Labour’s manifesto, published today, starts from the idea that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. It shows how, by securing the nation’s finances, we are able to improve the family finances of the working people of Britain.
The very first page of this Manifesto sets out our plan to secure the nation’s finances – with a Budget Responsibility Lock guaranteeing that every manifesto policy is paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing.
People want change, a better future, but they want to know we can make progress while securing the nation’s finances. This Manifesto answers that question with a plan for big reform, not big spending.
This responsible approach contrasts with an increasingly desperate Conservative campaign that is making promises it has no idea how to pay for. There is nothing more dangerous for the NHS than saying you’ll protect it with no idea where the money is coming from. It is an approach that leads to broken promises, with working people paying the price in higher taxes and public services undermined.
Our manifesto starts from a clear commitment to balance the books but does not stop there. On the foundation of a plan to secure the nation’s finances it shows how we improve the family finances of the working people of Britain by:
- Rewarding hard work – by raising the minimum wage, banning exploitative zero hour contracts, freezing energy bills and backing small businesses
- Sharing prosperity – by guaranteeing apprenticeships, cutting tuition fees, getting homes built, and devolving powers to every part of Britain.
- Building a better Britain – ensuring the NHS has time to care, opening up our politics, and being a confident outward looking nation once again.
The very first page of Labour’s manifesto sets out our plan to secure the nation’s finances, with a new Budget Responsibility Lock. It guarantees that:
- Every policy in this manifesto is paid for and does not require additional borrowing.
- A Labour government will cut the deficit every year.
- We will get national debt falling and a surplus on the current budget as soon as possible in the next parliament.
The manifesto sets out a detailed plan to build a better Britain, but without one policy that requires additional borrowing.
Where policies do cost money we have set out how they are paid for. For example:
- A £2.5bn NHS Time to Care fund, from a mansion tax on properties over £2m, a levy on tobacco firms and closing a hedge fund tax avoidance loophole.
- 25 hours of childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds, paid for by increasing the banking levy by £800m.
- Cap class sizes for 5, 6, & 7 year olds, from ending the Free Schools programme.
- Cut business rates for small business properties, from not going ahead with another cut to Corporation Tax.
The current coalition Government has borrowed £200 billion more than they planned in this Parliament, borrowing more in four and a half years than the last Labour Government did in 13 years. George Osborne has broken his fiscal rule that debt should be falling by 2015-16 in five out of 11 Budgets or Autumn Statements.
That failures means the next Labour government will inherit borrowing of £75 billion this year. Some people argue that the deficit simply doesn’t matter if you care about a fair country. That is wrong. It matters because unless there is a strategy for dealing with the deficit it is working people and their public services that end up paying the price.
Labour’s fiscal rules are to get national debt falling and a surplus on the current budget as soon as possible in the next parliament. These are the right rules because they will ensure that tax revenues more than cover day to day spending and prevent debt interest payments from mounting up.
Our tough and balanced approach will balance the books through an economy based on high wages and high skills, common sense spending reductions and fair choices on tax.
The central task of this manifesto is to reward the hard work of families and to share prosperity with them. That is how we can build a better Britain.
In contrast to tax cuts for the richest, Labour will reward hard work with high wage, high skill, high quality jobs. We will give families the security of an NHS with the time to care and build the homes local people. And we will equip young people with the skills and education they need to succeed.
On the foundation of a plan to secure the nation’s finances our manifesto shows how we improve the family finances of the working people of Britain by:
- Raising the minimum wage to more than £8 by October 2019.
- Protecting tax credits in the next parliament, to back working families.
- Introducing guaranteed wrap-around childcare through primary schools, underpinned by a new National Primary Childcare Service.
- Supporting the squeezed middle by pledging not to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT.
- Freezing rail fares in the first year of a Labour Government while we reform the railways.
Today’s announcements are in addition to polices we have already announced to deliver rising living standards, all of which are fully funded, including:
- Banning exploitative zero hour contracts.
- Freezing energy bills until 2017, so they can fall but not rise.
- Action to promote the Living Wage, including tax rebates for firms that become Living Wage employers in the first year of a Labour government.
- A plan to get 200,000 homes built a year, including use it or lose it powers for local authorities to ensure developers build on land that has planning permission.
- Extending free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from 15 to 25 hours a week
You can read the manifesto in full here