Miliband unveils 'new bargain' for Britain

Ed Miliband's "new bargain"
Ed Miliband's new bargain"

By Alex Stevenson

Britain needs a "new bargain" which rewards good behaviour by both the poor and the rich, Ed Miliband has told delegates in Liverpool.

The Labour party leader championed "every man and woman who goes out and does a day's work" as he delivered a speech addressing the "quiet crisis" faced by ordinary people.

Mr Miliband was responding to a year which has seen the phone-hacking scandal, rioting in England's cities and ongoing disillusion with the bankers by contrasting those who do the "right" thing with those who do not.

"In every generation, there comes a moment when we need to change the way we do things," he said.

"This is one of those moments."

He pledged to challenge the "vested interests" protecting the system which rewards the wrong values.

"Never again should they be able to take advantage of a system which doesn't work to the values and instincts of decent people in our country," he added. "We need a new bargain. Based on a different set of values."

Mr Miliband's 'new bargain' involved treating the "wealth creators" and the "asset-strippers" differently, ending governments' practise of taxing, regulating, treating and celebrating all money-making firms the same.

"The Tories don't understand who the real wealth creators of this country are," Mr Miliband added.

"They talk as if the CEOs and the executives are the only people who create wealth."

Those who don't "make a fuss" but demonstrate responsibility are also to be rewarded in Mr Miliband's new 'something for something' culture.

"The hard truth is that, even after reforms of recent years, we still have a system where reward for work is not high enough, where benefits are too easy to come by for those who abuse the system and don't work for those who do right thing," he continued.

Council housing decisions could be tweaked in favour of those who have contributed to their community, for example.

"Our first duty should be to help the person who shows responsibility," Mr Miliband insisted.

The speech repeated shadow chancellor Ed Balls' position on deficit reduction which has left many trade union delegates in Liverpool angry.

"People need to know where I stand. The Labour party lost trust on the economy. And under my leadership, we will regain that trust," he said.

He said he was determined to demonstrate that the next Labour government would "live within our means".

On the deficit, he added: "The next Labour government will still face tough decisions. We won't be able to reverse many of the cuts this government is making. And let me tell you, if this government fails to deal with the deficit in this parliament, we are determined to do so."

Mr Miliband sought to address the concerns of three-quarters of Britons that he does not appear to be prime ministerial material, by positioning his identity as far from the scandals of 2011 as possible.

"This is who I am," he declared. "The heritage of the outsider, the vantage point of the insider. The guy who is determined to break the closed circles of Britain."

And he concluded: "I aspire to be your prime minister not for more of the same, but to write a new chapter in our country's history.

"The promise of Britain lies in its people. The tragedy of Britain is that it is not being met. My mission. Our mission. To fulfil the promise of each so we fulfil the promise of Britain." 


Load in comments
Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.