In a wide-ranging speech to Banbury Constituency Labour Party’s Supper Club on 30 November 2013, Rt. Hon. Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, called for urgent measures to get people back into work.
He suggested we could do three things:
* Ensure there’s much more money available for industrial to grow, “ … after all we own two banks”, he said.
* Print money and use it productively, not the so called ‘quantatative easing’ of which £375bn has been given to the banks but so little of it has found it’s way to business and industry. An initial investment of £25bn would make a huge difference to our economy.
* Tax the ultra rich. We could get £35bn from them, which could create half a million jobs in 2/3 years. America is looking at taxing at 20% the estimated $2tn dollars held offshore by American companies. In the UK the top 100 FTSE companies are holding £800bn – £1tn in cash.
‘We’re all in it together’
Michael called this a bitter joke when the richest 1000 people in the UK have increased their wealth by £190bn since the Tories came to power, a gain of £86,000 per week, when 5 million people, one sixth of the working population, are being paid below the living wage of £7.55 per hour.
He said, “We now have 2.5 million people on Job Seekers Allowance of £71 p/w and sanctions have become cruel. If you turn up 5 minutes late for an interview you can be docked 4 weeks JSA.”
“We effectively spend £19bn a year to keep people out of work when we can invest it in, amongst other things, housing, infrastructure and the development of renewable energy.”
Michael said, “Full employment is an important objective for the next Labour Government. We need to challenge economic neo-liberalism, fight for social justice and democratic accountability and create the economic sub-structure to under pin them.”
Praise for Ed Milliband
Michael said that Ed had done well in opposition – his stance of non-intervention in Syria and challenging Murdoch, the tabloid press and the energy companies. But he would like Ed to be less cautious. Michael said, “In politics, you need to take a risk, and Ed and the Labour Party must put forward a clear and robust alternative to current government policies.”
And finally …….
Michael urged the Labour Party to refute the myth that we left the country in a financial mess. Labour didn’t – the deficit when Labour left power was 2.6% of GDP – one of the lowest in the OECD.
And the latest YouGov poll suggests that Labour is gaining ground on support from the ‘squeezed middle’. At the time of the last election both Labour and Tories had roughly 32% each but Labour has increased this support to 46% compared with 27% for the Tories. Read Michael’s blog
WE HAD FUN!