Miliband: Politics, philosophy and a slug of new policy


Watch Nick Robinson's report as Labour "walks a tightrope" with the public

A bit of politics, a lot of philosophy and a slug of new policy. That's what we got from the Labour leader Ed Miliband today.

His backing for the idea of a cap on social security spending - or at least that bit of it which doesn't go up simply because of rising unemployment - is designed to reassure those voters who tell the pollsters they don't trust Labour to control spending or welfare.

It is impossible to judge the impact of a cap first suggested by George Osborne until he or Ed Miliband spells out what it includes and excludes and what level it will be set at.

What was clear today, however, is the Labour leader's philosophy.

He believes that cutting benefits is not the way to cut the benefit bill. He argues instead for cutting what he calls "the cost of failure" by creating jobs for the young long-term unemployed, building houses and driving down rents and incentivising businesses to pay their staff more.

The newest and most eye-catching policy was the suggestion that those who'd worked for longer but then lost their jobs might get a higher level of benefits.

What all this might mean will, though, be shaped by the most important thing Labour have announced this week: their acceptance that they will have to live with all the coalition's spending cuts unless they can find money from elsewhere - and not from borrowing - to pay for them to be reversed.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Actually quite like what im hearing from Labour, short on detail though it may be. You can't question the Coalitions commitment to defecit reduction but it has failed because its all cuts and no growth. Growth is much better than a cut, and far less painful. Tackling the problems of wages and bringing fairness to the benefit system at least sound like a credible approach to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I can't believe the greed of some people on here. The lower interest rates are the better, mortgages need to be affordable to help first time buyers, and normal people. This obsession with saving is ridiculous. NO-ONE wants to listen to your plea. There are SOO many more important economic issues out there than your savings!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Perhaps courageous to offer rivals the chance to take a better shot, but (even if uncertain) a courageous and welcome address - close to the fundamental - of full employment, decent pay, fair rents. That said, the courage of convictions is undermined by the 'no losers' suspicion, that more isolating poverty might be relied upon to 'inspire' enthusiasm for work that is low-value, low-pay, dead-end

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Creating jobs seem a better way of cutting the benefit bill, than the ConDem attempt to starve the sick, disabled and jobless to death to cut numbers of claimants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.


    Not so,read the quotation from the IFS report,no 34.


    gratuitously unkind remarks.Desist.


    You feel we should elect politicians on their looks?Perhaps you saw Peter Brooke`s cartoon of the cabinet in the `Times` recently standing back to front and entitled `Village People` following the gay marriage debate.


    You have no chance of marrying Zeta Jones.Trust me.


Comments 5 of 147



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