Labour plans to rebalance Britain’s economy and increase the number of middle-income jobs, a leading member of the shadow cabinet will pledge today.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna will tell an audience of business leaders that economic recovery should benefit all working people, not just a few at the top.
He will tell the annual dinner of the EEF manufacturers’ organisation that the approach of the Conservatives had been “disastrous for Britain”.
The EEF published a new survey showing that almost three out of four people would prefer to buy UK-made goods.
A survey of 2,000 adults also revealed mixed views about whether manufacturing was growing in the UK.
The poll followed a study on re-shoring by the EEF which showed an increasing number of firms bringing production back to the UK from other countries.
EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “This poll highlights the immense importance that the public attaches to manufacturing and its place at the heart of the economy.
“Long gone are the days when some believed we could get by as a service economy and leave the rest of the world to produce goods for us.
“It is now essential that policymakers also recognise manufacturing as a high-value, high-skill sector and support it with policies which encourage its growth.”
Umunna will tell the dinner tonight that Labour wanted a high-productivity, high-skilled, innovation-led economy, offering good jobs.
“That is the only way that we will tackle the cost-of-living crisis and make sure that any recovery benefits all working people, and not just a few at the top.”
He will add that Labour knows it will have to govern with less money if it wins the general election next year, so cuts will be made and there will be no extra borrowing.
“Rest assured that we understand the challenge in respect of the public finances. But reducing the deficit is neither the only economic challenge we face, nor – in the longer term – the most important. Permanent austerity is not what our economy needs in order to grow.”
Umunna will say that Conservative ministers were “intensely relaxed, even enthusiastic” about the prospect of leaving the European Union.
“That would be disastrous for Britain. You simply cannot claim to be pro-exports if you are anti-EU. Shutting ourselves off – as they suggest – poses a huge threat to our future prosperity.”