Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, writing in today’s Sunday Times, said:
The defining purpose of the Labour government I plan to lead in less than a year’s time will be to build a fairer and more successful Britain which reconnects the wealth of our nation with the finances of ordinary families.
This is an enormous challenge that crosses continents and runs deep; one that began long before the financial crash and which will not be solved by the belated end of the recession.
But this is a challenge increasingly recognised not just by Labour but also leading figures in the world of finance and business including both the Governor of the Bank of England and the director-general of the CBI.
They understand there is not just a cost-of-living crisis but long term problems about how we create wealth as a country and share it fairly. And they understand there is also a crisis in trust for institutions ranging from our banks and some of our big corporations and politics itself.
As can be seen from the recent elections, many people now doubt the capacity of any party or even our British democracy to provide answers.
All this is putting the ties which bind our economy, society and politics together under severe strain. The events of the past week underline how high the stakes are for our future.
The lesson of the Juncker debacle is that David Cameron and the Conservative Party now pose a real and present danger to our economy.
He could not build alliances and his threats succeeded only in turning a Europe that was divided over the best candidate for commission president into a Europe united against him.
There can be no better indicator of how a Conservative government would damage Britain’s national interest and Britain’s businesses if it were to win a second term next year.
Mr Cameron blusters about bullying 27 other member states into agreeing fundamental treaty change before a referendum on withdrawal. But the isolation he achieved this week is not “splendid”. It shows he is incapable of reforming Europe and his strategy of getting change by making threats to leave to get change does not work.
All it does is take Britain closer to an exit door through which 3 million British jobs and tens of thousands of businesses could disappear.
By contrast, it is a Labour government that would win the argument and build alliances for the reform that is much-needed and entirely possible: a budget and institutions that support jobs and growth, rules on immigration and benefits that recognise the needs for change and greater powers for national parliaments.
This week Ed Balls and I will be speaking directly to business leaders, laying out more of Labour’s ideas for addressing the real challenges facing all of us – government, businesses and people - in the years ahead.
I am clear that our answer must be different in both scale and substance to the reheated 30-year-old ideology offered by this government while going well beyond the solutions offered by the last.
In their place I am setting out a new agenda for change in both markets and the state: a One Nation Labour plan for British people and British business to succeed together.
Labour is developing a programme suited to these post-Crash times when spending or borrowing solutions are neither available nor adequate to deal with the challenges ahead.
A Labour government would reset broken markets like energy so competition works better for firms and families. We would reform the banks so that business can get access to the finance it needs. We would rewrite takeover laws to get more long termism in corporate governance. And we would tackle undercutting of wages and conditions that drive up low skill immigration.
But the state must change too. A Labour government would revolutionise vocational education and training so that all our young people are equipped with the skills they - and businesses - need to succeed in the future. We would cut the costs of failure - long term unemployment, low pay and the shortage of homes - which drive up welfare spending and restore the principle of contribution to the social security system. We would reform our tax system so that it combines international competiveness with new measures to ensure transparency and prevent avoidance.
The scale of the challenge means the next government must begin also begin reversing a century of centralisation. This week I will unveil Andrew Adonis’s report on growth which recommends transferring £30 billion of funding to new powerhouse city and county regions over the course of the next parliament.
This is just one of many ideas he has to nurture skills, help small businesses thrive and ensure innovation can flourish. It is a plan to mend fractures in our economy which have laid untreated for too long.
We will not only hand power back from Whitehall we will change the way Whitehall works with the creation of a Small Business Administration in the heart of government to ensure fully a quarter of government contracts go to the dynamic small and medium sized firms that are our economy’s future.
Our agenda for changing markets and the state is not about big spending, but it is about big reform. There will always be people resistant to change or want to cling to the old ways. But our country and our businesses need a new way forward – not business-as-usual.