The Single Market and the Customs Union create jobs for working people in Britain, by breaking down barriers to trade. Any resurrecting of these barriers will put jobs at risk, which is why I and 30 other Labour MPs have put down an Early Day Motion in Parliament supporting our continued membership of the Customs Union.
This general election in London is a choice between an uncaring Tory Government, dismissive of London's views and destructive to its economic interests; and Labour MPs who will fight tooth and nail against a hard Brexit that makes our constituents worse off. There is a better road for London, and we will spend the time between now and election day arguing passionately for it.
More than 10 months after the referendum, it is clear the promise of Tory Leavers to boost NHS funding has evaporated. All we are left with is their record. David Davis backing job cuts and an end to vital free operations. Liam Fox calling for an end to the ring-fencing of NHS spending, meaning brutal cuts that would hit patients. Boris Johnson saying that people should have to pay a fee just to see their GP. At this election, it is vital that these hard Brexit Tories are held accountable.
As I told the Brexit Secretary David Davis in the House of Commons today, such an outcome would be disastrous for jobs and growth. Every car we export to Europe would become 10% more expensive; every item of clothing, 12%; every joint of British lamb, 40%. UK goods would be priced out of competitiveness in the European market.
Most Britons - whether they voted Leave or Remain - will be the losers in this scenario; the top 1% of earners and tax-avoiding multinationals will be the winners. So the Prime Minister needs to stop betting the house on the most unpredictable US president in history, and embrace the safe option of staying in the Single Market.
We have a difficult time ahead. But our country has chosen its course. And so it is ours for the making, as we forge a common life and meet these shared challenges together, unfolding where we work, in our schools, streets, pubs and places of worship, in the places where people from different walks of life come together. Let's build a country which all citizens can call their own.
The Government failed dismally to keep the promise made by its pro-Leave members - to spend £350million more on the NHS every week. This was the most high-profile promise made by Vote Leave, and the Autumn Statement was the perfect opportunity to say that this pledge would be kept once we leave.
Our politics is caught between two stools. A populism which refuses to acknowledge the challenges free movement can pose; and a populism that wants to pull up the drawbridge altogether, and places the blame for all the country's problems at the feet of immigrants. Rejecting both positions may not be fashionable but is the right thing to do.
In the parallel universe inhabited by government ministers, Brexit is presenting absolutely no problems to Britain whatsoever. Just yesterday, David Davis airily said that there is "no downside" to Brexit. No downside. At all. Encouraging, isn't it? But in the real world, sorrows are coming in battalions.
During the EU referendum campaign, the Vote Leave campaign repeatedly reassured the British people that a vote for Brexit would boost the economy and create jobs. And they dismissed all expert warnings of the consequences of a vote to leave - from the Bank of England, IMF, Treasury and others. But Monday has seen just the latest in a series of shockingly bad economic numbers... While the new Prime Minister earnestly reassures the nation about her commitment to an industrial strategy, her government is packed full with Leave campaigners who have made that strategy immensely more difficult to carry out.
Today, I've launched Vote Leave Watch, a new grassroots campaign to hold Leave campaigners to account for the promises they made during the EU referendum - and to call them out when they fail to deliver... The Leavers want us all to forget about the things they said during the campaign. For all voters - Leave or Remain - it is vital that this does not happen. At Vote Leave Watch, we will spend every day scrutinising Boris, Gove, Andrea Leadsom and the rest of them, and letting you know if they aren't delivering.
We cannot turn our backs to the world. While globalisation and migration present challenges, they will still be there even if we leave the EU. The twenty first century has brought huge change, but it is here to stay. Closing ourselves off to the world will not extend our influence and ability to control our own affairs - quite the opposite. Our membership and influence in the EU tempers the excesses of globalisation and helps us make it work for our local communities. The EU is not perfect, but we have to be in it to reform it.
Osborne will claim his Chancellorship a success next Wednesday but he has failed to meet the benchmarks against which he said we should judge him when he moved into No 11 Downing. And which group, above all else, has paid the price for his failure and are now being punished as Osborne seeks to retrieve something in time for the Tory leadership election? Our young people.
It is sometimes said that we must choose between trade with Europe and trade with the rest of the world. The truth, however, is that our place in Europe expands our trading opportunities globally. When negotiating free trade agreements, the collective clout of the EU's 500million consumers can secure terms better than those available to the UK, with our population of 65million. Our economy is not just stronger in Europe now, but will continue to be stronger in the future.
Britain faces huge challenges to compete in a world being transformed by the pace of technological change and the rapid rise of emerging economies, which whilst intensifying competition are also creating huge new markets and new opportunities. The government is failing to meet these challenges and to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and ease the burden on households. After four years of Conservative-led government, wages after inflation are on average £1,600 a year lower than in 2010.
Businesses are facing their own version of this crisis - a cost of doing business crisis. We have now found out that, because of inflation, business rates are going to increase by an average of £430 from next April, at a total cost to businesses of £700m. This is happening year after year - they have already gone up by £1,500 on average under David Cameron.
It is true that there have been successful privatisations in times past but we also know there are examples, particularly in rail and energy, which resulted in sub-standard services and people being ripped off. Our goal on entering government will be to ensure that the same fate does not befall the British people in respect of the Royal Mail.
On Wednesday, Ed Miliband made a speech at Google - a business that has been making headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. To the outsider, the profitability of its business model looks plain to see. Yet of £3bn of revenue earned in the UK, it has paid only £3m in tax. Google are not alone in this seeming imbalance. The UK tax bill paid by companies from Amazon to Apple to Starbucks has raised deep concerns among businesses and families who pay their fair share. These are all prominent examples of a more general conundrum: the struggles for national governments framing tax rules for global companies.
I am delighted that the Huffington Post UK is launching its new Young Talent page. I am sure it will become essential reading for young entrepreneurs, the restless spirits looking for sage advice. I know it will be valuable for me to get a window on your world, and the challenges you face.
07/02/2013 10:20 GMT
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