Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
30 October 2013

Miliband to make major speech on wages next week

The Labour leader's first major speech since his conference address will coincide with Living Wage Week.

By George Eaton

After the political success of his proposed energy price freeze, The Staggers has learned that Ed Miliband will make his first major speech since the Labour conference on Tuesday. I’m told by a party source that the address will focus on wages, jobs and policies designed to raise living standards that “do not involve greater borrowing”.

The speech is timed to coincide with Living Wage Week, which will see the new UK and London Living Wage rates for 2013-14 announced on Monday. Policy details will not be released until shortly before, but Miliband has previously suggested that the Living Wage could be made compulsory for all government departments and public sector contractors, and has spoken of his ambition to create “Living Wage Zones”. As outlined by the Resolution Foundation and the IPPR, the zones would operate by transferring some of the savings received by the Treasury through the payment of the living wage (lower benefit payments and higher tax revenues) to local authorities to help them work with businesses to increase wages to living wage levels.

Labour has long believed that the government is vulnerable on wages, noting that real incomes have fallen for 39 of the 40 months that Cameron has been prime minister (the exception being April 2013 when high-earners collected their deferred bonuses to benefit from the abolition of the 50p tax rate) and that the minimum wage is now worth no more than in 2004. Expect Miliband to seek to maximise the coalition’s discomfort next week. As I noted in my PMQs review, when Cameron accuses Miliband of not wanting to talk about the economy, he forgets that, for most voters, living standards are the economy.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy