Ed Miliband has attempted to convince voters he can be trusted with the economy pledging to cut the deficit year on year and saying: “I am ready” to lead the country.
The manifesto, launched by Mr Miliband on the set of Coronation Street and titled Britain Can Be Better, promised to “secure the family finances of the working people of Britain”.
Mr Miliband opened his speech by saying Britain could be better but said “rebuilding” the country would not be easy and it would “require change”.
He said the manifesto was not a “shopping list of proposals” he said it started with a clear commitment to balance the books and would not stop there.
Mr Miliband attempted to persuade a sceptical public he could be trusted with the economy by introducing a “triple lock” of responsibility.
He said a Labour Government would: cut the deficit every year, that every measure contained in the manifesto was fully funded and Labour would meet fiscal rules with the national debt falling.
Mr Miliband attempted to capitalise on the Conservatives’ refusal to spell out how they would find the extra £8bn of funding for the NHS saying: “Nothing is more dangerous to our NHS than pretending you’ll be able to protect it without being able to say where the money’s coming from. You can’t fund the NHS with an IOU and the Conservative Party need to learn that.”
:: Wrap around childcare – primary schools forced to provide care from 8am-6pm
:: Raise minimum wage to £8 an hour
:: Abolish non-dom rules, abolish zero-hour contracts
:: £2.5bn Time to Care fund for NHS off back of mansion tax and tobacco firm levy
:: Increase income tax for those earning more than £150,000
:: Reintroduce the 10p starting rate of income tax
:: Scrap winter fuel allowance for pensioners with an income of more than £42,000 a year
:: Tighten tax avoidance rules to yield £7.5bn a year
:: Scrap Married Couple’s Allowance
:: Cap child benefit at 1%
:: Cut tuition fees to £6,000
:: More powers for the Welsh and Scottish Parliament
:: Extend the vote to 16-year-olds
Mr Miliband said: “The reason we can make these commitments is because we will make sure those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.
“So we’ll reverse David Cameron’s tax cut for millionaires to help pay down the deficit, we’ll crack down on hedge funds who avoid paying their fair share, we’ll stop HMRC operating double standards and we’ll do something that no government has done for over 200 years, we’ll say enough is enough to the people who live here, work here, send their kids to school here but don’t want to pay taxes here and we will abolish the non-dom rule.”
Polls show that voters trust Labour less with the economy than the Conservatives and Mr Miliband has struggled to play down forgetting to mention the deficit in his conference speech.
In the manifesto Labour vows only to eliminate the deficit as soon as possible while the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have said they will do so by 2017/18.
In an answer to recent criticism that Labour is against big business and wealth-creators, Mr Miliband said Labour was “pro business but not pro business as usual”.
He said Labour would champion small and medium sized businesses with a cut in business rates to help them create the jobs, wealth and profits of the future.
And he pledged to keep Britain in the European Union – admitting it did need change but stressing Labour would work to stay within it.
Mr Miliband said he would champion the little man against the giant energy firms and painted himself as the man who would stand up for the little people against the powerful interests.
Mr Miliband was speaking inside the building used in the long-running soap as Weatherfield Police Station.
Sky’s Political Correspondent Sophy Ridge said the decision to use the set could be seen as a metaphor for “hard-working, or ordinary, families” or could even be a knowing nod to the idea of a “political soap opera”.
The first page of the manifesto says: “A Labour government will cut the deficit every year. The first line of Labour’s first Budget will be: ‘This Budget cuts the deficit every year’. This manifesto set out that we will only lay a Budget before the House of Commons that cuts the deficit every year, which the OBR will independently verify.”