The CBI and 100 business leaders are warning the consequences of a Tory “Hard Brexit” will cause massive damage to our economy and to business. This Government is prepared to sacrifice our living standards and scapegoat migrants to satisfy the right wing of their own party. Instead of proposals to publish divisive foreign worker lists, thankfully now abandoned by Amber Rudd, we need to show that Britain still remains open to attracting workers who bring many benefits to our economy.
Our policies are popular – even with the Tories At the same time, the Tories are trying to claim our ideas on investing in the economy to promote growth, and employee representation on boards to reform corporate governance. Given these polices are proving popular, Labour’s task now is to step up and become a Government-in-waiting.
Our plans for a National Investment Bank would help to create jobs and wealth while delivering the modern infrastructure which employers and others tell us we need. We’ll be designing an industrial strategy that can deliver growth right across the UK. We’ll be strengthening trade union rights to redress the balance of power, and designing a welfare system which is better able to support the self-employed.
Low pay must be a priority But most urgently of all we need to tackle the scourge of low pay in the economy the Tories have created. It simply cannot be right that over half of all those in poverty are in work, and it will only get worse as the Government’s cuts to Universal Credit leave millions worse off. Decent pay is not just fundamentally right: it’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for Britain.
That’s why I announced recently that the next Labour Government will bring in a real Living Wage. An independent review body – not whatever government is in power at the time – will calculate what is needed for people to live on: and current forecasts are that this is likely to be over £10 per hour by 2020.
Of course some businesses will struggle, at least initially, to pay everyone this higher rate. Small and medium sized enterprises in particular may worry that they can’t afford it; which is why our Living Wage Review Body will also advise us on where and how we can provide businesses with support that this historic step forward in improving living standards won’t impact on employment. Decent pay is not just fundamentally right: it’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for Britain.
We can win the argument again The minimum wage was one of the greatest achievements of the Labour Government elected in 1997. Though the Tories threatened it would cause mass unemployment, working together we proved them wrong and won the argument. Working together, we can defeat them again and deliver radical solutions to make millions of hardworking people in Britain better off. Together we can rebuild and transform Britain so that nobody and no community is left behind.
Inews: Monday October 10th 2016