As PM I’d start the assault on poverty and inequality in my own backyard. And let’s face it - the backyard is not in good shape.
As a nation, we are allowing child poverty and poverty wages to destroy opportunity on an industrial scale. One quarter of children in the UK live below the poverty line. Benefit cuts have made thing worse. But low pay is now the main source of child and adult poverty in the UK. We are increasingly a nation that creates jobs for working paupers.
In my first cabinet meeting I’ll make it clear that I am seriously angry about the state of the nation. I’ll tell my Chancellor that I care – that I really care – about the fiscal deficit. I share her pain on public debt. Then I’ll bin the benefits cuts that are set to worsen child poverty, have the civil service draw up legislation for a £7.85 national minimum wage, and put in place plans to meet the Child Poverty Act target for cutting poverty among children to 10 per cent by 2020.
We’ll meet the bill by scrapping Trident and tackling tax evasion.
At the end of my first day in the job, I’ll hop on a plane for Berlin. It’s going to be tough – but someone has to tell her.
Angela, I’m sorry, but the UK is not going to stand by and watch the Bundesbank do to Greece what the IMF did to Africa for two decades. Economic recovery through strangulation just doesn’t work. It’s time to cut the debt – and for us to build a Europe that offers hope.
Then it’s down to global business.
I have just inherited the world’s best development agency and an aid budget ring-fenced at 0.7 per cent of GNI. At a time of fiscal stress at home, I’ll be out there making the case for aid, challenging UKIP, and raising our level of ambition. There are nearly one billion people going to bed hungry every night and seven million avoidable child deaths every year. We can help stop this.
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
Election Analysis: The Key Voters
1/6 Settled Silvers
These are the comfortably-off over-60s, still in work or drawing a decent pension – or both – who are enjoying their entitlements such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus passes and free TV licence. They are worried about immigration and Europe. Both the Conservatives – who are pledging to keep benefits for wealthier pensioners – and Ukip want their votes
2/6 Squeezed Semis
Slightly older than the Harassed Hipsters, they are the second key group for Labour’s family-focused election strategy. They are married couples on low to middle incomes who own unpretentious semi-detached homes in suburban areas. In 2001, these were the Pebbledash People sought by the Conservatives. Now the pebbledash is gone and a modest conservatory has been built at the back
3/6 Aldi Woman
In 1997 and 2001 she was Worcester Woman – a middle-class Middle Englander shopping at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Today, the age of austerity means she still goes to Waitrose for her basic food shop but cannily switches to Aldi for her luxury bargains such as Parma ham and prosecco. Identified by Caroline Flint, she is a key target of both Labour and the Conservatives
4/6 Glass Ceiling Woman
In her thirties or forties, she has an established career under her belt, perhaps in the “marzipan layer” – one position below the still male-dominated senior executive level. She is now, according to Nick Clegg, forced into making the “heart-breaking choice” between staying at home to bring up her children and going to work and forking out for high-cost, round-the-clock childcare
5/6 Harassed Hipsters
One of the two key groups identified by Labour as crucial to hand Ed Miliband the keys to Downing Street. Well-paid professional couples, often with children, they live in diverse urban and metropolitan areas rather than the suburbs. More comfortably off than most swing voters, they are time poor – struggling to balance raising a young family with busy work schedules
These are mainly first-time voters, though some are in their twenties – students and digital-age generation renters helping to fuel the “Green Surge”. Idealists, but with no tribal loyalty to any party, they are anti-austerity, middle class, living in urban areas. Despite studying at university or recently graduated, they are struggling to find decent jobs and want cheaper housing and a higher minimum wage
But aid is the small change of international development. We live in an increasingly interdependent world linked by flows of trade, finance and technology – and by collective problems that demand multilateral solutions in a multi-polar world. As a country, we need to recognise that many national challenges can be met only through international engagement with emerging markets and developing countries.
Take tax evasion. Aided and abetted by the giant accountancy firms, banks like HSBC and multinational companies are hollowing out our budget through institutionalised revue theft. The same cast of characters are siphoning $60bn annually out of Africa – and they are using the same web of off-shore havens.
As PM I’ll clamp down on the tax evaders at home, shut down the havens, and make sure Britain leads on the development of global rules for fair taxation.
Climate change keeps me awake at night. It’s a threat to the UK and, more imminently, to the world’s poor. The climate summit at the end of 2015 in Paris is an opportunity to tackle the crisis – as PM I intend to seize it.
Before heading for Paris I’ll announce a timetable for phasing out coal in electricity generation by 2025. Fossil fuel companies can prepare for a £30/tonne carbon tax in 2016. And my Chancellor will use her first budget to scrap tax concessions for North Sea oil exploration and fracking.
Meanwhile, I’ll make sure we are punching above our weight on the world stage through engagement with India, China and the US – and through leadership in the EU.
As PM I’ll never pander to vested interest.
Mind you, if Tottenham Hotspurs need any help with that planning application for the new stadium……Reuse content