Politics UK: Culloden

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[Image: Griff-for-Labour-Leader.png]

Community Democracy Equality Justice

Labour Leadership contender and Shadow Home Secretary, Griff Rhys Morrison addressed the Trades Union Congress on building a fairer economy. 

The Labour Party has always been the party of social solutions to economic problems. We do not place blind faith in the market or think that better fiscal figures alone equate progress. We accept that it is the impact economic policies have on our lives that is important. Crafting an economy that is fair and increases people’s living standards as well as the budget books is one of the most central goals of a Labour Government.

Making sure a hard day’s work pays fairly, giving people a say in their workplace and ensuring the good and efficient running of high quality public services are the three cornerstones of economic strategy I would employ if elected Labour Leader. In balancing these three components, wages, workplaces and services, we can start to address the injustices in people’s lives.

Everybody in this country deserves a fair pay packet.
Everybody in this country deserves a say in their own workplace.
Everybody in this country deserves public services that are well-resourced. 
That is our vision for Britain’s economy.

The concept of a national minimum wage, a guaranteed level of income that can support a person adequately, isn’t actually new. It was actually first proposed by the Fabian Society as far back as 1906. Eighty Six years and counting. The theory goes that if someone works a full days graft, they should reasonably expect to compensated fairly.

Nowadays, our expectation is higher. If someone does a hard day’s graft and works full time, they should reasonably expect to be able to sustain themselves; to eat and clothe and house themselves. Some opponents to minimum wage laws claim that this would cause prices to rise however because it is universal, the minimum wage would actually compensate for that and hold prices steady.

We cannot go about changing the economy just by lowering the ceiling, we must raise the floor too. If elected as Leader of the Labour Party, introducing a national minimum wage would be a cornerstone of our economic strategy. Ensuring that workers get adequately and fairly paid has to be the first priority of any government that calls itself Labour.

However, ensuring basic pay from a national level only accounts for those in the very lowest pay brackets. For our economic system to be truly fair, a Government needs to take care of everybody’s needs. Over the last decade, our rights at work have been slashed and the Tories have slowly stripped away our Trades Union freedoms. Ensuring our unions can represent their members should form the basis of Labour Party policy. Our party is the party of the working men and women of this country and so as Labour Leader, I would ensure that rolling back some of the most damaging pieces of Trade Union restrictions would be a part of our agenda.

Going further, we must ensure that businesses work for everyone and not just those at the top. People who put in graft on the shop floor and spend day-in-day-out of their lives in a workplace, deserve a fair say in how that workplace is run and the future of their labour. That is why I believe in creating strong economic incentives for the creation of cooperative business models. Giving workers ownership of their own workplaces ensures they can adequately protect their jobs and that business decisions work for everyone.

That is why if elected Labour Party Leader, I would enshrine supporting cooperative business models into our manifesto. It has to be a promise to working families that businesses cannot just take decisions that would render them homeless without any say for the workers. The Labour Party must be there to protect them. 

A fair economy and strong public finances are one thing but they fall short if the money being managed doesn’t provide sufficient or effective public services. This party is the party of the NHS. We absolutely need to fight it’s corner against Tory and Coalition privatisation schemes.
The Labour Party needs, desperately, to be a voice for those hundreds of thousands of people who work in our NHS and our education sector. We need to be telling this Coalition government; the internal market and a few new schools isn’t enough. We have to be investing properly in our public services to ensure they remain world-class.

If elected, I would restore public sector finances to their proper working order. I would ensure the NHS had money not just to get by or that schools could make ends meet but to raise these institutions up and allow them to grow and expand. I would want to see every school in this country fully staffed and fully resourced for every child. I would want to see hospitals that had the staff and funding to care for patients in the best way possible.

If elected Labour Party leader, these would be my priorities for our public services. We cannot afford another lost decade of lack of investment and struggling public services.

The Labour Party now faces a future in which it can be both; we can follow our principles and ensure they do not become lost in the business and noise of 20th century life. We can also ensure, however, that the public know us, that they know what we believe in but more importantly how we can help them. We must ensure now that our vision for Britain has relevance to the lives of the people we’re representing.
Fair work for fair pay. A say in how your workplace is run. Public services that work for all.

That is the Britain I want to build. I hope you’ll join me. Thank you.