LABOUR will not get back into power until the party restores its credibility on managing public finances, according to party leadership contender Liz Kendall.
She delivered the stark message as the four leadership candidates pitched for the support of Labour councillors in Harrogate yesterday.
Ms Kendall said: “Let’s be honest, unless we are trusted on the public finances and getting deficit and the debt down people will not give us a hearing for the broad things we want to do.”
Ms Kendall said the party need to face the issue of welfare reform “head on”.
“I don’t want to see £30 billion of taxpayers’ money spent on tax credits subsidising low pay employers, we’ve got to have a living wage society.
“And I don’t want to see £27 billion going on housing benefit. I want that money going into building new homes.
“If we simply make the same case we have been making over the last five years we will lose again. We’ve got to be bold and change.”
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham told the hustings event at the Local Government Association conference that Labour had not done enough in Government to tackle housing shortages.
Mr Burnham said the party’s leadership should have listened to warnings from its councillors over the need for more council homes.
“If we had been listening to you when we were in government we would have done that and we wouldn’t have a housing crisis on the scale that we have not got,” he said.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the audience she wanted to see fairer funding for councils and police and called for more scrutiny of the Government’s spending plans.
“Too often they nationalise decisions but they localise blame and we musn’t let them get away with it,” the Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton MP said.