In his speech to yesterday’s Policy Network conference, ‘The Quest for Growth’, Ed Miliband introduced the concept of ‘pre-distribution’. Recognising that a Labour Government in 2015 would seek to pursue social democratic outcomes without recourse to tax and spend, he argued that instead of redistributing resources, Labour should ensure that they are distributed properly in the first place.
To quote Ed directly:
“The redistribution of the last Labour government relied on revenue which the next Labour government will not enjoy. The option of simply increasing tax credits in the way we did before will not be open to us.
“Of course, redistribution will always remain necessary. But we’ve learned that it is not sufficient…. We need to care about pre-distribution as well as redistribution.
“Pre-distribution is about saying: We cannot allow ourselves to be stuck with permanently being a low-wage economy. It is neither just, nor does it enable us to pay our way in the world. Our aim must be to transform our economy so it is a much higher skill, higher wage economy. Think about somebody working in a call centre, a supermarket, or in an old peoples’ home. Redistribution offers a top-up to their wages. Pre-distribution seeks to offer them more: Higher skills. With higher wages. An economy that works for working people.”
When pressed for an example of how this works, Ed gave the example of Labour councils that have used procurement policy to pay the Living Wage.
This is important stuff and it deserves a trade union response.
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