Miliband: My vision for a new era of industry in city.
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband today outlined his vision to make Liverpool one of the country's leading manufacturing powerhouses and ensure greedy bankers pick up the tab for educating the city's youth in the face of the spiralling cost of university fees.
Mr Miliband, speaking ahead of his keynote speech at the party's first conference in Liverpool for 86 years, said too much power had been concentrated in London and that he had a vision to ensure the city benefited from both private and public sector jobs under a Labour gover nment.
Mr Miliband also paid tribute to how the city's Labour council had managed government spending cuts despite the Tories singling out Liverpool as an authority making cutbacks to services for the most vulnerable in order to score political points.
Speaking at the Jury's Inn hotel - the Labour nerve centre for the duration of the conference at the ECHO arena - Mr Miliband said it was great to be back in a city so crucial to the history of the party's growth.
He added: "My overwhelming sense, because of Labour''s history in Liverpool and Labour''s presence in Liverpool is as I remember as a 15/16-year-old Neil Kinnock making that speech in 1985 about Liverpool council.
"The idea that a Labour leader would have wanted to come to Liverpool to support its council and the job it was doing, I think you would have given money against it at that time and that is a sign of the way Liverpool has been transformed, despite the problems at the moment.
"I said earlier in the year, I think it was at the Local Government conference, I thought it was a disgrace the way that the government was going after Liverpool council because the idea they were making job cuts as a political point is offensive frankly.
"I am proud to be here, I am proud of our relationship with this city and I am proud of the council. And we have already had a nice welcome from people."
He added it was crucial that, alongside strides being made to encourage the financial sector and the "knowledge economy" to invest in the city, there was a need to make sure skilled industries returned to the city and break the hold of the capital over the country's economic power.
Mr Miliband said: "I don''t think we have valued manufacturing enough for decades in Britain and that is really important.
"There are new areas of manufacturing that can make a huge difference to our country, green industries, other advanced technology industries and we have got to support those industries. We have got to be a country that sells things, makes things.We can''t just be a country of financial services."
But he added that under a Labour government it would not be left to the private sector alone to be responsible for what the government terms "picking up the slack" of public sector job losses.
He said: "Relocation of public sector jobs, would Liverpool benefit? Definitely. It''s really important. We are far too centralised a country and far too centralised around London.
"It''s a massive problem for Britain. Look at all the European countries that succeed and they have lots of centres of power and influence. I want more powers for local authorities that do the right thing.
"I think you have got to make us a less London-centred country. London is really important but you have got to build up other areas of the country, other centres of power. I actually think in a way the job is half done.
"In Liverpool if you compare it now to where it was 25 years ago there is a real transformation but there is further to go, there is definitely further to go and the public sector has got to play its part in it.
"I think one of the tragedies under this government is that some of the support there was - regional development agencies and all that - to build up our regions and cities outside London has gone."
He added that youngsters from the city should have their student fees capped at pounds 6,000 rather than the government's proposed pounds 9,000 and that bankers should pick up the bill in order to get the country's young people working again.
He said: "One of the big arguments we are going to be making this week is the way the government needs to change course on the economy because the thing we can really make a difference on is if we had a bank bonus tax to put young people back to work.
"In Liverpool that would make a big difference."
MP'S RED MIST WALTON MP Steve Rotheram went head-to-head - literally - with an opponent as Labour MPs crashed to a 3-2 defeat in the annual conference football match against political journalists.
The central defender got caught up in a minor fracas with Andrew Porter, of the Daily Telegraph (left), after a typically robust challenge. But the pair quickly made up.
Liverpool-born Andy Burnham, Labour''s education spokesman and the party's man of the match, scored a stunning goal - but was unable to prevent the journalists'' team claiming the cup.
Fellow frontbenchers Ed Balls and Jim Murphy also played. Mr Balls was unlucky to fail to score an equaliser in the final minutes, a looping shot clipping the bar on the way down.
Bill Esterson, the Sefton Central MP, also turned out for the Labour XI, at the National Grid-sponsored fixture played at the Liverpool County Football Association ground, at Walton Hall Park.
DOWN TO BUSINESS: Ed Miliband gets the conference underway yesterday WELCOME: Ed Miliband arrives at the ECHO arena with his wife and children ADDRESS: Liverpool city council leader Joe Anderson speaking at the conference RING OF STEEL: Security is tight at the ECHO arena