I’D like to talk about why we are getting poorer and, more importantly, what Labour can do about it. 

Labour’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, recently gave a speech talking about a family she had met. 

A mum and dad with a total of five jobs working so hard they could only spend half a day a week together. 

The mother told her: “I wonder if I’m doing something wrong” because even working long hours there’s no way to get a house or save for a pension. Reeves insists if people working that hard can’t progress then the system has stopped working.  

Why are we getting poorer every year? Put simply, inflation is rising faster than incomes, but that lets years of Tory governments off the hook for their economic failure. Whereas under Labour (1997-2010) the average wage went up £8,700, under the Tories (2010-present) wages flatlined even before COVID. 

In almost all other developed countries wages have gone up by thousands of pounds. If we carry on like this, wages here will be below Poland by 2030, according to former Newsnight economics editor Duncan Weldon. What is the Labour Party going to do about it? Rachel Reeves laid out Labour’s plan, pointing out that in 2010 wages were higher than most of our neighbouring countries. 

Today, we are 10% behind the French and 19% behind the average German. These more successful economies have industrial strategies which ensure things developed in their countries are built there, bringing well-paid jobs to their people. The Tories deliver ever poorer services, while charging us the highest taxes for 70 years. To sort this we must grow the UK economy with an industrial strategy. 

Reeves says the UK is a world-leader in developing new technology but other governments are much stronger at keeping well-paid jobs in their countries. Labour, says Reeves, will make sure when we buy equipment or pay to develop new tech, the jobs stay in Britain. 

Labour will unashamedly take best practice from countries around the world – if the Danish government can make sure its people have well-paid jobs so can we. Labour will do this across the economy.  

Reeves wants every region to benefit from growth. Currently London gets richer while the South West get poorer. 

“Levelling Up” was just a slogan, the reality, according to a Bloomberg report, showing the gap between the richest few constituencies and the rest of us had widened. 

Reeves believes there is “an equal spread of talent and an uneven spread of opportunity” across Britain’s regions, and says that if Labour wins power it will introduce an industrial strategy that brings training and well-paid jobs to people across the UK.