Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Labour unveils plan to boost wages
Labour leader Ed Miliband addresses shoppers in Brighton town centre on the eve of the Labour Party annual conference
Forcing firms to train a British apprentice for every non-EU overseas worker they bring to the UK will help create a "high wage economy" in the UK, Ed Miliband has said as the Labour conference opens.
The policy was one of several set out by the Opposition leader as he seeks to use the platform of the annual gathering to convince voters his party can help ease a cost of living "crisis".
Scrapping the so-called "bedroom tax", moves to strengthen the minimum wage and huge fines for firms that breach it and a guarantee of extra childcare for working parents were also unveiled.
Mr Miliband arrived in Brighton with the party's poll lead dwindling and internal critics warning he has failed to set out a clear strategy for the 2015 general election.
Labour has also been rocked by the reopening of old wounds with the publication of disgraced Gordon Brown spin doctor Damian McBride's insider account of vicious party in-fighting.
Mr Miliband took his message directly to voters yesterday, warning that the Tories were interested in helping only the "privileged few" as he took the stage on a busy shopping street.
As many as 125,000 new apprenticeships could be created over five years under the foreign worker plan, which was seen as a signal of a tougher stance on immigration.
"I want a high wage British economy, not a low wage brutish economy," Mr Miliband told the Sunday Mirror. saying immigration was a force for good but only if done "in the right way".
"We are saying we shouldn't stop people bringing people over from abroad if they have something particular to contribute, and there would have to be criteria for that, but also you've got to show your responsibility as an employer to train the next generation," he said.
The punishment for "systematic abuse" of the minimum wage by employers would soar tenfold from £5,000 to £50,000 under a Labour administration. And a review will also look at whether different sectors, such as finance, IT or construction, could afford to pay a higher rate to their staff.