This week, I am meeting employees at workplaces across the UK to hear their concerns and talk about their worries for the future. Workplace Week, which I am leading as Chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum, also allows me to set out some of the key things Labour will do for working people if we win the next election. My tour of workplaces, which follows various visits to business and factories here in Wirral, comes as official figures reveal that since 2010 people are on average earning £1,600 a year after inflation.
Despite working longer and harder, wages have fallen and the cost-of-living has soared. People are feeling it in their pocket and it is a frustration that comes back loud and clear throughout my visits.
Meanwhile, I’m hearing more about working households faced with real poverty, the curse of exploitative zero hour contracts which the Government has refused to deal with, and the worry of millions of public sector workers as the Tories talk about further rolling back their rights.
These are legitimate concerns from hard working people who do not see a Government on their side. That is why I am pleased to talk about Labour’s alternative. We are committed to ensuring decent wages by raising the minimum wage, promoting the living wage and tackling the gender pay gap. The next Labour Government will also secure more jobs by raising the quality of apprenticeships, ending zero hours contracts, and the stopping the exploitation of agency workers. We also support rights in the workplace and will building partnerships between workers and employers and reforming the employment tribunal system.
I am also talking to people about our plans for the NHS this week because the next Labour Government will recruit 20,000 more nurses and 8000 more GPs paid for by a tax on properties worth £2 million or more and a tax on tobacco companies.
We’ll also help people with the household bills by freezing energy bills, scrapping the bedroom tax, introducing a cap on annual rail fare increases and providing 25 hours of free childcare for working parents with three and four year olds, paid for with an increase in the bank levy.
In May, working people in this country will have a clear choice. A Tory Party that puts rich vested interests first. Or Labour, we are committed to making this country work for working people again.