Higher wages key to growth, says Labour Party

Ed Miliband [Ed Skudder/Flickr]

Britain’s Labour party has today (16 February) laid out plans to boost UK industry by placing working families at its centre, saying higher wages are key to economic growth.

Speaking at the Jaguar Land Rover factory in the West Midlands, Labour leader Ed Miliband said a modern industrial strategy was needed that saw business and working families “succeed together”.

“We need a better plan to replace an economy where tens of billions are lost in tax avoidance with an economy where tens of thousands more of our young people are doing apprenticeships and we help more businesses grow, succeed and create wealth,” said Miliband.

“Our plan is based on the idea that it is only when Britain’s working families succeed that Britain succeeds,” he added.

Miliband laid out a host of business policies in his speech including:

  • Raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour
  • Offering tax breaks to employers who adapt the Living Wage
  • Cutting business rates
  • Promoting competition in energy and banking to pursue market efficiency and lower bills
  • Promoting long-termism by changing the rules on takeovers

In a week where tax avoidance of high profile business leaders has dominated domestic headlines, Miliband said a plan was needed to rebalance the economy and recognize “every persona in every sector of the economy is a wealth creator.”

Labour are also promising to fund £30 billion of devolution over five years giving local authorities in England more power of employment, skills and business support as well as setting up a National Infrastructure Commission.

Miliband said these changes would “help us overcome the short-termism of government and the pressures on business to take the short-term view”.

Speaking at the same event Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, said Labour would “bang the table for reform in Europe” but added it was important for Britain’s long term interests to stay in the European Union.

The Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps said a Labour government would lead to economic chaos. “Hardworking families will pay dearly for Labour’s higher taxes, higher borrowing and higher debt – exactly the same incompetent economic policies that got us into a mess in the first place.

“Only by sticking to the strong leadership of David Cameron and the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan will we secure a better future for our country.”

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