miliband

Labour, not the Tories, are the party of clarity and principle on Europe

With his speech last week, Ed Miliband began to even out what for far too long has been a lop-sided debate on Europe, and in my opinion demonstrated a sight more leadership and insight than David Cameron in taking a credible and principled position on the subject. Click here for more…

Labour campaign to ‘freeze that bill’

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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

Ed writes to the energy companies

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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

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

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While the Tories obsess over Europe, ordinary people struggle

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Since the county council elections nearly two weeks ago and the supposed inexorable rise of UKIP, the Conservative Party has been occupied with an old enemy: Europe. The Queen’s Speech, much to the dismay of Tory backbenchers, contained nothing concerning a referendum on British membership of the European Union. Worried about the UKIP ‘threat’ to their seats, Tory MPs, including, unbelievably, cabinet ministers, have been falling over themselves to condemn the EU, call for a referendum and let David Cameron know just how strongly they feel about an issue that is, truthfully, way down the list of priorities for the vast majority of voters. Instead of showing leadership of his party, Cameron is performing his own tribute act to John Major and following it. Except whereas John Major tried to face down the ‘b*stards’ in his own party that sought to undermine him over Europe, Cameron acquiesces to their every demand and indulges their every whim.

A strong leader would not only attempt to assert some kind of control over his party, but also remind them that there are rather more important things at stake. The Queen’s Speech did nothing to help ordinary people who are struggling and nothing to improve our economic situation. U-turns on welfare reforms or tax cuts for the richest would have been welcome as people across the country struggle to make ends meet as a result of these damaging policies that have been implemented over the last month, yet they remain in place. There is still no coherent plan from the government for jobs and growth, more vital than ever as the rate of unemployment increased again today for the second month running, and at the current rate the government will not have eliminated the deficit for another 422 years. This is what the Tories should be agitating over – instead they are only concerned with going back to the 90s and fighting among themselves over Europe. Ed Miliband has rightly said that we should concentrate on the big issues facing people rather than argue over a referendum; Labour, once again, is fighting the corner of ordinary people while the Tories show just how out of touch they really are.

There are few places where the effects of the government’s harmful policies are being felt as much as they are in Birmingham. As the Birmingham Mail reported this week, nearly 2,000 Birmingham residents have requested access to emergency housing funds, an increase of 50% on the previous year, as the effects of the dreadful bedroom tax start to be felt across the city. While the City Council is able to provide some help, thanks to the government, there will still be a massive shortfall and many people suffering from the bedroom tax will not get the help they need. The Council has also secured extra Council Tax Support funding, reducing the burden on the unemployed and people on low incomes, yet this only mitigates the misery imposed by the Tory-led government. In difficult times, Labour is doing whatever it can locally to help those in need and try to build a better city and a better country, while the Tories play games with each other over Europe, ignoring the everyday issues that people face.

There is a debate to be had over Europe, and the EU has much to offer us as a city and as a country. When there are so many other important issues at hand, however, this is not the time for the Tories to be indulging in their favourite past-time of Euroscepticism. Ordinary people are struggling to make ends meet. Birmingham residents will see a government that is not standing up  for them, not acting to improve their lives and not taking into account their fears and concerns, but a government that is distracted by UKIP and its own Eurosceptic backbenchers and is incapable of showing leadership. Labour is doing all it can to ensure a fair deal for Birmingham residents; the Tories appear as though they could not care less.

Made by the Many

Watch Ed Miliband’s vision for an economic recovery made by the many…

We need an economy that works for working people not just the few at the top. That isn’t the economy we have at the moment. Economic growth is flatlining, nearly one million young people are out of work and prices are rising faster than wages. Yet David Cameron is prioritising a tax cut for millionaires while working people pay more.

Labour will support working families and act to bring down household bills.

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