Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tim Farron on Ed Miliband's Conference Speech

Friends,

This was not a speech from a Prime Minister in waiting. Today Ed Miliband said nothing to prove Labour is capable of running the economy again.

Miliband has meekly repackaged old and borrowed ideas and hoped for the best.

Liberal Democrats have proven in Government that we can build a stronger economy and fix Labour’s mess, as well as build a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

Liberal Democrat Party President Tim Farron said:
“The country needs a bold roadmap for the future and all we got was a wayward ramble around a north London park. 
“With every new announcement we are reminded why we cannot trust Labour with our money. 
“In an hour-long speech, Miliband offered no ideas on how to tackle the deficit. 
“Promises go underfunded, uncosted or use money that’s been spent many times over. 
“We are still waiting to hear Labour’s big ideas, still wondering if the party that crashed the economy can be trusted to get back behind the wheel.”
The so-called ‘six national goals’:

NHS

You can’t trust Labour with the economy – and you can’t trust them on the NHS either. Under Labour the number of NHS managers rose six times faster than the number of nurses, executive pay leapt 120%, and the bill for administrators rocketed from £3 to £7bn.

Labour has proved time and time again they would fritter away public money. You only have to look to Labour-run Wales - an 8% cut to the health budget, and missed A&E targets for the past five years.

This is a party who presided over the scandal of Mid-Staffs and some of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe.

Under the Coalition we have increased the NHS Budget by £12.7bn in cash terms, carried out 850,000 more operations each year than Labour in 2010 and made sure treatment waiting times are lower than under Labour.

We now have 7,000 more doctors and over 4,000 more nurses than under Labour, 19,100 less administrators, as well as more GPs and more GP appointments.

The NHS now deals with 1.3 million more A&E attendances, 1.2 million more inpatient admissions, 6.2 million more outpatient admissions, 3.6 million more diagnostic tests and over 450,000 more GP referrals seen by a specialist for suspected cancer.

Low Pay

Labour’s £8-an-hour pledge is completely hollow because it is likely to reach that level anyway. Based on average rises from 1999-2014 it would reach £8.25 by 2020.

The Coalition has delivered the first above inflation rise in the NMW since the crash, which rises to £6.50 per hour on 1 October 2014.

We do not know where the economy will be in 5 years’ time so setting an arbitrary rate of £8 is nothing more than political posturing.

Labour has chosen to ignore the independence of the Low Pay Commission, whose role it is to recommend the right rate rise. It also ignores the state of the economy at the time, which may be able to absorb a higher wage rise.

Apprenticeships

Ed Miliband doesn’t value apprenticeships - he described vocational education as for the “bottom 50 per cent”.

If you want to see Labour’s commitment to apprenticeships look at Wales where the number has fallen 17% since 2007.

In 2011 Andy Burnham admitted Labour didn’t treat apprenticeships as seriously as they should have in Government.

Liberal Democrats in Government have now created 1.8m new apprenticeships – the biggest expansion since the 1950s and twice the rate Labour managed.

Cost of Living Crisis

Under Labour fuel bills increased, council tax charges doubled, fuel duty increased 12 times, inequality increased and the 10p Tax rate was abolished.

Our actions speak louder than words - Liberal Democrats have cut tax for 25 million people, reduced the income tax paid by a typical taxpayer by £805 and taken 2.7 million out of paying any income tax.

We fought to introduce free school meals for every four to seven year old in schools, saving parents’ £400 per year per child and introduced the ‘triple lock’ to the state pension.

Home Ownerships

Labour’s record of house building is abysmal with the number of new homes being built having fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s when they left office.

Labour’s plans simply do not go far enough. Building 200,000 homes a year doesn’t even keep up with housing demand. Liberal Democrat plans to build 300,000 homes a year would solve the current problems, as well as starting to tackle the current backlog.

Under the last Labour Government social housing fell by 421,000 with homes either sold off, torn down and not replaced. Repossessions reached a 14 year high in 2009 and the number of families waiting for a social home rocketed from 1 million to nearly 1.8million.

The Coalition built more social and affordable homes in its first two years than Labour did in the entirety of either the 1997-01 or 2001-05 Parliaments.

Green

Under Labour, fuel bills increased, on average, by 16% every year between 2004 and 2008.

In nine years of Labour the average annual household energy bill jumped by 120%, from £365 in September 2000 to £804 by September 2009, according to Ofgem. And when Ed Miliband was Energy Secretary, in 2009, just 1 in 100 homes in Britain was energy efficient.

When he was appointed Climate Change Secretary in late 2008 he said he would “press energy firms for price cuts”. But just 18 months later British Gas recorded a 58% surge in annual profits.

We are already a world-leader in green energy. Since 2010 we’ve attracted an average £7 billion-a-year in renewable energy investment. This is more than double the average Labour in 2005-10.

Ernst & Young puts the UK as the most attractive country in the world for attracting offshore wind investment, no.1. for marine, and 4th for biomass. The Coalition reforms will also create 200,000 green jobs by 2020.