Labour policies: What Ed Miliband says a Labour government would do if the party wins in 2015

On immigration, the deficit, the NHS and taxes, these are Labour's policies for the 2015 election

Jon Stone@joncstone
Monday 05 January 2015 13:49
Labour leader Ed Miliband gives a speech at the Lowry complex at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester, where he claimed he will lead a "crusade to change the country".
Labour leader Ed Miliband gives a speech at the Lowry complex at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester, where he claimed he will lead a "crusade to change the country".

Ed Miliband launched Labour’s election campaign in Salford, Greater Manchester today. He says Labour is on a "crusade to change the country"; here’s what he says Britain would look like under him.

Low pay

“All those who go out to work are as important and valuable to our country as those who get the six figure bonuses. That means raising the minimum wage to over £8 an hour and dealing with the scandal of zero hour contracts.”

Miliband says Labour will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020, up from £6.50 today. In real terms, once expected inflation is taken into account, the figure would be broadly similar to today’s rate.


“Knowing that our NHS is our nation's greatest treasure, to be protected and nurtured for generations to come. A guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours. A one-week wait for cancer tests. And a £2.5 billion Time To Care fund to support more midwives, care workers, doctors and nurses. Yes, assuring decent, timely health care has a cost.”

Labour is pledging to spend billions of extra cash on doctors, nurses and other health workers, funded by taxes on expensive homes. It also says a Labour-run health service would prioritise and guarantee a GP appointment to everyone within 48 hours, and a maximum one week wait for a cancer test.

Mansion tax

“Yes, assuring decent, timely health care has a cost. And that’s why we have proposed a Mansion Tax for the very richest to protect and improve the NHS for our entire country. Something the Tories would never do. Because we believe that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden.”

Miliband is pledging to fund the NHS improvements with a mansion tax on properties worth over £2m. Other tax pledges include the restoration of the 10p tax band for low earners


For generations, hard-working immigrants, eager to make their way, have helped build our country. But this party will never again dismiss people's concerns about immigration. Britain should not-cannot- close ourselves off from those who can contribute to our economy and our country. But people want to know that there are fair rules. Fair rules so that benefits should be earned, so people must contribute before they claim. And fair rules to prevent businesses from recruiting at slave wages, exploiting migrant labour to undercut pay and conditions.”

Miliband’s position on immigration is that is a good thing, but that Labour should not ignore concerns some people have about it. He says he will change Britain’s welfare state so that people cannot claim benefits until they have paid into the system, and make it illegal for businesses to undercut local wages with migrant labour.


“We see this problem throughout our economy: well paid jobs, gone wanting, for people who have the necessary education and training to fill them. So we will have a revolution in vocational education, so that as many young people leave school to do an apprenticeship as currently go to university.”

Miliband is setting a target of getting as many young people into vocational education and apprenticeships as who go to university as the moment.

Public spending

“It is by making different choices that we will deal with the deficit responsibly and still meet the obligations to our country’s future. Ours is a plan to cut the deficit every year and balance the books as soon as possible in the next parliament.

“Until that happens it does mean, outside protected areas, spending will be falling, not rising, department by department. With no proposals in our manifesto funded by additional borrowing. Not a single one.”

Labour says it will cut spending every year and aim to balance the current budget. This means can continue to invest in infrastructure like housing and HS2 but that public services outside protected areas and the government departments that administer them will take cuts.

EU referendum

“Three million British jobs rest on commerce and trade within the European Union. Exiting the EU would damage British jobs, British families, British businesses. I understand the politics that has led the Prime Minister to play risky irresponsible games on the European Union, allowing his party to drift towards exit. But I won't.

“If you want to know what chaos and a threat to prosperity looks like, just imagine a Tory government riven apart after the next election on Europe. We must demand reform from Europe-a European Union that works better for Britain. But make no mistake: exit from the EU would be a dramatic mistake for our country and our economy.”

Miliband is absolutely clear that he won’t give the public a vote on whether to stay in the European Union or campaign to leave. He says he wants the political union to reform itself to better service Britain’s interests instead.

Business taxes

“In an era of hard choices, it means putting cuts in business rates for small firms that will create most of the jobs of the future, ahead of further tax cuts for large corporations.”

A Labour government would cut business rates, a local tax that mainly affects small businesses. Labour has promised to keep Britain’s rate of corporation tax rate the lowest in the G7 group of leading economies, though this gives it some headroom for small increases.


London's financial district

“Businesses large and small are the lifeblood of our economy. But the banks and the energy companies have had things their way for too long and need to serve Britain properly. We will require these businesses to operate in a competitive way, and Britain-all of Britain-will be the better for it. No more broken markets that work for a few but undermine our economy.”

Labour is promising to take a more active approach to regulating banks and energy companies. It has previously said that it might break up banks or energy companies into a number of smaller firms to ensure competition, which it says will make services work better.

Devolution of power

“Making better decisions, making sure that every pound really counts. And giving power back to local people. Ending a century of centralization in our country.”

Labour says it is keen on devolving more power to a local level; it has pledged to hand bus service regulation powers back to local authorities and create regional transport authorities.

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