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Watch: Salford MP Rebecca Long-Bailey outlines ‘patriotic economy’ at Labour Party Conference


In a speech to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rebecca Long-Bailey MP outlined plans for a new economic position for Labour.

The Salford and Eccles MP decried the “savage destruction of our industrial heartlands” while talking of a “patriotic economy”.

She said: “Patriotism is not just about waving a flag during the World Cup. It is a real, life-long commitment to the people around you. A commitment to ensuring a high quality of life for British people.

“When you pay your taxes, you are investing in the British people. When you work in British industry, you are investing in the British people.

“You are investing in schools, in hospitals, roads, railways, the armed forces.

“This commitment to British people should be woven into every aspect of the British economy,” she said.

“Theresa May has the bare-faced cheek to talk about equality of opportunity while millions of people queue for food banks.

“While HMRC is doing deals with huge corporations like Google to cut their tax bills and billions of pounds is siphoned off each year into offshore bank accounts in British Crown dependencies.

“Labour will stop this.”

She promised Labour would “rewrite the rules” over tax avoidance and would set up a full public enquiry while investing more in HMRC to bring tax avoiders to bear.

She reiterated that £500 billion would be split between a National Investment Bank and network of regional development banks which had “a public investment commitment”.

At the conference on Saturday Jeremy Corbyn won an emphatic victory to take the Labour leadership contest by 313,209 votes to Owen Smith’s 193,229.

Corbyn had launched his leadership bid at The Lowry in Salford in July.

Despite deep divisions in the party which saw Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet resign almost in its entirity, Smith played down talk of a split in the Labour movement.

“It’s Labour or nothing for me,” said the Pontypridd MP.

“It now falls primarily to Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader to heal those divisions and to unite our movement.

“We have to turn round our dire opinion poll ratings and take on this right-wing, failing Tory Government.”

Long-Bailey speaks to the conference hall in Liverpool

Long-Bailey speaks to the conference hall in Liverpool

Salford suffered most from ‘trickle-down’ economics

The Salford MP talked of the anger on the doorstep while out canvassing for the EU Remain campaign from communities “who felt left behind”, that there was little chance of families being able to afford a decent home and that public services, the NHS and schools were being “starved of funding”.

“Salford was once an industrial heartland. We manufactured some of the world’s greatest products and British industry for a long time was the envy of the world.

“But from the 1980’s onwards we saw the mass de-industrialisation of towns and cities across Britain.

“Factories closed and jobs were outsourced overseas to cheaper labour markets.

“We were told that it was all okay; whilst wealth appeared to be sucked up, it would eventually trickle down.

“Well…it didn’t.

“Communities were devastated, they suffered decades of decline and this lack of investment resulted in our economy becoming dangerously unbalanced.

“Skewed towards the bankers in the City of London. Skewed towards the South East and skewed towards unskilled, low-security jobs.”

Places like Salford suffered the worst from the 2008 financial crisis, said the local MP.

Green economy: Fracking banned under Labour

Long-Bailey’s Shadow Cabinet counterpart Barry Gardiner confirmed in his Conference speech fracking would be banned if Labour won the next general election.

And the Salford MP promised that a Labour economy would be “fair and green”, focusing on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

“If the Government bothered to look it would see the enormous potential Britain has to create this vision.

“Despite the savage destruction of our industrial heartlands, we already have the industries of the future waiting to sprout up, in advanced manufacturing, healthcare technologies, low carbon and renewable energies.

“Led by collaboration between the public and private sectors, we’ll provide the infrastructure workers and businesses need to succeed by investing in high-quality transport across the whole country, alongside a commitment to meet the ‘best’ broadband internet standards in the world.

A National Education Service, floated by Corbyn as a key part of his original leadership campaign, would scrap university tuition fees and guarantee free training for adults for a set number of hours every week.

“This Government has sat on its hands and looked on as a small minority of people and businesses put their own financial gains ahead of the British people through tax avoidance,” said Long-Bailey.

But my mum has a saying: ‘Back the British people into a corner at your peril: they will always come out fighting.’

“Labour will make sure that Britain leads the next industrial revolution.

Consultation on jobs to North great

“Today Labour is launching a wide ranging consultation, which will establish the priorities, interventions, institutions and processes, needed to truly deliver a successful industrial strategy.

“This Government merely talks about industrial strategy; Labour will build it.

“We will focus on: jobs, productivity, sustainability, regional and sectoral balances.

“We will work together with businesses, the trade union movement, the third sector, the public sector, and other industry stakeholders, to truly establish the foundations of our new economy.

“Labour will build the British economy of the future.”

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Tom Rodgers

Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.