Our panel responds to Labour's general election shop windowby Prospect Team / April 13, 2015 / Leave a comment
Read our panel’s responses to the Conservative manifesto launch
Who will win on May 7th? Sign up for our live video debate with YouGov’s Peter Kellner to find out
Today, the Labour party launched its manifesto with a speech by Ed Miliband in Manchester, attended by the Shadow Cabinet. While few voters will have been watching, Miliband’s team will be pleased with the good appraisal his performance received from the press.
You can read the full manifesto document here and the full text of Miliband’s speech here, but below we’ve outlined some key points, plus snap reactions from a panel of Prospect writers.
What is Labour promising?
Speaking at the launch today, Miliband said that the manifesto offered not just “a shopping list of proposals,” but “seeks to answer the questions you are asking” about the way the country is run. One key criticism of Miliband’s Labour leadership has been that he has displayed moments of brilliance, but failed to tie his ideas together in a coherent narrative. The manifesto looks to allay that, knitting together Labour’s proposals into a clear offering: “a country where hard work is rewarded, with high skill, high wage jobs. An economy built on strong and secure foundations, where we balance the books.” With this document, Miliband dismisses the anti-austerity economic challenge on his left flank from the Greens and the SNP as irresponsible and fantastical, while setting out what Labour would do to address the rampant inequality, social fractures and Little England mentality the party says have worsened under the Coalition.
Six “new” pledges
These are being touted by Labour as new commitments or promises.
A “budget responsibility lock” Labour have made a specific commitment to cutting the deficit every year, ensuring every promise in the manifesto is costed and introducing “strong fair fiscal rules” to tackle the national debt. Ed Balls, speaking on Today this morning, also committed to eliminating the current budget deficit by 2020. This all marks a significant hardening of Labour’s economic language.
Raising the minimum wage to more than £8 per hour by October 2019 That’s not a whole new policy, but it is a new timetable—previously Labour had promised to do this by 2020.