Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party writes in the Labour North Conference Magazine:
Welcome to Labour North Regional Conference. I’m sorry I can’t be with you in Newton Aycliffe this weekend.
There couldn’t be a better place for the Conference to be held - next to the new site of Hitachi Rail, a company investing in the region thanks to the groundwork done by the former Labour government, a deal secured by a Labour MP and delivered by a Labour Council.
Since becoming Leader, I have visited the North region regularly and have always enjoyed talking directly to local people. From listening to them it’s clear that these continue to be really tough times for people in the North East and Cumbria.
The Tories and Liberal Democrats claim hardworking families in Britain are better off. But David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg simply don’t understand the cost of living crisis facing hardworking families in Britain.
The truth is hardworking people are £1,600 a year worse off under David Cameron. Britain is facing a cost of living crisis in rising prices, stagnant wages, long hours, falling living standards, and declining opportunities for their children.
Working people know the Tories are making the cost of living crisis worse not better. In local councils and in Westminster, the Tories repeatedly put a privileged few before hardworking families. Hardworking people, the next generation, our schools and hospitals – all are worse off under this Tory-led government.
In these difficult times, the choices are starker and Labour’s values of fairness matter more than ever – especially when there is less money to spend. We would re-write the rules of our economy to curb excessive executive pay and encourage businesses which invest, invent, train, make and sell real products and services.
We would stand up to powerful vested interests – from the energy firms to financial services – who think they are so big or so powerful they can do what they want.
Hardworking people will be better off with Labour.
Better off with a Labour council, prioritising the NHS, housing and childcare, not worse off with the Tories who will cut services.
Better off with a Labour government, freezing energy prices, fighting for the NHS, getting young people back to work, and balancing the books in a fair way. And we’ll reverse David Cameron’s (and Nick Clegg’s) tax cut for the richest 1 per cent.
The Tories and Liberal Democrats are showing they are badly out of touch with the needs of the North, with families, with young people and with business.
In May, people across the North will go to the polls in Local and European elections.
We can be proud of our achievements in recent elections. We can build on that progress by gaining even more councillors and supporting our fantastic teams of European candidates in the North East and North West.
This year’s elections can be a real springboard to success in the General Election as we fight to ensure Lee Sherriff, Anna Turley and Louise Baldock, our brilliant candidates in Carlisle, Redcar and Stockton South, win back their communities for Labour.
This year we will once more show that Labour is on the side of people and can still make Britain a fairer country, even in these tough times. I’m asking you, our dedicated members, the lifeblood of our party, to take our message from this Conference out to your communities: The Labour Party is with you, fighting hard, and fighting to win.
Enjoy your Conference.