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Pay and housing among priorities for a Labour government: Rayner

Labour’s deputy leader is to pledge that pay and housing will be among the priorities if the party wins the next general election, as part of a “real life levelling up” for workers.

Angela Rayner will set out Labour’s planned new deal for workers when she addresses the TUC Congress on Tuesday.

As newly appointed Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, she will also talk about her approach to levelling up, criticising “false promises and sound bites” from the Government she said had left the British public feeling “levelled down”.

The TUC published new polling among more than 2,000 people to coincide with the speech, which it said showed huge support for Labour’s employment policies including banning zero hours contracts and hire and fire and giving employment rights from the first day in a job.

Ms Rayner will say: “As a young single mum, it was a Labour government that levelled the playing field for me. When I most needed it, a council house gave me my son a secure home instead of surfing sofas.

“That in turn meant I could go out and find the job that I built a life upon. The minimum wage meant I earned more. A local authority job gave me better skills at work, and a Sure Start centre better skills as a parent, and joining a union changed my whole life and meant I could change other people’s lives too.

“That kind of levelling up transformed my life and my prospects because it was done right. A house and a good, unionised job, with decent conditions, a thriving community empowered to create good local services and educational opportunities – these things were my lifeline, and they are what real levelling-up mean to me.

“But everything I relied upon to improve my life and my community has instead been levelled down by the Tories. With housebuilding and wages plummeting across the whole country, this government’s version of levelling up is a sham – and a scam.

“The mask has slipped, and the public has seen the truth – warm words and politically driven handouts won’t touch the sides. An empty slogan won’t pay decent wages. False promises won’t build secure homes, and a sound bite won’t empower communities.

“Good jobs and homes are the foundations of good lives and communities, and it’s a Labour government that will provide those foundations and build on them, whilst also empowering communities and local leaders to create strong, sustainable economies.

“Labour has a comprehensive plan to create good jobs across the entire country and raise living standards for all through our New Deal for Working People.

“Alongside decent work, Labour has a plan to fix the housing crisis by building more homes, homes people can afford to live in with priority given to local people – and yes, that means more council houses.”

Ms Rayner told a fringe meeting at the conference on Monday that she would “not let down” unions if she becomes deputy prime minister.

She described Labour’s new deal as a “real game changer” for workers as well as for good employers.

“It will change peoples lives for the better.”

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Unfair dismissal protection from day one, a ban on zero hours contracts, greater trade union access to workplaces and fair pay agreements, starting in social care, to get pay rising– these are just some of the policies Labour are promising if elected, with an employment bill in its first 100 days.

“After years of Tory failure, it’s time to reset the economy to work for working people.”