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Ed Miliband speech in Stockton

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Ed Miliband's speech at The Arc Theatre and Arts Centre, Stockton-on-Tees

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Let’s hear it for Louise Baldock.

And I know we are all working tirelessly to make Louise the next MP for Stockton South.

And it is great to be here with Alex Cunningham, Dave Anderson, Emma Lewell-Buck, Andy McDonald, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Ian Wright and Julie Elliot.

There’s only ten days to go now.

Ten days until the most important general election in a generation.

Ten days until the tightest general election in a generation.

Ten days until we have the chance to get rid of David Cameron and elect a Labour government.

There has been the usual sound and fury in the last few weeks.

I have relished taking our message to every single part of this country.

And let’s remind everyone in our country what we’re campaigning for in the next ten days.

Because it is more than our party.

We’re campaigning for a Britain where working people are properly rewarded once again.

We’re campaigning for a Britain where every young person, whatever their background, can begin their working lives with a future that promises to be better, not worse, than their parents’.

We’re campaigning for a Britain where everyone is held to account and plays by fair rules, including the most powerful like energy companies and the banks.

We’re campaigning for a Britain that deals with its debts responsibly, without shredding our NHS and vital public services.

We’re campaigning for a recovery that doesn’t stop in the City of London but reaches the front doors of working families across Britain.

And we’re campaigning for Britain which finally says enough is enough to the tax avoiders, the hedge funds and the Tory donors.

I don’t know whether you saw yesterday, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was defending the state-sponsored tax avoidance, the non-dom rule.

Well, I’ve got news for him, we will do what no government has done for 200 years and abolish that rule.

Friends, we know Britain can do better than this.

We know Britain must do better than this.

And with a Labour government we know Britain will do better than this.

And it is these ideals that have inspired our whole campaign.

I am proud that we are leading the most positive, the most optimistic, the most forward-looking campaign this Party ever has run.

A campaign all centred around one core idea:

That Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.

And that idea has run through the very core of each of our five pledges.

First, we will build a strong economic foundation for our country.

Balancing the books and cutting the deficit every year.

With not a single commitment that requires additional borrowing.

Not a single one.

Second, we will change our economy so that we create higher living standards for working families.

It’s why we will raise the minimum wage to more than £8 an hour.

Freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter.

Provide 25 hours free childcare to working families with 3 and 4 year olds.

And why we will stamp out the epidemic of insecurity that is sweeping our country.

And ban those exploitative zero hours contracts.

We will legislate so that if you do regular hours you get a regular contract.

Third, we will protect our NHS for the future and create a health service that has time to care once again.

GP appointments guaranteed within 48 hours.

Cancer tests within one week.

And 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 more midwives.

Paid for by those at the top of our society, including from a mansion tax on properties over £2 million.

Because this Party believes that those with the broadest shoulders should always bear the greatest burden.

Fourth, we will have controls on immigration.

Immigration can benefit our country.

But there have to be protections to make sure it works for working people.

That’s why people who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years.

And we will make it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

This Labour Party will root out the gang-masters, the landlords who cram people twenty to a house and the firms that don’t pay the minimum wage.

We will fight exploitation wherever we find it.

Fifth, we will build a country with hope for our young people once again.

Smaller class sizes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds.

An apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.

And making university more affordable.

With tuition fees reduced from £9,000 to £6,000.

Because we are determined to reduce the burden of debt on our young people.

None of these things will be easy.

They won’t all happen overnight.

But I know they will begin to change our country.

But I also know that even all of this isn’t enough by itself.

There’s more work to do.

Because one of the biggest burdens working people face isn’t captured in these five pledges.

A burden that holds more people back today than at any time we can remember.

That blights the chances for the next generation.

A challenge that I have talked about ever since becoming Labour leader.

The challenge of finding a home of your own.

There’s nothing more British than the dream of home ownership.

But for so many young people today that dream is fading.

Millions more renting when they want to buy.

New properties being snapped up before local people get a look-in.

And what has this government done about it?

Let me tell you.

They have presided over the lowest level of housebuilding in peacetime for almost one hundred years.

The number of affordable homes being built has fallen every year under this government.

And we now have the lowest level of home ownership for a generation.

No wonder people can’t get the start they need.

Working families deserve better.

So today I am proud to announce an additional commitment.

One more guarantee.

A sixth pledge.

And let me explain what this pledge means for the working people of Britain.

Yesterday, I announced a new deal for those who rent their homes.

Eleven million people rent their homes in the private sector.

Half of them under 35.

It is time to end the insecurity that they so often face.

That’s why we will have three-year stable tenancies.

And a real cap on how much rents can rise in that time.

Set at no more than inflation.

So that people can enjoy real security in the place they live.

And what did the Tories say?

Eric Pickles came up with a ludicrous attack.

He says it will do more to destroy cities than aerial bombardment.

Let the Tories be the people who stand up for insecurity, unfairness and sub-standard accommodation for people renting privately.

That’s not the way they live.

Why should it be the way anyone else does?

This Labour government will put an end to it.

And put an end to the rotten government of which he is a part.

So we will legislate in the first year of a Labour government for a fair deal for those who rent.

And we are going to oversee a revolution in home ownership in this country.

There will be the biggest house building programme for a generation.

We will build at least 200,000 homes a year by the end of the Parliament.

On course to start the building of one million new homes.

We will unlock £5 billion from a Future Homes Fund to help build those new homes.

We will build a new generation of towns, garden cities and suburbs.

We won’t let those large developers just hoard land.

Waiting for it to go up in value when it could be used to build homes.

We’ll say: either you use the land or you lose the land.

And new housing will be our first priority for capital investment, including for council housing and housing associations.

But we won’t just build homes.

We will make sure there is real priority for first-time buyers.

It is simply too expensive for so many young people to buy a home today.

Saving up for the deposit.

Paying the fees.

And having enough left over for the stamp duty.

So we’re going to act.

We’re going to put first time buyers first.

For the first three years of the next Labour government, we will abolish stamp duty for all first time buyers buying a home under £300,000.

That’s nine out of ten of all first time buyers in Britain.

Saving up to £5,000.

Because the government I lead is determined to restore the dream of home ownership in our country.

And let me tell you exactly how we will pay for it.

Not with borrowing.

Or taxes on everyday families.

We will stop tax avoidance by landlords, which HMRC estimates is costing over £500 million a year.

We will crackdown on rogue landlords who claim tax relief and people who buy properties through corporations in order to avoid stamp duty.

And we will increase stamp duty by at least three per cent for people who come and buy properties in this country from overseas outside the European Union.

Because in the Britain we believe in houses should be lived in by families, not bought up by speculators.

So we will give help for your first home.

And we will give first call for first time buyers.

People are fed up with homes in their local community being built and then snapped up by out of town buy-to-let landlords.

We will act.

Under our plans, we will give first call on up to half of new homes in an area to people who have lived there for three years.

Because when planning permission is granted in a local community it is the local community that should benefit.

So this is our sixth pledge.

Homes to buy and action on rents.

The biggest house building programme for a generation with priority for first-time buyers.

And their stamp duty cut to zero.

Secure three year rents capped by inflation.

This is what we mean by putting working people first.

It is a better plan.

For a better future.

And that plan is based on one simple truth - a truth so different from the Tories’ idea:

When your family succeeds, Britain succeeds too.

Balancing the books.

Rewarding hard work and tackling the cost-of-living crisis.

Protecting our NHS, so it is there for our children and grandchildren as it has been there for us.

Fair rules for everyone in our country, from top to bottom.

Providing education and opportunity for all our young people, upon whom Britain’s future relies.

And transforming housing in this country.

Let me end by saying this to the British people, as we enter the last ten days.

This election is not about any one politician.

Or any one political party.

It is about you: the people.

Elections are when you have the power.

You have got to decide how you use that power.

This is your time.

This is your moment.

This chance only comes once every five years.

This is the closest election in a generation.

And the most important election in a generation

And that’s because it is a choice about whether your family will be put first.

Or whether we will carry on with a country that puts the richest and most powerful first.

Let’s make Britain work for working families once again.

This is a plan not just for a fairer country.

But a more prosperous one.

A better plan.

A better future.

Let’s make it happen together.

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