George Osborne constantly claims that the economy is only safe under a Tory government, however, the Autumn Statement today made clear that the Tories have entirely failed to deliver on their promise to reduce the deficit.
Under the Tories the average employee is now at least £1600 worse off per year, wages are stagnant, jobs are insecure and many people in my constituency are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. This is all while they give millionaires a tax cut.
Low pay combined with higher housing costs and a failure to deliver benefit reform has driven social security costs higher – £25 billion more than George Osborne budgeted.
Little wonder then, that in the Chancellor’s autumn statement, he failed either to mention that he has wholly failed to deliver his deficit reduction plan or that the deficit is estimated to rise once again by a further £12.5 billion.
Labour’s strategy will be different, it will be fair. Our strategy would be centred on jobs and growth because an economy is more productive when pay scales are not settled by a race to the bottom.
We will tackle the wages crisis by halving the number of people on low pay, by increasing the minimum wage and by driving up to the living wage.
We will also put people back to work with a tax on bankers’ bonuses -; this will fund the compulsory jobs guarantee available to the long term unemployed. It is far better to have people in work, and paying taxes, rather than being on benefits and unproductive.
We will also build 200,000 houses a year by the end of the Parliament which will put people back to work as well as fulfilling an urgent social need.
We will help to make work pay for working parents by expanding free care for children aged 3 and 4 by increasing the bank levy. We will also stop the race to the bottom by dealing with unscrupulous use of zero hours, unethical employment agencies and other inappropriate labour market practices
Our actions will be guided by the principles of fairness and efficiency. It is not right that millionaires were given a tax cut by this government when others are struggling to get by. It is only right that those with the broadest shoulders should bear their share.