Miliband seeks business vote

Labour launches its manifesto for business as the 2015 General Election campaign begins.

Ed Miliband launches Labour's business manifesto

Labour Leader Ed Miliband has kick-started Labour’s General Election campaign with the publication of the party’s business manifesto “A Better Plan for Business”, which he said would close the productivity gap and improve the country’s economic foundations.

On infrastructure he reiterated the Labour Party’s commitment to an independent National Infrastructure Commission and said it would remain supportive of HS2.

“It is a better plan for prosperity in which a proper industrial strategy builds on the great strengths of British business to deliver higher wages, higher skills and higher profits for firms and families together,” said Miliband.

Launching the manifesto he highlighted skills and funding issues as being major challenges faced by businesses and said that Labour would create a new “gold standard technical baccalaureate” while giving businesses control over apprenticeships money. “And in exchange we will say that any firm that gets a major government contract will have to provide apprenticeships to the next generation,” he said.

On infrastructure he reiterated the Labour Party’s commitment to an independent National Infrastructure Commission and said it would remain supportive of HS2. It would also put in place legal targets for decarbonisation of the UK electricity supply by 2030, strengthen the Green Investment Bank and create an Energy Security Board to oversee long term energy needs.

To improve the business environment Labour would set up a new British Investment Bank to invest in businesses across the UK through a network of regional banks therefore improving access to finance.

Small businesses would also benefit from the creation of a Small Business Administration to ensure the accessibility of government contracts and ensire that regulations are designed with small businesses in mind. Cuts in business rates and new reporting requirements on late payment by large companies would also be introduced to support SMEs.

In terms of the devolution agenda the manifesto pledges to devolve spending of £30bn to the regions. “Local areas will be given control over local transport systems so that in future, local bodies can integrate trains, buses, cycling, and trams into a single network.” It also states that Local Enterprise Partnerships will be improved upon “rather than instigating another top down reorganisation.”

Labour’s better plan for business

• Build a strong economic foundation, cutting the deficit every year with a surplus on the current budget and national debt falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament.

• Support access to international markets by returning Britain to a leadership role in a reformed European Union.

• Meet Britain’s long term infrastructure needs by setting up an independent National Infrastructure Commission.

• Tackle rising business costs, by maintaining the most competitive Corporation Tax rate in the G7 and cutting and then freezing business rates for more than 1.5 million small business properties.

• Ensure firms can get the finance they need to invest and grow by establishing a proper British Investment Bank, which will also support a network of regional banks.

• Tackle skills shortages by ensuring all young people study English and maths to 18 and introducing a gold standard vocational route, including a plan to create thousands of new apprenticeships.

Miliband launched the strategy as Prime Minster David Cameron announced the dissolution of Parliament giving the green light to politicians across the country to begin fighting for seats in the UK’s 650 constituencies.

“Today I am going to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace to mark the dissolution of Parliament and that will be the start of what is the most important general election campaign in a generation,” said Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron ahead of the meeting.

“When I became Prime Minister five years ago this country was on the brink,” he said. “Five years on we are a success story and we should stick to the plan that has really delivered.”


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