A bouyant and confident Ed Miliband has brought inspiration to Labour activists in the South West, in the final days of what he called a “generation-defining” election. In a rousing speech to party workers in Bristol, the Labour leader highlighted the bedroom tax and Tory plans to cut child benefit.
Ed promised that he will free families from the hardship of the bedroom tax “on day one” of a Labour government. He said 200 thousand children and 60 thousand carers were affected by the tax – “people we should be helping, not people we should be hurting.”
Ed said: “Under the Tories, a million more people could be hit by the tax in the next five years. This is a Government that cuts taxes for millionaires, opposes the mansion tax. It won’t abolish non-dom status but will keep the bedroom tax. It tells you everything you need to know about this Tory Government and it tells you everything you need to know about a Labour government that the first thing we would do is scrap the bedroom tax. We’ll make new funds available to local authorities to offset the full costs of the tax for all families who currently pay it.”
On child benefit, Ed said David Cameron had been asked three times on TV on Thursday whether he had a plan to cut child benefit. “He used 600 words, but none of those words was ‘no.’ He wants to cut child benefit. He has done it before and he will do it again. Tory cuts to your family budget are on the ballot paper at this election.”
Ed attacked Tory policies that benefit the richest and most powerful. He asked the audience if they believed the theory that wealth trickles down to help the poor and answered his own question with the words “hell, no!”
Put working people first
Ed pledged a minimum wage of £8 an hour, an end to exploitative zero hours contracts, guaranteed apprenticeships and a cut in university tuition fees. He said Labour would rescue the NHS, call time on tax avoiders and give people who rent their homes a fairer deal.
He said: “I believe in a country where the principle of one rule for all – not one law for the rich and powerful and another law for everyone else. David Cameron says he could not live on zero hours – nor could I but I am prepared to do something about it. He is not. Eric Pickles says he does not want a six-month tenancy. Nor do I but I am prepared to do something about it and he is not.”
Ed urged his enthusiastic audience to campaign full time over the next six days, to make sure a Labour government is elected that will put working people first.