Our country’s levels of inequality and injustice are not like the weather.
The fact Britain has around half a million long term unemployed and many more on low pay and precarious conditions is the result of conscious policies – exploitation and a lack of investment in Britain and its people. The housing crisis is the result of a failure to build and maintain enough social housing and to control rents. Foodbanks are the product of welfare cuts and a threadbare safety net that is failing people.
I believe we can do so much better than this – and under my leadership, the next Labour government will take the bold steps necessary to end this decline and transform Britain.
Last year, I was proud to be elected as the Leader of the Labour Party on the back of a wave of hope and optimism that provided such a stark contrast to the disempowerment that so many people felt with politics. It wasn’t, and isn’t, about me. It is about all of us.
The central issue we face is how to translate these feelings of hope into a real and appealing agenda for government. My campaign to be re-elected leader of the Labour party this summer has laid out some proposals.
We will end Westminster’s neglect of communities across the country, with a £500 billion investment programme. A National Investment Bank and a series of regional banks will transform local economies and direct resources to the areas that need them. We will create a million good jobs and build a million new homes, including half a million council homes.
Under a Labour government, Britain will become a country that makes things again. We will invest in the infrastructure – the research and development, skills and supply chains – that manufacturing needs to thrive. These will be the green jobs of the future – with hundreds of thousands finding skilled and rewarding work in renewable energy and in the building of a new generation of zero-carbon homes.
Having a thriving economy means having infrastructure that connects people – so we will not only bring railways and local buses back into public hands and bring down fares, we will invest in quality transport networks across the country. And we will make sure that every community is connected with proper broadband and internet coverage.
The National Health Service is Labour’s greatest and proudest achievement – so we will fund it properly, pay staff the decent wages they deserve, integrate social care, and end the scandal of private providers and PFI ripping off the taxpayer.
And we will create a National Education Service to sit alongside it. This will be a universal public service, free for all – with maintenance grants reinstated, tuition fees abolished and schools accountable to the local communities they serve. We cannot afford to waste Britain’s creativity and intelligence – not just for the economy’s sake, but because we want a better, more humane society.
These are the policies that can ensure that not only is no one left behind, but that everyone has the chance to thrive and be happy. I believe – and polling indicates – that they are popular in society at large, well beyond the membership of the Labour Party. My priority as Labour Party leader is to win power so that we can implement this vision.
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