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It’s Labour’s costed offers & structural change v Tory flash unfunded ‘giveaways’

David Cameron visits Jaguar Land RoverLabour’s biggest handicap now is that still too few people on the doorstep realise the magnitude of what the party is offering either in terms of specific policy changes that will benefit the great majority of people or the longer-term structural changes that will turn around a broken economy. The immediate controls on the rip-offs of the ‘priced-out generation’ – the minimum wage to rise by a third from £6.50 an hour to more than £8, the freeze on energy bills till 2017 and the cap on rail fares, serious restrictions to zero-hours contracts, a new 10p starting rate of tax at the bottom matched by a rise in the top rate to 50p, etc. – are fairly well understood (though not yet by all). But the more important proposed structural reforms are not.

That means transforming an economy from one where the richest always win and the poorest always lose to one based on recognition of mutual obligations. It includes controls on runaway corporate pay by requiring staff to have places on remuneration committees, shaking up the over-mighty Big 4 banks to ensure priority for British manufacturing and jobs, re-writing shareholder responsibilities to focus on building long-term market share rather than short-term profiteering, and much else. But these are much less understood. Yet these, and a host of related policies, are the key to reversing a failed economy.

Then there is the panoply of social policies which will make profoundly improve life for the squeezed generation in so many ways – the female-friendly agenda on childcare, the cut in tuition fees, the end to the bedroom tax, Sure Start revived, guaranteed breakfact and after-school clubs, reforming the cruel work capability assessment ‘fir for work’ test, legislation to end violence against women and girls, capping class sizes at 30 for pupils aged 5-7, a major drive for energy efficiency, creating a million green jobs in 10 years to cut domestic costs through a boost to renewables as well as protect the environment, and many more such reforms. Labour would do well to concentrate on putting out a leaflet for every household in the country briefly spelling out these key new policies and what they would mean for people.

The Tories by contrast have highlighted big new ‘giveaways’, not only expensive further tax cuts for the very rich, but an inheritance tax cut for the richest 6% who alone would benefit, an unfunded £8bn for the NHS crippled by their own £20bn previous cuts, and now the offer of Right to Buy for 1.3m families living in (private) housing association properties. These properties are not ‘free’ to ‘giveaway’ – they are financed every year by the public purse funded by taxpayers. It is not explained how the sacrifice of these assets, together with enormous discounts up to £102,000 per house, can be justified at the expense of every one else who pays taxes.

2 Comments

  1. Barry Ewart says:

    Yes it would have helped if Labour had nailed the Tories on the big lie that it was Labour that caused the financial crisis whilst most on the left know it was the banks and sub-prime lending in the US – see Freddie Mac, Fannie May, Lehman Bros et al. New Labour were a bit to keen to cosy up to the banks whilst the Tories wanted less regulation. But Labour was competent in saving the banks and avoiding chaos and panic plus kept the cashpoints flowing but what would the Tories have done? They never say – they believe in free markets and not intervening so would they have let the banks fail?
    So was it a case re the banks of Labour Competence v Tory Potential Chaos?
    But I think with the Tory quantitative easing of £1.3tr to buy off the financial crisis for a few years we have a clue that they would probably have done exactly the same as Labour and saved the banks.
    So the Tories continue to peddle the lie but unfortunately history keeps throwing up more evidence – J P Morgan Chase fined 13b dollars for their role in sub-prime lending in 2013, City Group fined £4b in July 2014 and now Bank New York Mellon’s London Branch has just been fined £126m by the City Regulator for failing to fully comply with the new rules post the 2008 Lehman Bros sub-prime lending collapse.
    The price of saving the banks was high -£153b of debt and Osborne promised to clear this in 5 years but it is down by only £60b but I think as Burke here pointed out £44b has come from the VAT rise from 17-20% and overseas investment here is up to £23b probably attracted by our cheap labour and weakened employment law and restrictions on unions.
    So austerity it could be argued by itself has completel failed but it could be argued austerity has always been about the key Neo-Liberal political agenda of buiding a cheap labour paradise.
    With quantitative easing Steeck has argued the rich and powerful haven’t a clue what to do about the global financial crisis whilst some on the left argue we need state led public long-term investment to meet global need and this will regrow the global economy win, win!
    For the anti-Labour critics they need to understand Labour has moved on an inch from New Labour but that inch is important.
    So re the debt – time for Labour to nail the Tories!

  2. Robert says:

    Nice picture of Cameron with Miliband behind him.

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