Starmer pledges New Deal in ‘dynamic’ Britain
Sir Keir Starmer threw down the gauntlet to Liz Truss today by dismissing her ‘trickle down fantasy’ and promising to redistribute wealth under a “new deal”.
Addressing the TUC gathering in Brighton the Labour leader attacked the Prime Minister’s tax cuts for the wealthy and said he would build a Government “dedicated to building an economy that works for working people”.
He said: “We face a battle for the soul of our country – who we are, who we’re for. The Labour choice is a Britain that is fairer, greener and more dynamic.”
He added: “Britain knows exactly where the Tories stand. They can dance around and u-turn, they can sack this Chancellor or the Prime Minister, but the damage is done and they did it.
“They crashed the British economy, and for what? To show they were on the side of the richest one percent.
“A crisis made in Downing Street, without a democratic mandate, paid for by working people in higher bills, higher rents and higher mortgages.”
Sir Keir is riding a wave of popularity in the polls on the back of the Tories meltdown, but he still has to win over many of those who deserted Labour in 2019 and with his own credentials among traditional Labour voters still fragile.
He accused the Prime Minister of being “completely out of touch with the reality of the British economy”, accusing her of believing workers’ rights and collective bargaining are a barrier to growth.
“She doesn’t care about the distribution of wealth in Britain – she hasn’t u-turned on that,” he said.
Sir Keir said: “Britain deserves better, Britain cannot afford the chaos of the Conservatives any more, we need a general election now.
“Never again can Britain take seriously their claim to be a party of aspiration or sound money.”
Labour’s New Deal for Working People will “end fire and rehire, ban zero-hour contracts, extend parental leave, strengthen flexible working, better protections for pregnant women, mandatory reporting on ethnicity pay gaps, statutory sick pay for all, a single worker status…
“Congress, as far as I’m concerned, that’s not just a list of rights – it’s a statement of intent on social justice, on fairness, whose side we are on. More security for every worker in our country and because of that – a stronger foundation for working people to aspire and get on.
“That’s the economic dynamism Britain needs. That’s how you get growth. That’s the Labour choice.
“A choice that provides the basis for true social partnership. A modern industrial strategy where we unite to tackle the country’s challenges on behalf of working people.
“I’m not just pro-business, I want to partner with business to drive Britain forward. And I will say the same about trade unions to the CBI.”
He promised to strengthen the rights of trades unions and repeated his pledge to create a publicly-owned energy company
However, he did not make specific reference to the current wave of strikes, though he did say that if the Conservative government brings forward further restrictions on workers’ rights or the right to strike, “we will oppose and we will repeal. We will meet their attacks with hope.”
Industrial action is currently under way involving workers across a number of sectors including BT, rail and Royal Mail, and other pay disputes involving teachers and nurses.
The general secretary of Unite Sharon Graham noted before the conference that a number of shadow ministers were reprimanded for joining picket lines.
Ms Graham, who leads Labour’s biggest union financial backer, told the TUC in Brighton that she was demanding that Labour “do not stand on the sidelines and play this safe”.