THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has illustrated the ‘best of Britain’ but radical plans are needed to help the country recover.
That was the key message from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer this morning from a major speech on the economy.
The opposition chief was laying out his views on how the country could recover from the pandemic ahead of the Budget on march 3.
Among his suggestions include public bonds that would be used to help the nation recover, with ordinary people encouraged to use teir saving to buy them.
The Labour leader said the British Recovery Bond would be aimed at savers who wanted to “invest in the country’s future”.
He said: “If I were Prime Minister, I would introduce a new British Recovery Bond.
This could raise billions to invest in local communities, jobs and businesses
It could help build the infrastructure of the future – investing in science, skills, technology and British manufacturing
It would also provide security for savers and give millions of people a proper stake in Britain’s future
This is bold, it’s innovative and it’s an example of the active, empowering government I believe is needed if we’re to build a more secure economy.”
Mr Starmer criticised the Conservative Government’s reliance on consumer spending as a way of getting the economy back on track, and said there was “a need to create a new partnership between an active government, enterprising business and the British people.”
He continued: “The Conservatives are incapable of this:
“They simply don’t believe it’s the duty of government to deliver social justice and equality – that’s why they’ll always fall back on the short-term demands of the market.
“But, if we’re honest, for too long Labour has failed to realise that the only way to deliver social justice and equality is through a strong partnership with business.”
He said that the “last decade of failed Conservative ideology and the last year of our collective suffering demand we now create a new, more secure future.”
Mr Starmer said he would create a “new partnership” between Labour and businesses, announcing plans to offer 100,000 start-up loans if he comes to power.
He said:“If we’re honest, for too long Labour has failed to realise that the only way to deliver social justice and equality is through a strong partnership with business – under my leadership, that mind-set will change.
“A new partnership with business – one where we have high expectations of business and where business can have high expectations of Labour – is pivotal to my leadership and to my vision of the future.
“That’s why, if I was prime minister, I’d back a new generation of British entrepreneurs by providing start-up loans for 100,000 new businesses across every region of the UK.
“For too long, businesses have been concentrated in too few parts of our country – this doesn’t reflect where our talent lies and it stifles potential.”
Asked whether his British recovery bond policy would only make the wealthiest richer, said he thought the policy addressed the “short-termism” of the UK’s economy in the past.
The Labour leader said: “No, on the contrary, one of the problems of the past has been the short-termism of our economy, coupled with austerity.
“I’ve given the bond as an example of a longer-term, secure way of investing.
“Many people have, I think, saved for the first time during this pandemic and, as the Bank of England says, they are unlikely to spend it in a hurry and this gives them the security of a bond going forward, and also helps the country secure that economy.”