Labour Party Conference: Ed Miliband to unveil ten-year plan to build ‘world class’ Britain

Ed Miliband is set to unveil a 10-year plan to build a ‘world class’ Britain, as he addresses activists at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester today.

The NHS is tipped to dominate Mr Miliband’s speech, his last before the general election, after shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the party would do ‘whatever it takes’ to protect it.

Aides say the Labour leader will promise to ‘restore people’s faith in the future’ with his own ‘plan for Britain’s future’.

It is widely expected that Mr Miliband will reveal six key ‘goals’ as part of the rebuilding process, to be completed by 2025, targeting a ‘world class health and care service’ as one of them.

“‘Can anyone build a better future for the working people of Britain?’ That is the general election question,” he will tell activists in Manchester.

“Our task is to restore people’s faith in the future. But the way to do it is not to break up our country. It is to break with the old way of doing things, break with the past.

“I’m not talking about changing a policy, or simply a different programme. But something that is bigger: transforming the idea, the ethic, of how our country is run.”

While pledging greater funds to revitalise the NHS, Mr Miliband will stress vigilance when it comes to public spending, insisting a ‘world class’ country can be achieved without ‘big spending’.

This comes after Shadow chancellor Ed Balls signalled a significant tightening of the party’s spending controls yesterday.

Mr Balls ruled out higher borrowing if they are voted in at the general election, and warned of ‘tough decisions’ such as an extension of real terms cuts to child benefit.

Despite this, aides say Mr Miliband will call for the ‘biggest national effort that we have seen for generations’.

Mr Milband is expected to announce targeting doubling the number of people buying their first homes to 400,000 each year, a pledge aimed at bolstering the country’s youth.

In what Labour is calling their ‘national mission’, the party will target a ‘revolution in apprenticeships’, aiming to match the number of people going to university.

At present four times as many go to university, leaving ‘both young people and businesses without the skills they need to succeed for the future’, he will say.

Labour will also aim to halve the number of low-paid workers and create a million new ‘green’ technology jobs.

“Increasing the number of ‘green’ jobs is the most important thing I can do in politics for the future of my kids and their generation”, he will declare, promising  to catch up with rival powerhouses such as Germany, Japan, the United States, India and China.

He is also expected to pledge to raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020.

Mr Miliband will also lay down plans to double the number of people getting on the housing ladder. 

Another one of the six key goals, Labour will pledge to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.

He will declare that property ownership is ‘that most British of dreams’ but has ‘faded’ for too many young people priced out of the market.

Aides also say Mr Miliband will pledge more help for the ‘growing army of our self-employed, five million working people, so often the most entrepreneurial, go-getting people in our country’.

“They don’t want special treatment,” he will add. “But they do deserve a fair shot: two thirds have no pension, one in five is stopped from getting a mortgage. It is time to end this modern injustice.

“The next Labour government will ensure the self-employed are not locked out of the benefits that come from going out to work.”

The Labour leader will take aim at Mr Cameron and his party, saying ‘the Tories are the party of wealth and privilege.

Adding that ‘Labour is once again the party of hard work fairly-paid’.

In his speech, due to begin at 2.30pm, Mr Miliband will argue that Prime Minister David Cameron has no long-term plan for the six key goals Labour is targeting to rejuvenate by 2025.

The Labour leader will reach out to voters who have become disillusioned and disconnected with modern day with politics, while taking an indirect swipe at their Conservative opposition.

“Strip away all of the sound and fury and what people across England, Scotland and Wales, across every part of the UK, are saying is this country doesn’t care about me. Politics doesn’t listen,” he will say.

“The economy doesn’t work. And they are not wrong. They are right. But this Labour Party has a plan to put it right.

“For Labour, this election is about you. You have made the sacrifices, you have taken home lower wages year after year, you have paid higher taxes, you have seen your energy bills rise, you have seen your NHS decline, you know this country doesn’t work for you.

“We can build that better future for you and your family, wherever you live in the United Kingdom, and this speech is about Labour’s plan to do it: Labour’s plan for Britain’s future.”

Image courtesy of Labour Party, via YouTube, with thanks.

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