Khan: “inequality is the defining issue of our age” and what Labour will do about it

10th June, 2014 9:29 am

Today Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan will outline how the next Labour government would go about addressing economic inequality in the UK.

Sadiq Khan

Following an article in the The Mirror in May, in which he called for Labour to be bold when it comes to tackling inequality, at the GMB Conference today Khan will explain the importance of addressing economic disparities:

“Inequality is now the single biggest threat to our economy, our society and to the wellbeing of the British people. It stops our economy from working for ordinary people. It reduces economic growth. It is the single most important factor in determining the happiness of society and the cohesiveness of our communities and it offends the basic British sense of moral fairness.”

In his speech he will outline where the coalition government have gone wrong (including citing figures which show in the last year the share of post-tax income of the top 1% of taxpayers has risen from 8.2% to 9.8%, while the bottom 90% have seen an income drop of 71.3% to 70.4%), explaining that:

Earlier this year he [Boris Johnson] said: “Inequality is essential to fostering the spirit of envy” and “It is a valuable spur to economic activity”. Can you believe that? It goes to the very heart of what the Tory Party believes. Despite all the evidence to the contrary – from the IMF and Bank of England  – they genuinely believe that inequality is a good thing. It’s why they think it’s acceptable to cut taxes for millionaires while ordinary people are facing a cost-of-living crisis.

But speaking to the Guardian, Khan also admitted that the previous Labour government could have done more to stop inequality growing:

“Over 13 years of government, we did many amazing things – from the national minimum wage to investing in education – but we also have to have the humility to admit that we weren’t able to do enough to tackle rising inequality – and that it continued to rise under our watch.”

To show what the party have learnt from this, Khan will once again lay out Labour’s current policies on inequality, which include reintroducing the 50p tax rate, repeating the bankers bonus tax to fund a ‘Compulsory Jobs Guarantee’, introducing a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million to fund a 10p tax ban and building 200,000 homes a year while also make renting more affordable and secure.

Crucially, the Shadow Justice Secretary won’t just mention how Labour would level the economic playing field were they to win in 2015 but also in a climate of political alienation how they would rebalance the distribution of power. Khan will say that this would include fighting “against legal aid changes that leave thousands with unequal access to justice, and the unconstitutional assault on judicial review

And Khan – considered a frontrunner for the London Mayoral nomination – will also highlight the importance of the link between Labour and the trade unions:

The Labour Party and trade unions have fought inequality side-by-side for more than a century.

We will need our relationship to be stronger than ever if we are to win the general election in 2015, defeat the vested interests, and take the radical action we need to make Britain a more equal country.

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