Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Britain needs a recovery for working people if we are to squeeze the deficit, not squeeze the middle

“For a very long time, our country has worked well for a few people, but not for everyday people.

“We live in a country where opportunities are too skewed to those at the top, where too many people work hard for little reward, where too many young people can’t find a job or apprenticeship worthy of their talents, and where families can’t afford to buy a home of their own.

“For all the Government’s boasts about a belated economic recovery, there are millions of families still caught in the most prolonged cost-of-living crisis for a century. For them this is a joy-less and pay-less recovery.

“My priority as Prime Minister will be tackling that cost-of-living crisis so that hard work is properly rewarded again, so that our children can dream of a better future, so that our public services including the NHS are safe.

"Building a recovery that works for everyday people is the real test of the Autumn Statement.

“But that isn’t a different priority to tackling the deficit. Building a recovery that works for most people is an essential part of balancing the books.

"The Government’s failure to build a recovery that works for every-day people and tackle the cost-of-living crisis isn’t just bad for every person affected, it also hampers our ability to pay down the deficit.

“Britain’s public finances have been weakened by a Tory-led Government overseeing stagnant wages which keep tax revenues low.

“Britain’s public finances have been weakened by Tory policies which focus on low paid, low skilled, insecure jobs - often part-time or temporary – because they do not raise as much revenue as the high skill, high wage opportunities we need to be creating.

“And our public finances have been weakened by higher social security bills to subsidise low paid jobs and the chronic shortage of homes.

“The result has been David Cameron and George Osborne missing every single target they set themselves on clearing the deficit and balancing the books by the end of this parliament.

“Their broken promises, their abject failure, are not an accident. They are the direct result of an outdated ideology which says all a Government has to do is look after a privileged few at the top and everyone else will follow.

“That is why this Government has done a great job of squeezing the middle, but a bad job of squeezing the deficit.

“The test this week for David Cameron and George Osborne is whether they recognise that Britain will only succeed and prosper for the long term by tackling the cost-of-living crisis and building a recovery which works for the many, not just for a few.

“Or whether they will just offer more of the same old ideas that have failed them, failed everyday working people, and failed Britain over the past four years.”

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