'Low pay fuelling calls to quit EU'

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Prime Minister's Questions
Prime Minister's Questions

Businesses must create decent jobs and tackle low pay to stop Britain being dragged out of the European Union, Ed Miliband will say today.

The Labour leader will tell the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) the economic recovery is "joyless" for many and is fuelling Euroscepticism.

Only major reforms of the way the economy operates, including an end to the poor wages and bad contracts for low skilled workers that have driven EU migration, will stave off the forces that offer "false solutions", he will claim.

Mr Miliband will tell the CBI conference in London: "Mine is not an argument for no change or business as usual. That would simply make the forces demanding false solutions stronger not weaker. The answer is to directly address the discontent people feel, to understand the sources of the problems we face, and offer big change in our country.

"It is not our membership of the European Union, but that globalisation - including immigration - have placed huge pressures on our country. Old jobs have gone, the chances for the next generation do seem worse than the last, and people don't think the country is run in a fair way.

"We must change fundamentally the way our economy works so that it meets the basic aspirations of the British people for, good jobs at decent wages, proper opportunity for the next generation, and a country that is seen to be fair. And I want to do this in partnership with you.

"We won't agree about everything if I am Prime Minister. But in everything I do there will be consistent leadership.

"I am not going to say it is OK to carry on as we are with the economy we have. Because I don't believe it is.

"I am not going to say we should close our borders. Because I don't believe we should. I am not going to play politics with our membership of the European Union because I don't believe it would make Britain stronger or more confident in the world.

"But I make you this promise: I am going to work, every single day, with you, to make the changes we need to make so that we ensure our economic recovery works for everyone and not just a few."

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Farage: PM 'Cannot Deliver' on His Promise Over EU
Farage: PM 'Cannot Deliver' on His Promise Over EU

Mr Miliband will accuse David Cameron of putting the nation's future prosperity in danger by flirting with the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union, putting millions of jobs at risk.

He will add: "There are some people in our country who advocate exit from the EU. There are others who flirt with it, thinking they can do so without consequence. Both are equally dangerous.

"Giving succour to the argument that the real answer is leaving the EU, or contemplating it, simply drags us closer to exit.

"And every nod and wink to those who want to leave sends a message to potential investors in our country that we are not open for business.

"It is a betrayal of our national interest. It is a clear and present danger to our future prosperity.

"The way to overcome these false solutions is not to pander to them. Not to posture about finding ways of accommodating them. Not to make promises everyone knows you cannot keep."

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said a referendum on British membership of the EU would be "dangerous".

"I do think it is dangerous because I think what people want us to concentrate on now is ensuring that we get our economy going and reform it so that it is delivering better jobs and growth," he told BBC Radio 4.

"A reformed Europe is absolutely an essential part of that."

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