Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity

Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity‑document

This plan outlines a modern industrial strategy for Britain’s businesses and Britain’s working families to succeed together; a plan for every sector, every firm, everybody to raise productivity, make bigger profits and create inclusive prosperity for a new era; a route-map for turning the fortunes of working people and of our country around and to deliver the sustainable growth and rising living standards that our country needs.

Specifically, Labour’s better plan will:

  1. Recognise that Britain’s world class firms, in sectors which enjoy established comparative advantage, need to be able to take long-term decisions and access key markets, not simply ever lower taxes
  2. Prioritise doing everything we can to ensure more smaller businesses reach their potential to power future growth
  3. Develop a new industrial strategy that focuses not just on high-tech firms, but also on supporting our big employing sectors such as retail and social care to win a race to the top and not get dragged into a race to the bottom
  4. Ensure the public sector plays an active part in driving up productivity across the whole economy, supporting firms through cutting-edge innovation and research, strategic investment and procurement

The Steps on the Path to Higher Productivity

This new approach will only be delivered through a series of concrete reforms across every part of the economy, transforming the UK’s economic model step by step

Labour will build a strong economic foundation and balance the books. We will:

  • Balance the books and cut the deficit every year with a surplus on the current budget and falling national debt as soon as possible in the next Parliament
  • Reverse the cut to the top rate of tax so the highest one per cent of earners pay a little more to help get the deficit down
  • Stop paying the winter fuel allowance to the richest five per cent of pensioners and cap child benefit rises at one per cent for two years
  • Close loopholes that cost the Exchequer billions of pounds a year, increasing the transparency and rigour of the tax system
  • In our manifesto there will be no proposals for any new spending paid for by additional borrowing
  • Capping structural social security spending in each spending review so it is properly controlled
  • Examine every pound spent by government through our Zero-Based Review of spending, which is identifying savings and rooting out waste
  • Introduce a tax on high value properties over £2 million to help raise £2.5 billion a year for an NHS Time to Care Fund as part of our plan to save and transform the NHS

Labour will support smaller businesses to unleash their potential. We will:

  • Cut and then freeze business rates for 1.5m small business properties with a rateable value of less than £50,000, so that the tax burden on small businesses will be lower than under the Tories and smaller firms have the support needed to invest, innovate and raise productivity. We will look to go even further as we prioritise small businesses for future tax cuts
  • Establish a proper British Investment Bank to boost lending for small businesses to grow and create jobs: all funds raised from the planned increase in the licence fees for the mobile phone spectrum - estimated to be up to £1 billion in the next Parliament, subject to Ofcom consultation - will be allocated to Labour’s British Investment Bank
  • Introduce a Small Business Administration to co-ordinate work across government to benefit smaller businesses and cut unnecessary regulation with a remit to ensure regulations or requirements on small business are proportionate, appropriate, avoid any unnecessary burdens or compliance costs and are designed from the perspective of the smaller firm 
  • Tackle late payment - we will tackle late payment with a new requirement on larger businesses to set out the extent of late payment they have been responsible for, and the action they have taken to compensate suppliers. We will also give business organisations the right to take cases on behalf of their members
  • Deliver a long term roadmap for capital allowances and incentives for research and innovation like the R&D tax credit, not just for the headline rate of corporation tax

Labour will back British businesses to invest for the long-term. We will:

  • Ensure Britain has the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7 and continue supporting the Employment Allowance: Labour called for action on National Insurance Contributions in 2011 and the Government finally acted in 2014. Their mechanism, the Employment Allowance, is now bedded in so we will keep it and build on it
  • Give institutional investors the duty to act in the best interests of ordinary savers, prioritising the long-term growth of companies they are investing in
  • Reform takeover rules to strengthen the role of investors who are in it for the long-term
  • Better link executive pay to performance by simplifying executive pay packages, requiring investment and pension fund managers to disclose how they vote, and putting an employee representative on remuneration committees

Labour will transform technical education in Britain so the talents of the next generation contribute to growth. We will:

  • Introduce a new gold standard Technical Baccalaureate for 16-18 year olds and ensure that all young people study English and maths to 18, so that more young people are apprenticeship ready when they leave school
  • Require every firm getting a major government contract to offer apprenticeships, and explore whether this should also apply when the government underwrites large projects
  • Give employers more control over apprenticeships funding and standards in exchange for driving up the number and quality of apprenticeships
  • Ensure that every Private Office offers an apprenticeship and create thousands of apprenticeships in the civil service.
  • Require large firms recruiting from outside the EU to invest in apprenticeships in the UK
  • Introduce a universal gold standard for apprenticeships and refocus existing spending on low level courses
  • Ring-fence the FE budget for 16-19 year olds to support reform of FE colleges into new Institutes of Technical Education with a core purpose to deliver Labour’s Technical Baccalaureate and apprenticeships
  • Introduce new Technical Degrees delivered by universities and employers so that apprenticeships lead on to higher level qualifications

Labour will secure Britain’s place in a reformed European Union and boost exports. We will:

  • Return Britain to a leadership role in the European Union
  • Champion change in the way the European Union works, including completing the single market, longer transitional controls when new countries enter the EU, protecting the integrity of our benefits system and getting on with the long overdue reform of the EU budget
  • Ensure there will be no further transfer of powers to the European Union without the explicit consent of the British people.
  • Support businesses in the UK to export through better access to finance, better skills including language skills and supported access to markets.

Labour will support long-term infrastructure investment. We will:

  • Set up an independent National Infrastructure Commission in order to stop long-term decisions being kicked into the long grass.
  • Set out ten National Infrastructure Goals which Britain should achieve over the coming decades, including being the most connected and open trading nation in the world as well as the best place in the world to do scientific research
  • Get at least 200,000 new homes built a year to relieve Britain’s housing crisis
  • Make a swift decision on expanding airport capacity in London and the South East, following the Davies review, while taking into account the environmental impact

Labour will promote a new broader industrial strategy. We will:

  • Secure the jobs of the future by backing sectors where the UK has a competitive edge
  • Set a new broader direction for industrial strategy, so that it includes domestic sectors with the highest shares of employment and output, alongside those in which the UK has an established comparative advantage in international trade
  • Strengthen Britain’s manufacturing supply chains to ensure the UK remains a globally competitive investment environment for advanced manufacturing
  • Boost investment in low-carbon technologies by setting a legal target to remove the carbon from our electricity supply by 2030 and improve energy efficiency
  • Strengthen the Green Investment Bank and be a world leader in green technology, creating one million additional high technology jobs by 2025
  • Implement a long-term innovation strategy in science and research to help create new products and improve the UK’s record of underinvestment in R&D

Labour will promote competition to ensure market efficiency. We will:

  • Build on the UK’s robust competition regime, so that it provides a rigorous framework for incumbent firms and opportunities for new challengers to enter markets
  • Increase competition in retail banking, working with the independent Competition and Markets Authority to deliver new challenger banks and a market share test to ensure the market stays competitive for the long term
  • Reset the energy market so that it works in the interests of consumers, including forcing them to buy and sell their electricity through an open exchange
  • Freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 so that they can only fall and not rise and introduce a tougher regulation regime so that if wholesale prices fall and this is not passed on fairly to consumers, the regulator would have the power to cut prices

Labour will devolve economic power and funding to every part of the country. We will:

  • Devolve power and funding worth at least £30 billion over five years in areas recommended by the Adonis Review including employment support, transport and housing, skills and business support
  • Create more Combined Authorities to tackle the chronic problems of poor skills, infrastructure and economic development
  • Allow Combined Authorities to retain 100 per cent of additional business rates raised through growing businesses in their region
  • Strengthen and reform Local Enterprise Partnerships to give businesses a direct say over growth strategies and priorities
  • Deliver the next steps in devolution to Scotland and Wales, including greater responsibility for tax and spending decisions

Labour will take action to help make work pay and stop firms being undercut. We will:

  • Increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour before 2020
  • Encourage more employers to pay a living wage by establishing ‘Make Work Pay’ contracts, giving a tax rebate to those companies that sign up to become living wage employers in the first year of the next Parliament
  • Introduce a new, lower 10 pence starting rate of tax benefitting 24 million working people on middle and lower incomes, paid for by scrapping the unfair marriage tax allowance.
  • Require listed companies to report on whether or not they pay the living wage, and follow the lead of Labour Councils by using government contracts to spread the payment of the living wage
  • Ban exploitative zero-hour contracts to ensure that workers who work regular hours get a regular contract
  • Make the exploitation of migrant labour to undercut wages illegal
  • Introduce a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee, paid for by a bank bonus tax, to provide a paid starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year which they will have to take up or lose benefits


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