Ed Miliband vowed to go door-to-door holding ‘four million conversations’ with the working people of Britain to win Labour’s ‘once-in-a-generation fight’ against the Conservative Party.
During a speech to launch Labour’s battle to win the 2015 general election in Salford this morning, Mr Miliband assured the public that despite the party being a financial underdog, a localised, grassroots campaign to put the working class first would lead them to victory.
He told Greater Manchester activists that the interests of young people and small businesses aiming to compete in the market would be at the forefront of his manifesto.
Mr Miliband said: “It is a plan that says that all those who go out to work are as important and valuable to our country as those who get the six figure bonuses.
“That means raising the minimum wage to more than £8 an hour and dealing with the scandal of zero hour contracts.
“It means supporting the wealth, creating businesses of the future in green industries that create those good jobs that reward hard work.
“In an era of hard choices, it means putting cuts in business rates for small firms that will create most of the jobs of the future ahead of further tax cuts for large corporations.”
He added that there would be a ‘revolution in vocational training’ that would aim to have as many young people on apprenticeships as in university.
There was also a pledge to public services, and an assurance that the NHS would be ‘protected and nurtured for generations to come’.
Mr Miliband’s promises included guaranteed GP appointments within 48 hours and one-week waits for cancer tests.
The NHS spending boost would be funded by the introduction of a mansion tax for the richest homeowners in the country and not by additional borrowing.
Mr Miliband also called for reforms to immigration controls and Europe, but he praised the contribution of immigrants to the economy and warned against leaving the EU.
The opposition leader also used his speech to criticise the Conservative Party and their economic policy.
He said: “For the first time since the 1920s, working people will be worse off at the end of a government than they were at the beginning.
“They’ve even failed on the one thing they claim to care about most. The deficit. David Cameron promised to eliminate the deficit by 2015. Well, 2015 is now here. And so is the deficit.
“And the deficit is still here for a very simple reason – because it turns out if you depress wages and lack any real economic plan other than tax cuts for the wealthy, it doesn’t just fail working people, it fails to balance the books.”
Since the speech people have taken to social media to voice their opinions on Labour’s policies and pledges for this year’s general election.
— Salford Young Labour (@SalfordYoungLab) January 5, 2015
Miliband’s performance pretty good here. Similar in tone to his Senate House speech last month
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) January 5, 2015
Image courtesy of BBC, via YouTube, with thanks.