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Miliband outlines 'better plan'


Ed Miliband was in East Lancashire to launch Labour's regional economic plan for the North West

Ed Miliband was in East Lancashire to launch Labour's regional economic plan for the North West

Ed Miliband was in East Lancashire to launch Labour's regional economic plan for the North West

Labour offer a "much better plan and way forward" than the Conservatives in what will be "a big stakes election", Ed Miliband said today.

The party leader said the idea that wealth from a "few at the top" would "magically trickle down to everybody else" was not working as he launched Labour's North West regional economic plan.

Speaking on a visit to defence firm BAE Systems in East Lancashire, Mr Miliband said: "I think, like lots of parts of our country have found, that while Government ministers go on the news and say there is a recovery going on and everything is great, people think 'well hang on, the recovery has not reached my door'.

"And that is what we have got to change and that is about how you think the country succeeds.

"I think a country succeeds only where every person in it succeeds. This Government thinks you succeed when a few people at the top do well and the wealth will trickle down magically to everybody else. Well it doesn't work.

"That is why we have got to make some changes, like raising the minimum wage and dealing with the problem of zero hour contracts. Like giving opportunities to our young people - every young person deserves an opportunity either to go to university or to get a decent apprenticeship."

Labour says that under the Tories just 16,000 people earning more than £150,000 in the North West have benefited from the 50p tax cut while 403,000 working families have seen their tax credits cut in real terms.

Real wages in the North West are down more than £1,464 a year since 2010, it adds.

Mr Miliband said: "I think this is a big stakes election because I think if people think about their living standards, the prospects of their sons and daughters, the NHS, I really fear what will happen under David Cameron. He wants to go back to the 1930s in terms of spending on our public services, so that's before there was an NHS.

"I think we offer a much better plan and a much better way forward."

Mr Miliband met employees at the company's site in Samlesbury before he was given a tour of its workshops for the F35 Lightning II and Eurofighter Typhoon aircrafts which BAE provides parts for.

He said: "BAE is a great company that offers skilled jobs to its workforce and offers thousands of apprenticeships a year, and we need more jobs like this. We need more high-skilled, high-wage jobs.

"We are talking today about a plan for prosperity which is all about how we create more of these jobs and more apprenticeships, helping small businesses to grow and succeed, and reforming our banking system.

"We are actually behind most of the world when it comes to apprenticeships so companies like BAE are exceptions to the rule.

"We are saying, for example, that if you want a major government contract then you are going to have to provide apprenticeships for the next generation."

Asked how he would get investment into manufacturing in East Lancashire rather than it going to the City of London and the South of England, he said: "The most important thing we can do is to take resources out of London and Westminster and have those resources decided locally.

"The problem at the moment is we are too centralised a country in the way decisions are made. So whether it is an economic development, or transport, or skills, or job programmes, those decisions should not be made in London, they should be being made locally.

"The power and resources need to be brought much closer to local people."

Mr Miliband was also asked about a recent survey which placed Labour as the fifth most hated brand, with Ukip topping the poll followed by the Conservative Party and Marmite.

He said: "We beat Marmite so I think that is a great achievement on our part. I would say for a political party that is a good sign."