Keir Starmer made his most significant speech as Labour leader today, setting out his vision for a “new chapter for Britain”.
Declaring that there can be “no return to business as usual”, the Labour leader set out his vision of a “new partnership” between government and business that “tackles inequality, invests in the future and builds a more secure and prosperous economy.”
Key announcements include proposals to introduce a new British Recovery Bond to allow people who have accumulated savings during the pandemic to “have a proper stake in Britain’s future.” Households could purchase bonds that would raise billions for the National Infrastructure Bank that could be used to support British businesses and create the infrastructure for the future. Labour would also provide start-up loans for 100,000 new businesses.
On the Tories
“The terrible damage caused by the virus to health and prosperity has been all the worse because the foundations of our society had been weakened over a decade”.
“If you can’t decide whether to plunge hundreds of thousands of children into poverty by cutting Universal Credit, you have no chance of mending our broken social security system.
“If you vote against children getting free school meals, you’re not going to find the solution to millions of children growing up in poverty.
“If you can’t support three million self-employed people, but you can spray billions on contracts that don’t deliver for our NHS, you’re not going to be able to build the economy of the future.
“And if you freeze pay for millions of key workers, you’re hardly going to build the high wage, high standards Britain we need to be.
“Despite the scale of the moment, all we can expect from this government is more of the same. A roadmap to yesterday.”
On the Budget
“In a few weeks’ time, we will have a Budget that will be a fork in the road.
“We can go back to the same insecure and unequal economy that has been so cruelly exposed by the virus or we can seize this moment and go forward to a future that is going to look utterly unlike the past.
“That choice will define the Budget and it will define the next election.”
Starmer called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to use the Budget to:
• Reverse planned cuts to Universal Credit
• Give local councils the funding they need to prevent council tax rises.
• Extend the business rate holiday and the VAT cut for hospitality and leisure.
On the economy
“Under my leadership, Labour’s priority will always be financial responsibility. I know the value of people’s hard-earned money – I take that incredibly seriously – and I know that people rightly expect the government to look after it too.
“To invest wisely and not to spend money we can’t afford. Those are my guiding principles. But I think that Covid has shifted the axis on economic policy: both what is necessary and what is possible have changed.
“The age in which Government did little but collect and distribute revenue is over. The mistakes of the last decade have made sure of that.
“I believe people are now looking for more from their Government – like they were after the Second World War.
“They’re looking for Government to help them through difficult times, to provide security and to build a better future for them and their families.
“They want a Government that knows the value of public services not just the price in the market.”
“A Government that invests in British skills, science, universities and manufacturing that provides world-class education for our children and whose driving mission it is to tackle inequalities from birth.
“They want a Government that can ensure people don’t have to leave their home town to have a chance of getting a good job or to leave university with crippling debt.
“That can build a new generation of affordable homes – and not stand idly by while millions are denied the dream of homeownership.
“They want a Government that can shape the future of work, harness the opportunities of automation and technology that will ensure care homes are places of dignity in retirement.
“They want a Government that reflects our values on the global stage: and that puts tackling the climate emergency at the centre of everything we do.
“This is what I mean when I talk of a future where Britain can be the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.
“But none of this is possible if you don’t believe in the power of good Government and the need to create a new partnership between an active Government and enterprising business.”