Miliband warns of decade of decline


Ed MilibandEd Miliband is set to accuse David Cameron of condemning Britain to a "decade of decline" by stubbornly sticking to austerity plans.

The Labour leader is to insist public anger with the coalition is growing in the wake of a no-change Budget, asking: "Can you imagine another five years of this?"

However, he will also concede that his party still has work to do to convince voters there is a real alternative.

The comments are due in an address to a "people's policy forum" in Birmingham. He will also take questions from the thousand-strong audience - which is billed as representing political opinion from across the West Midlands.

Mr Miliband will reel off a list of policies that he claims would kick-start growth and make the economy fairer, including bank reform, infrastructure investment and a 10p tax rate. He will contrast the platform he is fleshing out with George Osborne's financial package this week.

"We are five years on from the financial crisis of 2008," he will say. "We are in the slowest recovery for 100 years. And it is you who are suffering. Wages are frozen. Prices are rising. Living standards falling. Yet the Chancellor offered no change in the Budget. He offered more of the same. Can you imagine another five years of this? Low growth. Living standards squeezed further. You paying the price. A lost decade Britain cannot afford. A decade of national decline."

Mr Miliband will accuse the Government of "shrugging their shoulders", saying ministers have "run out of ideas". He will urge voters to give him a chance to change the way the country is run.

"Over the last two and a half years since I became Labour leader, I have sought to understand why people left Labour," Mr Miliband will say. "From banking regulation to immigration to Iraq, I have been clear about what we got wrong. But as I listen to people around Britain I also know they are increasingly disappointed with this Government. People all over Britain have lost confidence in David Cameron's ability to turn Britain around.

"But let me clear with you. I know that however discredited, divided and damaging this Government is, I will not assume that their unpopularity will mean people turn to Labour. Indeed, many people will believe that the failure of this Government means they should give up on politics altogether."

Mr Miliband will say he cannot offer "overnight answers" or that things will be easy. But he will pledge to seek an economic recovery "made by the many, not just a few at the top". "I don't just offer a change of management. I want to offer a change in the way this country is run and who it is run for," he will say.

© 2013 Press Association