One Nation Labour is on the side of working people

February 16, 2013 11:01 am

For too long, those who’ve worked the hardest have been the least rewarded.

The last Labour government did a lot to help with measures like the minimum wage and tax credits designed to make work pay. But it did not do enough.

And, under this government, we have an economic policy that consists only of trickle down from the top, a relentless squeeze on the middle and a race to the bottom which Britain cannot win.

Unless we change course, the burden on working people is going to grow – year after year after year.

That’s why Ed Miliband has outlined a vision for a One Nation economy that puts prosperity and fairness together as equal partners for working people. As one of the foundation stones of a recovery made by the many, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have said we want to reintroduce a 10p band for income tax paid for by a new mansion tax on houses worth more than £2 million.

And alongside fairness for working people this kind of One Nation thinking is also the best way to deliver a successful economy. By doing what we can to ease the burden on tens of millions of hard-working families rather than hand out more money to the already rich, we can begin restoring the confidence of people that they have a government and an economy which will work for them.

Time and again we have seen how this Government is for the 1%, not the 99%. When working people are earning less and paying more, the Tories are cutting taxes for the very richest in society. It’s not fair, it’s no way to build a successful economy, and it’s not on.

So many working families are finding life really tough at the moment. They do the right thing, get up early, work a long day but still they struggle to make ends meet. Many of them get tax credits to top up their income as without them work wouldn’t pay – and the Tories are hitting these people hardest.

In my constituency of Gedling, near Nottingham, 7,100 families are currently in receipt of tax credits. They are being asked to pay the price of Tory failure and to shoulder the burden of these cuts while those who earn over £1million are getting a handout.

Because the Tories would have us believe that it’s the shirkers who are affected by their cut to tax credits. But it turns out it isn’t true. The truth is that six out of ten people hit by these cuts are people who get up every morning and go to work. In my constituency, like many others, that is the factory worker on the night shift, the carer who looks after elderly people around the clock and the new mum who will lose her maternity pay. These are people David Cameron and George Osborne never meet and whose lives they will never understand.

But the truth is that sometimes the last Labour government also failed to understand the needs of working people. And in opposition, we have had to work to regain their trust and confidence so that they know we are on their side and always should be and will be. Ed Miliband has shown this week that he is committed to that, and that One Nation Labour is committed to that.

Because the people that are losing out in Britain aren’t skivers; they’re strivers. It’s hard-working people, trying to do the right thing, who are paying the price for the Tories’ economic failures.

I think working families in Gedling who are feeling the pinch will be angry at a government that leaves them worse off, but gives £100,000 to every millionaire.

Because however they try to spin it, the Tories can’t hide the truth – they’re cutting taxes for millionaires while millions are struggling to make ends meet. This is an out of touch government making the wrong choices and standing up for the wrong people.

One Nation Labour believes that we should be helping the grafters and triers, those who work hard and those who’ve worked hard all their lives. The working parents struggling with childcare costs. The pensioner who can’t afford the rising price of electricity and gas. The commuter who is being ripped off by train companies on their journey to work. Ordinary people need a government that acts in their interests, not vested interests. That’s why our approach is different to this government, and the last government.

One Nation Labour is on the side of working people. One Nation Labour will stand up for working people. And under Ed Miliband’s leadership, One Nation Labour will create a One Nation economy that delivers prosperity for working people.

Vernon Coaker is MP for Gedling and Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary

  • Amber_Star

    “One Nation Labour is on the side of working people. One Nation Labour will stand up for working people. And under Ed Miliband’s leadership, One Nation Labour will create a One Nation economy that delivers prosperity for working people.”

    ————

    Vernon has convinced me that Alan Giles is correct: We need to calm down with the One Nation thing; either Vernon is being facetious or he’s overdosed on the kool-aid!

    • aracataca

      Alan Giles correct? Do me a favour Amber.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        What happens if Alan makes a wise comment about something that normal Labour would also like and agree with? I’d imagine that you’d explode with rage, simply because it is Alan commenting. But he’d still be right, and the big Labour party would keep on rolling, ignoring your little local and ignorable upset (and, let us face it, you and I in East Anglia are not going to be of interest to Labour, as it is tory-land. you can choose to spend your money in being a member, but it is never going to buy you anything). After all, the dog barks, and the caravan moves on. An old Arab proverb, but popularised by Truman Capote.

        • aracataca

          ‘If you are paying subscriptions to a CLP in East Anglia, it is a total waste of your money’.

          Are you offering to be my financial adviser? Thanks, but no thanks.

        • aracataca

          ‘If you are paying subscriptions to a CLP in East Anglia, it is a total waste of your money’.

          Are you offering to be my financial adviser? Thanks, but no thanks.

      • Amber_Star

        Can we at least agree that Vernon has gone a bit OTT with the ‘one nation’ references? :-)

        • AlanGiles

          I just hope our Vernon isn’t related to trombonist Henry Coaker (sometimes spelt “Coker” 1919-1979) who graced the trombone section of the Count Basie band in the 50s and 60s. A smooth toned, inventive musician who rarely repeated himself and spurned cliche’!

    • JoeDM

      It does remind one somewhat of Cameron’s “Big Society” puff pre-2010.

    • JoeDM

      It does remind one somewhat of Cameron’s “Big Society” puff pre-2010.

    • AlanGiles

      Thanks Amber for the support. It is my honest opinion that if Labour MPs and shadow ministers keep repeating the same few words (and I STILL say we will never have “one nation” in this country however much we might want it), they will eventually bore the public.
      When it’s not “1N” it’s “hard-working families” mentioned by Balls three times in three minutes on the World at One on Thursday, ( and that sounds as if they are not that interested in the retired and people who cannot work through circumstance – health or continuing unemployment) and even on occassion “the many not the few”.
      Actions really do speak louder than words and rather than photoshoots in Greggs and other gimmicks Labour need to find a realistic and deliverable policy or two: “Borrowing” the LibDems mansion tax, or saying that Brown was wrong to stop the 10p tax (we could all have told them that years ago), really does not cut it.
      Labour will probably win in 2015, not because they are brilliant but because the Coalition is so inept, ineffective and crass, they will appear to be the lesser of two evils, BUT if they want to be more than a one-term replacement they need to try far harder than they are doing now.
      They must be rwealistic. We would all like to see an end to famine, disease and a cure for all cancers, but being pragmatic, we know we cannot promise these things,because sadly it is not possible. Neither is “one nation”

  • Richard Williams

    It isn’t on the side of working people. I’m a working person. Here’s my story…I am 63 with many years of experience in creating jobs. I earn £150K+ and live in a £1.75m house. I have created 100+ jobs and paid £60K stamp duty when I bought my house. I paid massive taxes when I sold my business, I’m taxed heavily on income and simply can’t see an incentive to carry on working. I’d happily start another business (this current one is my second) and create more jobs for young people, but really, why would I do it when it’s easier to pack up and sit at home quietly? Please, someone understand that we need to incentivise people like me to keep taking risks to create jobs for all these young people who aren’t working and would love to be.

  • Daniel Speight

    So Vernon there is a measurement of income (in)equality that I have mentioned once or twice on LL. It’s called the Gini Coefficient. From the end of WWII up until the 1970s it was showing a slow move towards a more equal level of incomes. With the rise of the neo-liberal economic concensus under Thatcher and Reagan the gap widened. To Labour’s shame this continued under the Blair and Brown governments. As Roy Hattersley pointed out ‘New’ Labour functionaries told him very early on that equality was a word they rather he no longer used.

    So how about a commitment from the shadow cabinet that if Labour forms the next government they will use progressive taxation and other methods such as limiting top public service job salaries to reverse this trend. Let’s get back to Labour being a social democratic party.

  • Nobby

    One nation labour is on the side of working people , although most working people dont think he is talking about them as he frames it in a way that we all know he is talking about people on less than 20k per year. Labour isnt speak to the nation as one , they dont represent middle England as they are offering them nothing , the one nation slogan for me very cringy and needs to go.

  • Nobby

    One nation labour is on the side of working people , although most working people dont think he is talking about them as he frames it in a way that we all know he is talking about people on less than 20k per year. Labour isnt speak to the nation as one , they dont represent middle England as they are offering them nothing , the one nation slogan for me very cringy and needs to go.

  • David Pavett

    “That’s why Ed Miliband has outlined a vision for a One Nation economy that puts prosperity and fairness together as equal partners for working people.”

    At first glance this sounds reasonable, and even radical, to someone with little political experience and virtually no knowledge of history. When examined more closely, however, what has been called the “floaty one-nation rhetoric” (Andrew Rawnsley) turns out to be offering only a mirage of a shiny new and fairer society.

    What do “fairness” and “equal partners” mean in the context of a world market dominated by giant corporations?

    That is not perhaps a very polite question to ask in one-nation Labour circles in which people are starting to convince themselves that our “national story” is one of great one-nation progress from the industrial revolution onwards (see Ed Miliband’s Bedford speech). On the other hand this stuff is rank nonsense and this needs to be said often and loudly before such nonsense becomes a new “common sense” as a result of endless repetition. Read some history, Britain in the 19th century was not a story of one-nation progress and it is completely fatuous to suggest that it was.

    But, to return to “fairness”, what is the criterion involved? What makes one income compared to another fair? Is it some subjective notion of social justice? If so then we have to admit that this is a criterion notable only for its utter vagueness and mutually contradictory assertions. Or is it the reality of the markets in which international companies work? If workers in another country work for less to produce the same products then this provides downward pressure on wages. If competition for top jobs, like top footballers, produces incredibly inflated incomes then what is fair and unfair. Does Labour have some other criterion? If so it is keeping quiet about it. If it does not have an alternative then “fairness” is entirely empty rhetoric designed to capture the imagination of an electorate presumed too ignorant to see the obvious flaws.

    This cannot be a sensible way forward for a party with radical intentions.

    Broadly similar comments apply to the idea of workers and bosses being “equal partners”. Who out there actually believes this nonsense?

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