Theresa May has said she wants to run a government that “steps up and not back” to create “society that works for everyone”.
In her speech to the Conservative Party conference today, the prime minister told her party it was “time to remember the good the government can do”.
May signaled greater government intervention in energy, broadband and housing.
The prime minister also intends to try and push wealth beyond London to the regions and signaled she wants to give workers more power over the companies they work for.
Some commentators noticed May’s rhetoric around state intervention and the responsibilities of business appeared similar to what Ed Miliband had said while he was Labour leader. It was not lost on him either.
May told Tory activists today: “Conservatives have always understood that if you want to preserve something important, you need to be prepared to reform it. We must apply that same approach today,” she said.
“That’s why where markets are dysfunctional, we should be prepared to intervene.”
“It’s just not right, for example, that half of people living in rural areas, and so many small businesses, can’t get a decent broadband connection.
“It’s just not right that two thirds of energy customers are stuck on the most expensive tariffs.
“And it’s just not right that the housing market continues to fail working people either.”
The prime minister said she would be “using the power of government to step in and repair the dysfunctional housing market”.
May also said quantitative easing, had “bad side effects” - suggesting it will be stopped.
She said: “People with assets have got richer. People without them have suffered. People with mortgages have found their debts cheaper. People with savings have found themselves poorer.”
may said under her, the Conservatives would take a “new approach that says while government does not have all the answers, government can and should be a force for good”
“The state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot and that we should employ the power of government for the good of the people.”
May said too foten “people who are supposed to hold big business accountable are drawn from the same, narrow social and professional circles”. And said the government would publish plans to have “not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well”.
The prime minister also claimed she wanted to tackle regional “division and unfairness” that existed “between the wealth of London and the rest of the country”.
Labour shadow cabinet minister John Ashworth said May was “appropriating Labour policies”.
“She talked about workers on boards, limited action to deal with energy prices and has abandoned the surplus target which we consistently warned would not be met,” he said.
“Labour will be watching closely to ensure these aren’t just more empty promises from a Prime Minister who has left the British economy with no fiscal framework and is pressing ahead with cuts to in-work benefits, and local authority funding. That’s not on the side of ordinary working class people it’s the same old Tories helping just the privileged few.”
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