Ed Miliband put a turbulent week behind him on a visit to Pilkington’s Cowley Hill works this morning (Friday, October 4).
The Labour leader took time out from his war of words with the Daily Mail to take a tour of Pilks’ £36m Project Chocolate, aimed at producing the next generation of energy-efficient K Glass.
The visit coincided with his plan to freeze spiralling energy costs - which he estimates would save the country’s businesses a staggering £1.4bn.
He said: “I really enjoyed the tour. It was great to look around a great British manufacturer. We’ve also been talking a lot about the issue of energy costs because Labour’s planned price freeze will not just be good for families but good for businesses too.
“It’s a pro business measure which will help businesses which are really struggling. Energy costs are one of the biggest issues many businesses face - both small and large.”
Mr Miliband admitted that firms like Pilks - now owned by NSG Group - faced “difficult times” during the recession, but said Government should help them “grow and prosper” by cutting energy costs and business rates.
He also pledged to tackle the cost of living crisis, which continues squeeze many household budgets across St Helens - and to get jobseekers back to work.
He added: “Labour has clear policies to abolish the bedroom tax, freeze energy bills and strengthen the minimum wage - all properly funded by making different choices about how the country can move forward.
“We’ve also got to get our young people back to work and we’ll guarantee jobs for every young person who has been unemployed for more than a year - including right here in St Helens.
“It makes no sense to leave young people out of work year after year and it doesn’t have to be that way. We will guarantee them work, paid for the a tax on bankers’ bonuses. We’ll say to businesses we’ll pay the wages, you provide the training and let’s get our young people back to work again.”