National politics

George Osborne is desperate to stop talking about the cost-of-living crisis on his watch – Balls

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s shadow chancellor, responding to George Osborne’s speech on the economy, said:

“George Osborne is desperate to stop talking about the cost-of-living crisis on his watch. But that won’t stop working people from doing so as they are on average £1600 a year worse off under the Tories and prices are still rising faster than wages.

“Nor will the Chancellor admit the reason why he is being forced to make more cuts is because his failure on growth and living standards has led to his failure to balance the books by 2015.

“This failure means Labour will have to make cuts and in 2015/16 there will be no more borrowing for day-to-day spending. But we will get the deficit down in a fair way, not give tax cuts to millionaires. And we know that the way to mitigate the scale of the cuts needed is to earn and grow our way to higher living standards for all.

“The social security bill is rising under George Osborne, but the best way to get it down for the long-term is to get people into work and build more homes. The Tories should back our compulsory jobs guarantee for young people and the long-term unemployed. And in tough times it cannot be a priority to continue paying the winter fuel allowance to the richest five per cent of pensioners.

“What we need is Labour’s plan to earn our way to higher living standards for all, tackle the cost-of-living crisis and get the deficit down in a fairer way.”

New Year’s Message from Ed

The real story of Cameron’s economy

For many people, this is no recovery at all

George-Osborne_2352896b

George Osborne was in self-congratulatory mood in the House of Commons this morning as he delivered his Autumn Statement. Growth has returned to the economy; borrowing is falling; we are on the road to recovery. Yet the complacent Chancellor failed to recognise the cost-of-living crisis that is engulfing hard-working people in Birmingham and across the country. For many people, whose wages remain low while prices soar, this is no recovery at all.

Osborne remains convinced that his economic strategy is working, and reeled off statistic after statistic that seemed to prove his point. The reality, however, is that despite growth returning, the economy is still under-performing – growth is significantly lower than it was forecast to be in 2010, and the deficit will still be £79 billion in 2015, after we were promised it would be eliminated by then. Three years of stagnation means that Osborne has missed all of his economic targets, and people are suffering as a result; for 98% of the time his government has been in office, prices have risen faster than wages. This is not a recipe for economic success. The plan has been hurting, but it has not been working. While those right at the top continue to  enjoy their tax cuts, everybody else has to contend with bills becoming more unaffordable and stagnating wages, leaving people up to £1,600 a year worse off under the Tory-led government.

Busy patting himself on the back, the Chancellor offered little to those whose living standards are suffering the most. On energy costs, he stopped short of matching Labour’s promise to freeze prices, meaning people in our city will be forced to choose between heating and eating this winter and next; there are more welfare cuts to come, plunging vulnerable people further into difficulty; there remains no commitment to introducing a living wage, or even a substantial increase in the minimum wage. Every time Osborne has the chance to make life easier for ordinary people, he makes things worse. There were some token measures such as the cancellation of the planned rise in fuel duty, but really this was an Autumn Statement that did nothing substantial to help ordinary people. Even if the economy continues to grow, Birmingham residents will rightly have little faith in a plan that does nothing to improve their lives.

Today’s statement did not change anything. The government continues to allow those at the top to get richer while ignoring the declining living standards of the majority of people. The economy may finally be growing again, but George Osborne is still doing nothing to ensure that the recovery reaches everybody. For many people in Birmingham and in Britain, this is no recovery at all.

Labour campaign to ‘freeze that bill’

1375742_10151638851257411_202441859_n

Under Ed Miliband your gas and electricity bills will be frozen until 2017. Saving 27 million households and 2.4 million businesses money. Ed shares why he’d put the interests of consumers before energy companies: http://bit.ly/162o0U7

Kerry Jenkins, Hall Green’s Labour Candidate for 2014 said:

“Under David Cameron, Britain’s families are facing a cost of living crisis. Prices have risen faster than wages in 38 of the 39 months that David Cameron has been in Downing Street and energy bills have gone up by almost £300. David Cameron only stands up for the privileged few. His failure to tackle rip-off bills has meant that many people in Hall Green are struggling to pay their bills.

“Ed Miliband says Labour will freeze prices until the start of 2017 if Labour wins the next election. This will save a typical household £120 a year and this will be a huge help for many who are facing a cost of living crisis. I welcome this pledge but the reality is that people round here need help now so I’m calling on David Cameron to freeze our bills now.”

“For that to happen, we need as many people as possible to support this campaign, sign the petition and get involved. We will be launching this campaign on Saturday 9th November and you can visit us outside the Co-Op on the Stratford Road, B28 8AS between 10 and 12.”

You can sign the petition at http://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/david-cameron-freezethatbill

For the doorstep…

Britain can do better than this…

David Cameron isn’t going to solve the cost of living crisis…

I want to win this fight for Britain…

Repeal of the bedroom tax…

A recovery for all…

Ed writes to the energy companies

Ed-Miliband_1519091c

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, has today written to energy companies calling on them to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, in making the energy market work in the future.

The full text of the letter is below.

In recent years we have discussed the need to rebuild public trust in the energy market many times. I think we all agree on the importance of that objective if we are to build a market that both delivers for consumers and underpins the investment in future clean energy capacity that we all want to see.

Our intention is to now reset the market that has consistently failed to secure the confidence of the public or the investment Britain needs. Doing that requires two steps.

First, it means legislating to build competition and transparency into the market, with a trusted regulator standing behind the system. Second, it means ensuring that in the time it takes to put a new system in place, up to the start of 2017, we ensure the prices paid by consumers do not rise.

A fairer market for consumers must be matched by a better deal for investors. So we have also committed to set a 2030 power sector decarbonisation target; hold to the system of contract for difference in the Energy Bill; create an Energy Security Board with responsibility for identifying our energy needs and providing a clear framework to deliver this; and give the Green Investment Bank borrowing powers to support investment.

We believe that this framework will create certainty and attract the range of domestic and international investors we need in the years ahead.

I appreciate that you will not welcome all aspects of this package. But it is my firm view that without resetting the market we are not going to see the public consent that is required to underpin the scale of taxpayer backed guarantees for which you have argued.

I am prepared to make the case for sharing the risks of such investment, but that must be against the backdrop of a market that customers believe works for them.

You and I know that the public have lost faith in this market. There is a crisis of confidence. We face a stark choice. We can work together on the basis of this price freeze to make the market work in the future. Or you can reinforce in the public mind that you are part of the problem not the solution.

This is a genuine opportunity to reset the energy market in the interest of consumers and investors. Caroline Flint and I stand ready to work with you on these proposals in the months ahead. I look forward to continuing to discuss them with you.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

Ed’s Conference 2013 Speech

Ed the action hero… here it is in full

Britain and Birmingham can do better with Labour

Ed-Miliband-One-Nation-Mental-Health-speechThe leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, has just delivered his speech to the party’s conference in Brighton. In it, he confirmed a number of policies, in addition to others announced over the last two days by the shadow cabinet, aimed at helping ordinary people in tough times. He proclaimed that ‘Britain can do better than this’; a message that will ring true across Birmingham, so severely punished by the Conservative-led government. In Birmingham we know that it is only under Labour that things can get better.

The Tories will spend next week in Manchester congratulating themselves on what a marvelous job they think they have done on the economy. They think that they have saved the economy and the country; but while they pat each other on the back, life continues to get harder for the majority of people. Wages are falling while prices are rising; a million young people are out of work; childcare is becoming more unaffordable for those who need it most; energy costs are soaring; rents are increasing and young people are finding it harder to find a home; the neediest who are having their benefits cut are being stigmatised by cabinet ministers for using foodbanks. The government thinks it has secured the recovery, yet the majority of people in Birmingham and across Britain feel that the government has done nothing for them. It may be back to business for  those at the top, but the rest of us continue to be squeezed.

This is why Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have set out real help for families. Expanding free childcare for 3-4 year-olds; guaranteeing childcare for primary school children; building 200,000 new homes a year until 2020; capping energy prices; strengthening the minimum wage and encouraging a living wage; a Jobs Guarantee for unemployed young people; repealing the bedroom tax. Despite what the Conservatives will say, these are policies that will  not wreck the recovery, but make life easier for the majority of ordinary people. They say the recovery should protect their interests at the top of society – Labour says it should make life better for all.

Today, we can see what Britain will look like with Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. A fairer country, where the economic recovery is made by the majority for the majority, not in the interests of those at the top. A Labour government will improve life for people across Birmingham and across Britain. Our city and our country are better off under Labour.

No real winners in war

David Cameron chairs No 10 meeting 28 August

This morning I wrote to our MP, Roger Godsiff expressing my concerns with regard to Cameron’s apparent  ‘need for speed’ to enter into military intervention in Syria.

If chemical weapons have been used then those responsible must be must be dealt with in an international court. It is imperative that Western intervention must not be the reactive response that Cameron was suggesting. This ‘we must do something response’ that results in purely reactive action, will ultimately be ill thought out. This lesson should have already been learnt with the Iraq war and the heavy price paid.

Intervention yes, but not military intervention. Action needs to be taken into working towards and ensuring the success of a UN-brokered peace process involving all the local and regional players. This is the only solution and this can only come after the inspectors have been in and reported on all of the facts.

I am sure that many of you share my concerns which I have asked Roger to take forward to the debate tomorrow. I also asked him to vote against any calls for immediate military intervention. For the Syrian people their situation will only get worse as their nightmare continues. There are never any real winners in war.

Without Labour’s support, and the support of many of his backbenchers and Lib Dem’s, Cameron’s plans for military action will have been defeated in the Commons tomorrow.  This means that tomorrow’s vote in the House of Commons will no longer be about authorising the use of British military force following the amendment put forward by Labour:

This House expresses its revulsion at the killing of hundreds of civilians in Ghutah, Syria on 21 August 2013; believes that this was a moral outrage; recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons; makes clear that the use of chemical weapons is a grave breach of international law; agrees with the UN Secretary General that the UN weapons inspectors must be able to report to the UN Security Council and that the Security Council must live up to its responsibilities to protect civilians; supports steps to provide humanitarian protection to the people of Syria but will only support military action involving UK forces if and when the following conditions have been met:

  1. The UN weapons inspectors, upon the conclusion of their mission in the Eastern Ghutah, being given the necessary opportunity to make a report to the Security Council on the evidence and their findings, and confirmation by them that chemical weapons have been used in Syria;
  2. The production of compelling evidence that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of these weapons;
  3. The UN Security Council having considered and voted on this matter in the light of the reports of the weapons inspectors and the evidence submitted;
  4. There being a clear legal basis in international law for taking collective military action to protect the Syrian people on humanitarian grounds;
  5. That such action must have regard to the potential consequences in the region, and must therefore be legal, proportionate, time-limited and have precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of prohibited chemical weapons in Syria; aan
  6. That the Prime Minister reports further to the House on the achievement of these conditions so that the House can vote on UK participation in such action.

This House further notes that such action relates solely to efforts to deter the use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any wider action in Syria.

The full text of the Government’s motion on Syria can be read here

Share Button

We’re Rebuilding Britain