Ed Miliband has consistently said that he won’t promise anything he may not be able to do, and he hasn’t. His first priority is taking back the money handed out to the wealthy by the Tories, and raising revenue, and that is precisely what he is doing, as well as saving the NHS and repealing the Gagging Act, of course.
It’s worth noting the redistributive pledges, also aimed at generating needed revenue in the meantime:
- Labour vowed to introduce an increased Bankers’ Bonus Tax.
- Ed Balls pledged to reverse the Pension Tax relief that the Tories gifted to millionaires.
- Labour promised to reverse the Tory Tax cut for Hedge Funds.
- Labour have pledged to reverse the £107,000 tax break that the Tories have given to the millionaires.
- Labour will reintroduce the 50p tax.
- Labour will introduce a Mansion Tax on properties worth more than £2 million.
And a Labour government will cut government ministers’ pay by 5% – and block any pay rises until the books are balanced.
- Ed Miliband promised to repeal the Bedroom Tax.
- Labour would freeze gas and electricity bills for every home and business in the UK for at least 20 months, the big energy firms would be split up and governed by a new tougher regulator to end overcharging.
There are more pledges, of course, but these are a darn good STARTING point, to rebuild what the Tories have demolished.
It’s interesting that a YouGov poll finds support for several new Labour policies across the political spectrum – see here for full poll results : LABOUR PARTY’S TAX AND BENEFIT PROPOSALS A HIT WITH VOTERS
A day after Labour leader Ed Miliband’s 68-minute conference speech, many commentators have petulantly preferred to turn their attention to “what he didn’t mention”, rather than what he did. Of course speeches are finite, and are necessarily limited by time. However, Labour did propose a number of policies at the conference that will most likely be included in their address to voters ahead of the next general election in May 2015.
In a survey for the Times Red Box, YouGov tested public opinion on four of the policies and finds them all to be popular, even among those who say they currently plan to avoid Labour at the polls next year….
Perhaps surprisingly, the most popular policy of the four is means-testing the winter fuel payment for pensioners so it no longer goes to the richest 5% of pensioners: fully three-quarters support the policy, while only 18% oppose it.
The progressive tax proposals are also proving popular, across the political spectrum.
72% support and 18% oppose introducing a new tax on properties worth over £2 million, also known as the “mansion tax”. Here Labour voters overwhelmingly support the policy, by 85%-8%, while Conservatives show more muted, but still robust support, at 58%-35%.
The public support increasing the top rate of income tax to 50p for incomes over £150,000, by 65%-23%. This is the only of the four policies not supported by the majority of Conservative voters, who are evenly divided on it 47%-47%.
A Survation poll for Labour List of 1,037 people shows that 72% of the public are in favour of the policy to fund the NHS to the tune of £2.5bn extra a year, partially using taxes against tobacco companies and mansions as well as closing loopholes. Only 12% were against.
Every one of Ed Miliband’s pledges from his speech has popular public support, according to the poll.
The question on participation in the conflict with Isis, on which Miliband’s stance (wait for a UN Security Council Resolution on Syria) also appears to be the most popular one.
The pledges, reiterated at the Conference:
- NHS pledge – Create a “world class” health service. Increasing homecare visits, more nurses, GPs, midwives and careworkers – paid for by clamping down on tax avoidance, using the proceeds of a mansion tax for properties over £2mm and a windfall tax on tobacco
- Minimum wage pledge – Raising the minimum wage by £1.50 to over £8 per hour by 2020, to reward “hard work” and halve the number of people in low pay. (Slightly different to speech as Miliband clarified that it would go “beyond £8”).
- Apprenticeships – By 2025, have as many people doing modern business apprenticeships as currently go to university. Only providing major government contracts to companies that provide apprenticeships.
- Self-employment – Granting the same employment rights for the many self-employed people in the UK that permanent employees have.
- Energy – A commitment to take carbon emissions out of the economy by 2025 and through Green investment banks to allow communities to insulate 5 million homes over 10 years.
- Decentralising Westminster power – Decentralising power from Westminster to the regions, including constitutional reform for England, Wales and Scotland.
- House building – Make house building a top priority and by 2025 “build as many homes the UK needs” doubling the number of first-time buyers.
- Breaking up high street banks – Breaking up the big high street banks in UK to allow more competition, to benefit consumers in financial services.
Check with previous policy promises, gathered from Labour’s site here, it’s certainly a show of consistency: 45 more good reasons to vote labour
“This is exactly the response Labour needed, in advance of next year’s general election. Clearly the general public thinks that Ed Miliband is on the right track.
Of course, the election is still eight months away and much may change in that time. Public opinion is fickle and we may well see polls supporting David Cameron’s plans – or even Nick Clegg’s – before the end of October. (Yes, we mustn’t ever be complacent)
But it’s a big boost for Labour and will give the party the momentum it needs, in order to win the campaign and – if elected – let us hope Miliband will hit the ground running.
Because the UK needs a change, and it can’t come soon enough.”
Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent pictures