EXCLUSIVE: Ed Miliband's speech tomorrow attempts to rebrand Labour as the "party of work"

The Commentator has obtained a copy of what is believed to be Labour leader Ed Miliband's speech at Newham Dockside tomorrow

by The Commentator on 5 June 2013 16:32


Labour leader Ed Miliband is set to give a speech tomorrow at Newham Dockside, in what some have described as another in a long line of efforts to stem the Labour Party's increasingly poor fortunes in polling, and indeed with the party faithful.

Just last week, key Labour donor John Mills insisted that Miliband's party was "policy light" and that the party was failing to adopt a "credible" economic message.

The Commentator can reveal below, the entire release from the Labour Party about Miliband's speech tomorrow, which is billed as a "one nation plan for social security reform". 

But the speech may be viewed as another attempt to rebrand by Labour, as Miliband will admit that, "the next Labour government will have less money to spend."

Seeking to profit on the back of the strivers versus skivers debate that has impacted the voting choices of the electorate. Attempting to set his party alongside the Conservatives and UKIP, Miliband will tomorrow claim, “Labour [is] the party of work - the clue is in the name. Our party was founded on the principles of work."

Critics have already slated Miliband's speech which comes days after his Shadow Chancellow Ed Balls's announcements over cuts was slated by those on the political Right and Left

Neal Lawson, chair of the leftwing pressure group Compass said of Balls's speech, "This is terrible politics from Labour... This small cut to a few pensioners’ benefits will save hardly anything."


Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, will tomorrow (Thursday) set out a One Nation Labour plan for reform of social security which will control costs for taxpayers and ensure the system works better for the people it was designed to serve.

His speech at Newham Dockside will show how Labour will:

1.   cap structural social security spending over three years to cover the period of each spending review

2.   enable local councils to negotiate lower rents, build homes and cut housing benefit costs - rather than paying for the costs of our failure to build

3.   strengthen the route back to employment for parents of three and four year olds in workless households so they can get ready to come off benefits

4.   tackle low pay so that taxpayers’ aren’t left picking up a growing bill

5.   restore the principle of contribution by making people pay into the system for longer to qualify for an improved level of JSA

In the latest in a series of interventions about the next Labour government’s priorities in an era when there is less money around, Mr Miliband will underline the importance he attaches to controlling the costs of social security.

He will say:

“On Monday, Ed Balls gave a speech about how a Labour government would control public spending. The biggest item of expenditure alongside the NHS is the social security budget.

“The next Labour government will have less money to spend. If we are going to turn our economy around, protect our NHS, and build a stronger country we will have to be laser focused on how we spend every single pound. Social security spending, vital as it is, cannot be exempt from that discipline.

“So we will reduce the cost of failure in the social security system including the cost of  long term worklessness and the cost of housing benefit.”

Mr Miliband will set out a clear choice between a Labour plan to control costs by attacking long term problems like persistent unemployment, low pay and housing shortages - and a Tory approach that slices away at individual benefits, leaves people out of work for year after year, and fails to address the causes of rising welfare spending like lack of house building.

He will say:

“Controlling social security spending and putting decent values at the heart of the system are not conflicting priorities. It is only by reforming social security with the right values that we’ll be able to control costs. And it is only by controlling costs that we can sustain a decent social security system for the next generation.”

1. Mr Miliband will announce that Labour would cap structural social security spending in 2015/16 and then in each spending review. The cap would operate over the three years of each spending review. Like that being considered by the Government, Labour’s cap would separate the cyclical costs of social security, which rise with economic downturns, from the long term structural drivers of extra spending ranging from high rents to long term worklessness.

 He will say:

“Today I am delivering a clear statement about One Nation Labour’s principles for social security spending: the next Labour government will use a three-year cap on structural welfare spending to help control social security costs. Such a cap will alert the next Labour government to problems coming down the track and ensure that we make policy to keep the social security budget in limits.”

2. Mr Miliband will set a mission for a One Nation Labour government to turn around spending so it is on bricks and mortar not on housing benefit, beginning with a new plan for local authorities to:

-       make immediate savings by negotiating lower rents with landlords through measures such as bulk purchasing

-       keep costs down in the years ahead by using some of the savings to build new homes

He will say:

“We can’t afford to pay billions on ever-rising rents when we should be building homes to bring down the bill. Thirty years ago for every £100 pounds we spent on housing, £80 was invested in bricks and mortar and £20 was spent on housing benefit. Today, for every £100 we spend on housing, just £5 is invested in bricks and mortar and £95 goes on housing benefit.

“We expect individual families to negotiate with their landlords when we know there aren’t enough houses to go around. It is inevitable that tenants end up paying over the odds - and so does the state, in the housing benefit bill.  It’s time to tackle this problem at source. We can start to bring about the shift from benefits to building. Bringing the housing benefit bill down for the long-term too.”

3. He will show how the Government has allowed long term worklessness to rise to its highest level for a generation while youth unemployment alone last year cost Britain £5billion last year - a cost Britain cannot afford. He will set out plans to:

-       limit the time people can spend out of work through Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee

-       strengthen the route back to employment for parents of three and four year olds in workless households so they can get ready to come off benefits

-       improve tests for disability benefits, like Employment and Support Allowance, so they have the principle of getting into work built in

-       devolve power to local government in how funding for back-to-work schemes is spent

He will say:

“After only three years, just like the Thatcher government, the Tories have a dirty secret about social security: long-term worklessness is now at its highest level for a generation.

“Labour - the party of work - the clue is in the name. Our party was founded on the principles of work. We have always been against the denial of opportunity through the denial of work. And against the denial of responsibility by those who could work and aren’t doing so...This country needs to be a nation where people who can work, do work. Not a country where people who can work are on benefits.”

4. Mr Miliband will set out a series of measures being examined by the policy review to make work pay so the taxpayer doesn’t pick up the bill for low wages. These include:

-          saving money for the Treasury when men and women are paid the living wage – and encouraging private sector employers with grants to make these pay rates sustainable

-          tackling abuse of zero hours contracts and enforcing the minimum wage

-          preventing exploitation of agency workers and outlawing recruitment only from abroad

He will say: “We can’t afford a low wage economy that just leaves the taxpayer facing greater and greater costs. It is only by changing our economy that we can both keep costs under control and make progress towards a fairer society.”

5. Mr Miliband will explain how Labour will begin restoring the contributory principle and faith in the system, instructing the policy review to examine:

-       how we can change contribution-based Job Seekers’ Allowance in a cost-neutral way so that only those who have paid in for significantly longer than two years are eligible and whether that could mean a higher rate than £71 a week.

-       ways of providing extra help through gold standard employment services for older people who have paid into the system and are now trying to get back into work

He will say:

“People’s faith in the system has been shaken by a system that appears to give a minority of people something for nothing and other people nothing for something.

“Currently, after two years of work, someone is entitled to ‘Contributory Job Seekers’ Allowance. They get £71 per week, whether they’ve worked for two years or forty years. Two years of work is a short period to gain entitlement to extra help. And £71 is in no sense a proper recognition of how much somebody who has worked for many decades has paid into the system.

“A longer period of qualification would mean some new claimants would have to work longer than they expected before being entitled to extra support if they lose their job. But greater support for those who have worked for a longer time, providing real recognition of their contribution.”

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