From Harlow to Norfolk, the East of England has given the UK so much. We discovered DNA and sent out the first radio broadcast.
So it is not due to a lack of skill or hard work that the East is now lagging behind. After nearly ten years of neglect Boris Johnson’s Tory party at Westminster has left low pay, low productivity and slow growth. Meanwhile Norwich Council alone says it has seen the number of homelessness cases it handles double.
The Conservatives have slashed funding to our schools and hospitals to pay for handouts to their billionaire friends in the City of London. We have had almost a decade of the Tory party in power – we cannot afford five more years.
There is an alternative. With the launch of our regional manifesto for the East of England, Labour has outlined how we will unlock the potential of everyone in our region. Our vision is of a fairer Britain in which we care for each other, in which wealth and power are shared, and in which every part of the country gets its fair share of investment and a say in shaping our future.
Labour will put the East of England at the forefront of our plan for a new industrial revolution to transform Britain’s future – a Green Industrial Revolution. We will tackle the greatest threat facing our world, the climate crisis, and the scourge of poverty and inequality all whilst building 66,000 green jobs in the East of England
We will make the very richest pay their fair share to rebuild our country after years of neglect. We will put billions of pounds of investment into the region, funding carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production and transport. By expanding the Eastport UK port at Yarmouth we will create a medium sized fabrication yard on the 40 acres of available space at the port to make sure our region can fully capitalise on the opportunities of wind power.
We will also lead a revolution in living standards. We will connect over two million households and businesses across the region to full fibre broadband, the highest possible standard of connectivity, free of charge. Our plans to upgrade almost all our households will reduce bills, eliminate the vast majority of fuel poverty, and make our communities healthier and more comfortable. On top of this we will build 16,000 new, top quality council and social homes a year in the East of England, while our Real Living Wage of £10 per hour will immediately put money in the pockets of nearly 700,000 workers struggling to make ends meet.
Across the country, we will rebuild our crumbling NHS and schools, end injustices such as the theft of 1950s women’s pensions, and tackle the blight of poverty and inequality.
The Conservatives could do all of this if they wanted to. But they don’t care – because the economy is working fine for them, and the ultra-privileged few they represent. That’s why they received £5.6m from well-off donors in just one week, while the average donation to Labour’s people powered campaign is just £25. This week we revealed their plans to sell our NHS to Trump’s America, where people get made homeless or even die because they are unable to afford medical bills.
The Tories have shown they cannot be trusted. Just one of their local broken promises was that, by the end of 2018, Thameslink would enable 24 East Coast Mainline trains per hour to use the route through central London. But this has been repeatedly pushed back, with the latest deadline delayed until December 2019.
More broadly, the East of England has seen years of underfunding across all forms of transport, with transport spending per person £615 lower than it was in London last year. Over the last decade we’ve seen the number of regional bus journeys reduce by 7%. Labour will end this by investing to improve public transport, including building an East-West “Science Valley” rail link. This is just one example of the real change our region needs.
As part of a Labour government, Labour will ensure that our people and our communities are given the resources and the power they need to decide our future. We will bring about a radical shift of power in Britain away from Westminster so that local people and communities have more control over their own lives and prospects. With an Office of Government, Local Transformation Fund and a Regional Development Bank, we will make sure the East of England gets our fair share of investment for small businesses, infrastructure projects and funding for new growth industries.
Read the full manifesto here labour.org.uk/page/regional-manifestos talk about it with your friends, your family, your workmates. And then vote Labour on Thursday 12 December – for the real change we need.