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Ed Miliband speech in Crawley

It is great to be here in Crawley.

And let’s hear it for our MEP candidates with us today, the brilliant Anneliese Dodds and Maggie Hughes.

And let’s hear it for all our local councillors here in Crawley.

In five days’ time, people will be voting in the Local and European elections.

In these final five days, I have one simple message.

To all those struggling with the cost of living crisis.

To all those who worry about the life they can build for their kids in Britain today.

To all those who see the NHS going backwards.

To all those who feel that politics cannot answer these questions.

To all those who know that our country’s problems are deep and go beyond one government.

My message is the message of the optimists down the ages:

Britain can do better than this.

We, the Labour Party, know Britain can do better than this.

We know how Britain can do better than this.

So vote Labour next Thursday to make Britain better than this.

This is the most unpredictable election in a generation.

And there’s a reason for that.

Because people have deep discontent with the way the country is run.

For years now, people have been unhappy with the way things are.

The privileged few at the top have done OK, but for most people life’s been getting harder and harder.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, people wonder if anybody can turn things round.

People have seen their communities changing around them.

People have seen crisis after crisis rock the institutions of our country: Parliament, the banks, the BBC.

And people wonder whether the problems aren’t just too big and politics too small.

I say to people today: the problems are big, but we can rise to the challenge.

As Britain has always risen to the challenge before.

And let’s lay out the choice for people in this campaign.

You’ve got the government of this country that doesn’t hear these voices of discontent.

A government that believes that our economy is fixed.

A government bewildered that they are not getting a standing ovation from a grateful nation.

A government that seems to think that this is a good as it gets.

The Tories say Britain can’t do better than this.

And then you’ve got UKIP.

If the question on the ballot paper next Thursday is whether we can turn Britain from a country run for a few at the top to a country run for working people once again, UKIP is not the answer.

They claim to offer something new.

But what are their answers?

“Keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive”.

Bigger cuts than the Tories.

Charges to see your GP.

Leave Europe with all that means for investment and jobs.

Friends, this agenda will never serve the working people of Britain.

Next Thursday you can elect Labour Members of the European Parliament and Labour councillors to make Britain better than this.

And then in less than a year from now, you can elect a Labour government.

Let me tell you exactly what I mean:

Britain can do better than this if we build a country that works for all and not just a few vested interests.

If we take on the energy companies and freeze energy bills, Britain can do better than this for every consumer and business in this country.

If we reform our banks, Britain can do better than this for all our small businesses.

And that’s what a Labour government will do.

Britain can do better than this if we reward hard work again

If we have a 10p starting rate of tax, Britain can do better than this for working families.

If we stop the exploitation of zero-hours contracts, Britain can do better than this for all those facing insecure work.

If tackle the undercutting of wages by calling time on rogue employers, Britain can do better than this for those at the sharp end.

If we have 25 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, Britain can do better than this for mums and dads.

If we promote a living wage, Britain can do better than this for all those people working for their poverty.

And that’s what a Labour government will do.

Britain can do better than this if we restore the promise that the next generation can do better than the last.

If we get 200,000 homes a year built, Britain can do better than this for our young people.

If we stop families who rent being ripped off, Britain can do better than this for 9 million people in generation rent.

If we get jobs and apprenticeships for our young people, Britain can do better than this for those just starting out.

And that’s what a Labour government will do.

And Britain can do better than this by putting the right principles back at the heart of our public services.

An NHS where you have proper access to your GP.

And we have a health service based not on the principles of privatisation and competition but on the principles of co-operation, care and compassion.

And repeal their terrible Health and Social Care Bill.

And this is not just about policy.

This is about who we stand up for.

Who the country is run for.

And how it is run.

A few days ago some people thought they knew the outcome of this election before it has happened.

But nobody knows exactly what the outcome of this election will be.

It is not the pundits or the commentators who own that outcome.

It is in your hands.

And the thousands of Labour Party members who will be talking to hundreds of thousands of voters of Britain today and in the days ahead.

And remember, these elections and the next general election are not about us.

They are about the people of Britain.

I think of the people I have met in this campaign.

The woman at the hairdressers in Cambridge who said she had to help her grown-up son pay his gas and electricity bill.

The young man in Croydon who said he’d heard from tenants in the private sector that they had to shell out as much as £1000 to letting agents in fees.

The school caretaker who came up to me on the train who said we had to tackle zero-hours contracts because they were spreading like wildfire.

The professional couple earning a good wage who couldn’t afford to buy a home of their own.

These are the voices that represent millions of people across our country.

These are the voices that this government will never hear.

These are the voices that should call us to action in the days ahead.

For you and your family, Britain can do better

Britain will do better

Let’s go out and show people that we can do it.

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