.

That’s the difference with Labour.

I will never accept an economy which doesn’t work for working people.

That’s the difference with Labour.

I will never accept that there are interests which are too powerful to be held to account.

That’s the difference with Labour.

That’s why I’m Labour.

That’s why we’re Labour.

Let us hear the call of our party that echoes down the ages:

Change is always possible.

Even in tough times, we can deliver fairness, justice, responsibility, the values we believe in.

That is what should drive us on.

That is what we will campaign for in the council elections.

That is what will enable us to win back trust.

That is what will win us the next general election, and enable us to transform the country.

Ed Miliband – 2012 Speech to the National Policy Forum


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, to the National Policy Forum on 16th June 2012 in Birmingham.

It’s great to be with you today at our National Policy Forum in Birmingham.

Labour Birmingham.

Labour, in whom the people of Birmingham placed their trust in May.

A Labour council changing the way we do politics with a manifesto built on 12 months of conversations with the people of this city.

A Labour council improving our society with 5,000 new homes a year.

And a Labour council changing our economy by paying at least £7.20 to every city council worker.

A decent living wage.

And let us recognise the work of every Labour council making a difference in tough times.

Liverpool’s new Mayor Joe Anderson and h is council that is building 2,500 homes.

Manchester keeping open its Sure Start Centres.

And Newham, standing up for tenants against unscrupulous landlords.

Labour councils whose examples will inspire our next manifesto.

And let us applaud them for their work.

823 seats gained at the council elections.

Let us applaud all of the Party members, trade union members, local councillors that made this possible.

The British people have given us a platform to be heard once again.

It is our job to seize the moment and show how we can change this country.

And we know this country needs to change.

We know it is crying out for change.

A lost generation of young people who cannot find work.

We say this waste of talent, this betrayal of hope, this denial of ambition is wrong and we must change it.

Families struggling to pay their bills, their living standards squeezed, prices going up and wages frozen.

While top directors are seeing their pay going up by 10 per cent again this year alone.

We know this is wrong and we must change it.

British society divided more and more under this Government.

Between the private economy and the public economy.

We are not a private economy and a public economy.

We are one economy.

Between the richest and the rest.

When we know we succeed or fail together.

Dividing the generations.

This generation of young people who are fearful for the future, in contrast to previous generations who were able to look forward to the future with hope.

It’s wrong and we would change it.

And we know too we have a politics that doesn’t stand up for the right people.

Now some people will see the revelations at the Leveson inquiry as simply a distraction from what matters.

Of course it’s not the biggest issue in most people’s lives.

But it is a symbol.

A symbol for what is wrong with our politics.

Not just a media scandal.

But a scandal about the way Britain is run.

Unaccountable power.

Innocent people paying the price.

Police not investigating.

Politicians not speaking out.

We all need to learn the lessons.

No media organisation should ever be allowed to exercise that amount of power ever again.

The Murdoch Empire must be broken up.

This Prime Minister cannot be the answer.

This is a Prime Minister who sent the texts.

He received the texts.

He even rode the horse.

A Prime Minister who hasn’t learned the lessons.

That’s why we have a tainted Prime Minister.

Tainted because he stands up for the wrong people.

Like Andy Coulson and Jeremy Hunt.

Tainted because he does not stand up to the rich and powerful.

And I’m not just talking about Rupert Murdoch.

Tainted because he cannot be the change this country needs.

And he even seems to believe that ‘we’re all in it together,’ means country suppers with Rebekah Brooks.

When we say we are all in this together, we are talking about the hard working people of this country.

And this Government cannot be the answer for our economy either.

Leaders of the most important economies will gather in Mexico this week for the G20.

There needs to be a decisive shift towards jobs and growth.

That’s also the way to get the deficit down.

That’s what I would be arguing for as Prime Minister.

It’s right to supply credit to our banks, including our banks.

But it doesn’t change the fundamental problem.

Austerity is not working.

It’s not working in Britain.

That’s why we have a double-dip recession.

A recession made in Downing Street.

And it’s not working internationally, either.

And it’s no good the powerful saying to the powerless: we’re in for a few bad years and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Saying there is no alternative to austerity.

It’s not they that will suffer.

Here in Britain David Cameron says Britain is “headed in the right direction”.

Tell that to one million young people out of work.

Tell that to the six people chasing every vacancy.

Tell that to the people struggling to make ends meet.

This crisis is about much more than just the banks.

It’s about whose interests are put first this country is run.

It’s about an economy closed to the concerns of working people.

There is a simple reason why this Government gets it so wrong.

They are stuck with an approach to our economy, society and politics that simply does not work anymore.

A set of orthodoxies whose time is over, and crumbling before our eyes.

The Tories are standing up for the wrong pe ople.

Running our country with the wrong ideas.

Out of touch and out of date.

Like believing the best way to get people back to work is to allow employers to fire people at will.

Now I am very conscious of the scale of the crisis our country faces.

We cannot carry on where we left off in government.

We cannot just make do and mend.

The task we face as an Opposition is no ordinary task.

Our task will be to rebuild Britain.

To rebuild our economy.

To rebuild our society.

To rebuild our politics.

So that we can rebuild our country to ensure that it works for everyone, and not just a powerful, privileged few.

Let me start with the economy.

The task of rebuilding we face starts with the recession made in Downing Street.

The highest unemployment in a generation.

We need real action to get growth moving here at home.

Cutting VAT.

Giving incentives to businesse s to take on new workers.

Advancing investment in our infrastructure.

And putting our young people back to work.

Long-term youth unemployment in Birmingham has doubled in the last year alone.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I say, we say, tax the bankers bonuses and guarantee jobs for those young people.

A Labour government would get our young people working again.

So we need immediate action.

But we know the problems of our economy haven’t just begun.

The economy hasn’t been working for most working people for a long time.

We have a vision for our future economy which is different from this government and different from what we have managed to deliver in the past.

It starts from simple truths.

It starts from Labour values.

We know what the good economy looks like.

I believe nobody who works should be in poverty.

But today in our country we know that millions are.

I believe every young person, whether they go to university or not, should have a career.

But we know that today in our country, so many young people feel our economy has nothing to offer them.

I believe we must be a country that has a culture from our schools to our banks that prides itself on making things once again.

But that is still not the culture of Britain today.

I believe that the good firm comes with workers, managers, shareholders and customers working together to ensure their success.

But we know that the decades of fast buck, take what you can short termism in our economy prevents businesses from doing that.

I believe in an economy where reward is related to effort and there is a bond between the highest and lowest paid.

But we know that today in our country, people at the top can be paid 100 times, 1000 times more than their lowest paid employee.

So we have to seek to build this good economy.

And it is all the more important because the next Labour government will face a deficit as result of this government’s failure.

We will have to show how we can build social justice even when there is less money around.

It’s this different vision of our economy that drives us on.

That I want the National Policy Forum to work on in the years ahead.

We know the issues we must cover: from skills to housing to how we create a long-term economy.

It must be shared mission for our party.

We must make it the shared mission for our country.

We want an economy that works for working people.

And we need a society of which everyone feels a part.

I am incredibly proud of the work the last Labour government did.

To build and rebuild those great national institutions that we value.

Sure Start.


And of course, our National Health Service.

And those institutions are under threat from this Government.

The NHS facing a reorganisation that no-one voted for and nobody wants.

And we have led the way in defending the values of the NHS.

And we will repeal the Bill so we undo the damage of the free market, free for all that this government is inflicting on our National Health Service.

But protecting what we have is not enough.

We need to be more ambitious than that.

My vision of our society starts with its ethic and character.

I believe in an ethic that says there is more to life than the bottom line.

I believe in a society that says we owe each other more than just to pay our way.

And I believe that the decent society is built on care, compassion and looking out for each other, and not on money, market and exchange.

And once we know our ethic we know the society we want to build.

A society of shared responsibility, among rich and poor alike.

A society that is more equal, where people do not lead lives that never touch each other.

A society with public services where everyone feels they are a valued partner, not just a customer or a number on a spreadsheet.

That means that those who use services don’t feel talked down to by an unresponsive and distant state.

And it means that those who work in public services don’t feel demotivated by central control but are trusted because they know their work and do their all.

And the good society is one where we recognise that we hold the environment in trust for future generations.

And that we make the decisions so this generation can speak proudly to the next, telling them that we weren’t the last generation who failed to understand climate change, but the first generation to rise to it.

That’s what a rebuilt British society looks like to me.

And we, the National Policy Forum, need to start planning today.

And we know where our work must focus:

How our public services will cope according to these principles in an era when there is less money around.

How to solve the unmet needs of our communities like care for the elderly.

We have a lot of work to do.

To rebuild our economy so that works for working people once again.

To rebuild our society so that it is true to our ethic and our values.

And to rebuild our politics so that we can make these changes.

After you trudge down the street in the wind and the rain, you know the most depressing thing.

It’s depressing enough when people say they’re voting Tory or Lib Dem, although not many people say that these days.

But the worst thing is when they say

‘You’re all the same, you all break your promises, you won’t make a difference to my life’

People have died in this country for the right to vote.

They are dying in other countries for the right to vote.

We desperately believe it will make a dif ference to people’s lives to vote, but too many don’t believe us.

It’s not their fault, it’s ours.

That’s why politics has to change.

It’s our job to change it.

And if you want to know how it should be done, just come to Birmingham and see what Caroline Badley, Councillor Caroline Badley, has done.

First, she helped mobilise a volunteer army of a thousand people for Gisela Stuart to win her election in Birmingham Edgbaston in 2010.

And then she decided to take on the Tories herself.

And she won her ward with a majority of more than 1,000 votes because she organised local people and local organisations to fight for the issues that mattered to them.

She showed that politics was not just about harvesting votes it was making change in our communities.

She should inspire us.

We need a politics rooted in people’s lives through the work of labour party members, local councillors, and the ordinary men and wo men of our trade unions.

The three million trade union levy payers, the most underused asset in British politics.

We need a politics which stands up for the many against the interests of the few, however powerful they are.

For too long, governments of both parties thought there were interests too big to challenge.

And so the public thought we weren’t on their side.

We need a politics where the decisions that affect people’s lives are made by people accountable to them.

So devolution is right not just for Scotland and Wales but for English local government as well.

We need a politics where politicians look like the constituents they represent.

That’s why we should not rest until 50 per cent of our MPs are women.

That’s why we should not rest until ethnic minorities are properly represented in Parliament and in our party.

And we should not rest until we deal with one of the most glaring omissions:

The skewing of our politics away from working class representation.

And I have asked Jon Trickett from our Shadow Cabinet to lead our work on this issue.

That’s where I want to take our politics.

And we know the areas we must cover: from how our party can be a genuine community organisation in every part of the country to how we devolve power.

That is what we need to rebuild our country.

These plans to rebuild our politics bring me to my final thought today.

People probably ask you sometimes why you joined the Labour Party.

People ask me sometimes why I went in to politics.

People ask me, is politics just about competent management?

Well we certainly would provide more competent management that this omnishambles government.

They ask just about waiting for our turn so we can carry on where we left off in government?

Our government did make Britain a stronger and fairer place.

But what we stand f or must be about much more than competence or carrying on where we left off.

The times are too grave, the demands too serious, the crisis too acute for any of that.

And in our DNA, is something bigger than that:

I learnt it from my parents.

Even in times of crisis people could come together to build something new.

They knew it because it was the story of their own lives.

Jewish refugees who came to Britain.

They saw it in the spirit of the British people.

The spirit of the British people that we saw on the streets during the Jubilee

The spirit of the British people that we will see during the Olympics.

The spirit of the British people that I see in this room today.

A country where we look after each other not one where we are left on our own.

I know that we can rebuild an economy that works for working people.

I know that we can rebuild a society founded on the right values.

And I know that we can rebuild our politics so that every voice counts, not just those of a powerful few.

That is the platform we have earned.

The chance to rebuild our country.

We won’t waste it.

Together lets rebuild Britain.

Ed Miliband – 2012 Speech at Hyde Park


Below is the text of the speech made by Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Opposition, at Hyde Park in London on 20th October 2012.

Thank you.

I am here to join with people from all walks of life.

From all parts of our country.

Think about the faces in this crowd.

Young people looking for work.

Like Ashley Parsons from Wolverhampton who you saw on the film.

Let us say we stand with all the young people who want to work in Britain today.

We have nurses determined to fight for the future of our National Health Service.

Let us say we stand with them and all the men and women who serve in our NHS.

Construction workers, like Colin Roach from Greater Manchester, recently laid off.

Let us say we stand with him and people across the whole of British business who want an economy that works for them.

And all the off-duty police officers here today.

Let us say we stand with them as they seek to protect front-line policing and improve communities across Britain.

None of these people think Britain owes them a living.

They are not asking for the earth.

They just have a simple request.

They want a future that works for them.

They believe we do better as One Nation.

Private and public sectors working together.

North and South.

Trade unions and British business.

But they do not see that future under this government.

Instead, they see a government dividing our country.

Andrew Mitchell may finally have resigned.

But the culture of two nations runs right across this government.

They cut taxes for millionaires.

And raise taxes for ordinary families.

They leave young people out of work while the bonuses at the banks carry on.

They even have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who tries to travel first class on a standard class ticket.

It’s one rule for those at the top and another rule for everybody else: everybody like you who plays their part and does the right thing.

The trouble with this government is that while they are think they are born to rule, it turns out they are not very good at it.

A few weeks ago, I asked:

Have you ever seen a more incompetent, hopeless, u-turning, pledge-breaking, make it up as you go along, back of the envelope, miserable shower than this government and this Prime Minister?

What have they done since?

They’ve tried to prove me right.

Just this week:

David Cameron tried to keep his Chief Whip, even though the rest of us could see he had to go.

He made up an Energy policy on Wednesday, without any idea of how he could achieve it.

And he clings to an economic plan that is just not working.

David Cameron: a weak, clueless Prime Minister, who cannot stand up for the interests of this country.

And they are not just incompetent.

Their old answers just don’t work any more.

Trickle-down economics.

Cutting rights at work.

David Cameron calls it the “sink or swim” society.

But you don’t build a successful country with sink or swim.

You do it by building One Nation.

And that is what the next Labour government will do.

Of course, there will still be hard choices.

With borrowing rising not falling this year, I do not promise easy times.

I have said whoever was in government now there would still need to be some cuts.

But this government has shown us cutting too far and too fast, self-defeating austerity, is not the answer.

We would make different but fairer choices including on pay and jobs.

So here is what we would do.

Day one, with me as Prime Minister, we start to give all of our young people a stake in the future.

We will tax the bankers’ bonuses and start putting young people back to work again.

We would build 100,000 homes.

And get our construction workers working again.

We will end the privatisation experiment in the NHS.

And repeal the Tories’ NHS bill.

And to all the small businesses across Britain, I pledge instead of a country that serves its banks, we would have banks that serve our country.

I tell you one cut I would never make:

I would never cut taxes for millionaires while raising taxes for everybody else.

One Nation is a country where those with the broadest shoulders always bear the greatest burden.

One Nation is a country where we give hope to our young people again.

And One Nation is a country where we defend and improve our great institutions, like the National Health Service.

One Nation.

A country united not divided.

A future that works.

A future that Britain builds together.