Thursday, 20 November 2014


We hear a lot of talk from the government about the economic recovery but there is little of this talk in Wigan.

Instead, people talk to me about how they are worried about their jobs, their wages and their children’s futures. I’ve lost count of the number of young people who’ve told me that they are able to make a decent living but unable to afford to buy a house.

And other people have asked me why they are on zero hours contracts while some at the top seem to get away with paying zero tax. It’s time to end that zero-zero economy that’s created a deeply unequal, deeply unfair, deeply unjust country that says ‘as long as those at the top are doing ok, our country is doing ok too’.

The Tories’ view is that low pay is the only way we can compete in the world and that insecurity is the way you make working people work harder. They believe that markets will always get the right outcome, even if that means powerful interests like energy companies and banks have all the power.

And UKIP think that working mothers aren’t worth as much as men, that life was easier when there wasn’t equality for gay and lesbian people and that the NHS would be better off privatised

But you can’t build a vision of the future if you don’t believe in equal rights. You can’t succeed as a country if you try to close yourself off from the world. And you can’t make a fairer country if you try to destroy our National Health Service.

These are failed ideas which are neither inescapable nor inevitable. The Tories don’t have the answers because they don’t understand the problem. There is an alternative and the next Labour government will make it its mission to change our economy so it works for everyday people, and not just a privileged few at the top.

I believe that we can make a real difference in local people’s lives. With Ed Miliband as Prime Minister we’ll create an £8 minimum wage, ban exploitative zero hours contracts, freeze energy bills until 2017, cut business rates, create extra apprenticeships and build thousands more new homes every year.

Labour’s vision is one where everyone who works hard is rewarded and where broken markets are reformed so that vested interests serve the public and not the other way round. We want to ensure that the next generation does better than the last and that wages are protected and not undercut by immigration.

Like every country round the world, Britain is susceptible to waves of change which create opportunities as well as challenges. The question is who is best to control these forces on behalf of everyday people. The answer is Labour.

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