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Labour Party conference live: Country 'at a crossroads' and 'desperate for change'; Keir Starmer takes income tax stance; minute's silence in tribute to Queen

Politics Hub brings you the latest political news, insight and analysis from the Sky News team in Westminster. Labour's conference in Liverpool has begun - with Sir Keir Starmer trying to set out the dividing lines between his party and the new Tory government.

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PM 'will launch major review of visa system' to tackle labour shortages - reports

Liz Truss is allegedly planning to significantly overhaul the UK's visa system in a bid to bolster key industries struggling with labour shortages.

The PM will make changes to the "shortage occupation list", the Financial Times reports.

This will allegedly allow certain industries to bring in more staff from overseas, such as broadband engineers.

Her review may also endorse a loosening of the requirement to speak English in some sectors, the newspaper said, citing a Downing Street source. 

Today, when asked about the possibility, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said: "It's not about relaxing rules. The whole point about the Brexit debate if we want to go down there was we need to control immigration in a way that works for the UK."

He told the BBC that the home secretary would give an update on the situation in the coming weeks.

"The Home Secretary will make a statement in the next few weeks. But we have to grow this economy," he said. 

Labour hope to turn Tory tax trap on its head

I'm told Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves met yesterday to discuss the party's position on income tax cuts.

Party sources say they wanted to be able to give a straight answer to the question of what the next Labour government would do, and they both knew what they believed on the issue.

The hope is that it will turn the Tory tax trap on its head and allow Labour to paint the government as on the side of the super-rich.

It ties Sir Keir into finding the money for an expensive tax cut, though.

And it risks allowing the government to frame the debate on tax and put Labour on the spot every time they announce a new tax cutting policy.

Labour vow to 'raise standards' across the economy

Continuing her lengthy address, Angela Rayner pledged that Labour would "raise standards across the economy by clawing back the public's money from those who fail to deliver for taxpayers".

She told the party conference in Liverpool: "Quality and innovation - not failure - will be rewarded. 

"By striking off failed providers we will help local business thrive. 

"Never again, Conference, can we see a repeat of the scandal that has seen Tory Ministers write off £10bn on unusable PPE they bought with our money. Defective. Substandard. Unfit for use. 

"We'll give the Tory sleaze merchants their marching orders."

She also vowed to guarantee transparency about how taxpayers' money is spent "through a public dashboard of government contracts".

"There will be no hiding place for cronies - and no corner for corruption. We will keep the receipts and publish them," Ms Rayner said.

Then, the Labour deputy revealed the party's Fair Work Standard.

"It will underpin a new Fair Work Code for the public sector, guaranteeing fair conditions, job security, wellbeing, proper training, rights at work, and union access.

"We will also create a Fair Work gold standard to champion the very best of employers."

Rayner: 'I ask Liz Truss today - whose side are you on?'

Angela Rayner goes on to address Prime Minister Liz Truss directly, asking: "Whose side are you on?"

She adds: "When you boost bankers' bonuses but force working people to carry the can for the energy crisis, whose side are you on? 

"Using a pandemic to pile billions into the bank accounts of cronies while nurses wore bin bags. Whose side are you on?  

"When you say the working people of this country need more graft then deprive them of fair pay. Whose side are you on?"

Ms Rayner goes on to say a Labour government "was on her side" when she had her first baby and had "nowhere else to turn".

She says: "I will make it my mission to spend every penny of public money for the good of the nation.  

"Making Britain work for working people, investing in our local communities and talent and standing up for this country."

The deputy Labour leader says her party will "pump money back into the pockets of local communities".

She goes on to announce Labour's Value for Money Guarantee. 

"Our pledge to ensure that every single penny of taxpayer's money provides the best possible value to the public," she says.

"We will turn the Tory procurement racket on its head - so it serves the national interest, not the vested interests."

Rayner says Labour's duty is to 'shape a future that is brighter than the past'

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner is speaking at the party conference in Liverpool.

She begins with her own tribute to the Queen, saying she "stood for unity" in the darkest times - and discusses loss during the COVID pandemic.

"Our duty to the next generation is to shape a future that is brighter than the past," she says.

"I see too much lost potential," she adds. "Britain deserves better and I know we can do better".

Ms Rayner goes on to list numerous Conservative scandals, joking we had all dealt with "far too much" of former health secretary Matt Hancock.

She concludes: "Rules Broken. Partygate. Wallpapergate. Too many gates. Too little, too late mate."

Ms Rayner goes on to explain how "Britain is at a crossroads" - "a moment of decision" and people are "desperate for change".

She adds: "At this moment, what do the Conservatives offer? Lining the pockets of oil and gas executives. Enriching bankers while families are starving.

"Be in no doubt - they are coming after the most basic things we expect. Decent work, fair pay. The foundations of a family life."

'Can you imagine this happening under Corbyn?': Labour sources say Queen tribute shows party has changed

Such a patriotic opening to this year's Labour conference was perhaps to be expected given the recent passing of the Queen.

But as with everything at these gatherings of the party faithful, there's a political context here too.

Party sources are pointing to the proceedings as evidence of how much the party has changed under Sir Keir Starmer.

"Can you imagine that happening under Jeremy Corbyn?", said one.

The former leader said yesterday he found it "odd" that the conference was opening with the national anthem.

There had been fears of disruption or boos from republican delegates.

None of that materialised.

But even if it had, Labour insiders believe this new patriotic tone is in tune with the wider voting public, even if it grates with some party members.

Watch: Labour sing God Save The King

As we reported earlier, a rendition of the National Anthem was performed at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool a few minutes ago.

You can watch the moment of silence for the Queen - and the consequent tribute to the King - in the clip below...

Rayner will outline Labour's Fair Work Standard at party conference

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner is to outline her party's Fair Work Standard shortly.

She will tell Labour's annual conference in Liverpool that it will underpin a new Fair Work Code of Practice for the public sector, guaranteeing conditions, job security, proper training, rights at work and union access.

"We will also create a Fair Work gold standard to champion the very best employers.

"And a Labour government will be on the side of the self-employed.

"We will give genuinely self-employed workers the right to a written contract and timely payment by law - so they aren't left out of pocket and chasing invoices."

She will say that Labour will oversee the biggest wave of insourcing in a generation.

"Today I can announce that before any service is contracted out, public bodies must show that work could not be better done in-house.

"And we'll reinstate and strengthen the Two-Tier Code, created by the last Labour Government and scrapped by the Tories, to end the scandal of outsourced workers getting second class pay and conditions."

Starmer pays tribute to Queen as conference holds minute's silence and sings National Anthem

Sir Keir Starmer has this morning paid tribute to the late Queen as he opened the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

He said: "She created a special, personal relationship with all of us. 

"A relationship based on service and devotion to our country. Even now, after the mourning period has passed it still feels impossible to imagine a Britain without her.

"Hardly any of us have ever known anything else. 

"For us, the Late Queen has always been simply the Queen, the only Queen. Above all else, our Queen. And I am proud to lead our party's tribute to her today.

"Because our Queen's devotion to Britain was underpinned by one crucial understanding - she knew that the country she came to symbolise is bigger than any one individual or institution."

Those in attendance sang the National Anthem, now God Save The King, and applause was heard once it concluded.

Lyrics to the first verse were handed round to delegates beforehand (see 10.46 post).

A moment of silence prior to the anthem was well observed, with no noted protests.