Ed Miliband has told Labour there will be no return to the high spending of the previous Labour government and that the party will commit to "balancing the books" at the Party’s national policy forum in Milton Keynes today.
The Labour leader outlined economic plans to party activists in a speech ahead of next year’s general election, saying: "For all of the cuts, all of the pain under this government, Britain still has a deficit to deal with and a debt to pay down.
"We will get the national debt falling as soon as possible in the next parliament. And we will deliver a surplus on the current budget."
Miliband said: "Higher spending is not the answer to the economic problem that we together have identified. Unless we fundamentally reshape our economy, we will only be able to compensate people for inequality and unfairness."
The speech signals a shift in policy from the New Labour platform which first launched the party into power in 1997, but Miliband said it is not a return to Old Labour, saying: "We have moved on from New Labour. And we are not going back to Old Labour.”
He said that the policies, which will be agreed and finalised over the weekend, would be rooted "in everyday lives of the people of this country."
Miliband proposed the Labour party should:
- Create a Green Investment Bank and British Investment Bank as well as regional banks across the country.
- A higher levy on banks to fund 25 hours of free childcare.
- Build 200,000 homes a year by 2020.
- Cut business rates for small businesses.
- Raise the minimum wage by more than average earnings.
- Offer tax cuts to employers who offer the minimum wage.
- Create new technical university degrees to ensure a skilled workforce would attract the world's best companies.
- Ensure any employers bidding for government contracts should offer apprenticeships.
- Freeze energy bills until 2017
- Force developers sitting on land with planning permission to "use or lose" it.
- Create three year tenancies, predictable rents and an end to letting fees.
- Abolish the bedroom tax.
- Further devolution of powers to Scotland on tax, welfare and jobs.
- Votes for 16 and 17-year-olds.
- Part renationalisation of the rail network.