Labour leader Ed Miliband: Middle class facing crisis

Woman with two children generic Mr Miliband said the cost-of-living crisis was affecting millions of middle class families

Related Stories

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said middle class families are facing a "crisis of confidence" over falling living standards.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Miliband said the economic essentials that once drove and sustained the middle classes had all been undermined.

Their children's prospects must also be urgently addressed, Mr Miliband added.

The Conservatives said Mr Miliband had no plan, and offered only more spending, borrowing and taxes.

The article comes as the monthly ICM opinion poll for The Guardian suggests Labour's lead has been cut to 3% - in the same series of polls it was 5% in December and 8% in November.

Mr Miliband, characterised by his opponents as an old-style left-winger, wrote that Labour would "rebuild our middle class".

Fundamental threat

The Labour leader said the country could not succeed unless that middle class was strong and vibrant.

He said his long-standing message about a cost-of-living crisis did not just apply to those on zero-hour contracts and the minimum wage, but also to millions of families who never dreamed that life would be a struggle.

Estate agent in Scotland Labour says many people face waiting "until middle age" to buy their first home

Among their concerns, he highlighted access to further education, good-quality jobs and secure pensions.

He said: "Our country cannot succeed and become collectively better off unless Britain has a strong and vibrant middle class.

"Indeed, the greatest challenge for our generation is how to tackle a crisis in living standards that has now become a crisis of confidence for middle-class families."

Mr Miliband said that as well as falling real wages and rising costs for items including food, childcare, energy and transport, the middle class was facing a more fundamental threat.

"The motors that once drove and sustained it are no longer firing as they used to," he said.

"Access to further education and training, good quality jobs with reliable incomes, affordable housing, stable savings, secure pensions: they have all been undermined."


There is little detail in the piece about how these problems might be corrected, although more announcements are promised in the coming days.

Start Quote

The Treasury have no idea of the hardship facing families on low and middle incomes”

End Quote Michael Dugher Labour vice-chairman

Mr Miliband is due to give a major speech on the economy later this week.

Labour vice-chairman Michael Dugher told the BBC his party was talking about "the millions of hard-pressed families who are feeling the pinch" - people who felt insecure in their jobs, concerned about their income in retirement and worried about their children's future, particularly their chances of being able to own their own home.

"They may be cracking open the champagne at the Treasury and saying 'job done'," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.

"But they have no idea of the hardship facing families on low and middle incomes."

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said: "Many people who work hard are facing tough times today because they have been made poorer by the worst recession in a century - a recession presided over by Ed Miliband and the Labour government he was part of.

"The only way to ensure a better and more financially secure future for hardworking people and for their children is to stick to David Cameron's long-term economic plan - reducing the deficit, creating jobs, cutting taxes, giving young people the skills they need to get on and fixing the welfare system so that it pays to work.

"But Ed Miliband has no plan. He has opposed every difficult decision we have taken to start turning our economy around.

"All he offers is more of the same old Labour policy that got us into a mess in the first place - more spending, more borrowing and more taxes.

"That would mean a less secure future for hardworking people and their families."

The ICM poll for the Guardian puts Labour support at 35%,, the Conservatives on 32%, Lib Dems on 14% and UKIP on 10%. ICM interviewed 1,005 adults by telephone from 10 January to 12 January.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 991.

    Just how dim has one got to be to keep letting the same dogs bite you not once, but many times. What actually will it take to understand the nature of Politicians of ALL parties. Vote Labour, then Tory, then Labour, then Tory.... & then blame everyone, but yourselves? What a dismal & pointless country this has become. Consider majority "none of the above" & force change. Or else, more of same

  • rate this

    Comment number 990.

    Labour can never be trusted again with this countries finances so for goodness sake don't vote for them. .. If you want to protect your countries and your families future then the only alternative is UKIP

    The flaw in this argument is that with our 1st past the post voting system a vote for UKIP will be a vote for Labour. The reality is only a Tory vote will keep Labour out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 989.

    Poor middle classes such a shame but welcome to conservative Britain who ever voted them in now pay the price ha ha ha. No not funny but when will people ever learn? Conservatives have always been about greed and kick the poor when there down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 988.

    "Labour presided over the greatest increase in growth and living standards in the modern era."

    LOL. UK economy grew by 3.03% a year in the 1950s, 3.18% a year in the 1960s, 2.07 per cent in the 1970s, 3.09% in the 1980s (under Thatcher), 2.77% in the 1990s and 1.77% in the 2000s (all under Labour).

  • rate this

    Comment number 987.

    If I say class enough will they notice I don't actually apologise for any previous mistakes, or that I don't actually propose anything for the future?

    Hmmm, they might, better mention the post war period while your at it and double the number of times you say class just to be safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 986.

    Farkyss. The welfare state grew as a way of plugging the gap after Thatcher destroyed manufactuing in many cities, as did the public sector. Labour’s fault lie in not realising the depth of manipulating in the banking and financial sector, which the Tories have deliberately allowed to continue. No-one knows what the reality of the economy is now, which is why it cannot be fixed any time soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 985.

    The middle class did very well under "New" Labour

    Correction : the middle class who were employed in the public sector did very well under New Labour but they hammered everyone in the private sector. Unfortunately it's the private sector workers that raise the tax that keeps the country afloat and able to spend. Smother the private sector and everyone suffers...

  • rate this

    Comment number 984.

    Surprising that anyone would vote for the geek, but that the middle classes should do so is so ridiculous it might be true. However, the weakest part of a weak condem govt is the failure to reform the city, hold its leaders to account & re-allocate capital to production. Milliband would re-allocate capital to the usual labour la la land, but if he plays that card to effect he will be elected.

  • Comment number 983.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 982.


    Each party has some good ideas/policys, but with each comes many more that the masses do not want.

    For UK to make real progress, we need population consensus policys & a clear direction that WILL deliver long term positive outcome benefits

    The normal political tennis match is just so destructive

  • rate this

    Comment number 981.

    How can you trust any politician that fiddles statistics: cost of living 2% ?

    NO WE ALSO HAVE PAY FOR ACCOMMODATION, so put housing back in the cost of living and then you will see why we are all suffering!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 980.

    Milliband has no plan and his ranting about the middle class is a load of bull. The vast majority of the middle class are doing just fine. They may not be saving as much as in the past, but they have plenty of money for holidays and never have to worry about where the next meal is comes from. Milliband would say anything to con the voters into voting for him. I hope everyone sees through the bull.

  • rate this

    Comment number 979.


    Rebuilding schools and hospitals after decades of tory neglect wasn't really having a "drunken hedonistic party", was it?


    As it was PFI financed, yes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 978.

    aren't most mp's middle class

  • rate this

    Comment number 977.

    951 "I am a socialist and believe in a community working together for all not the few, but I fear we are lost" - Socialism" isn't about working together anymore is it? It's about taking from the State and not contributing. It's about endless apologism and using tax to bribe voters? It's about cowering behind "-isms", lowering standards so everyone is "equal", it's about envy and punishing success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 976.

    Pipsqueak Shapps needle is stuck again on the recession presided over by Labour. How were Labour to blame for a global recession tipped over the edge by the US sub prime mortgage market? Had the Tories been in charge there would have been even more de-regulation of the banking sector and an even bigger mess to clear up. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black - the man is an idiot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 975.

    UKIP are just old money, manipulative Tories who want out of Europe as their power and influence has been diminishing due to EU rules and regulations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 974.

    The current Government are caught between a rock and a hard place. Raise taxes and you stop people spending, lower then and you get less money in and can afford to cover less of your outgoings. Millibland doesn't say how he'd get out of this mess but hopefully won't get the chance. There is (and never has been) a quick fix to the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 973.

    Ah a labour policy at last 'lets point out the bleeding obvious'

    Its nice and easy being opposition isn't it

  • rate this

    Comment number 972.

    According to Ed Milliband we still live in a class-based society. Politicians have been discussing a more egalitarian culture for the last century or more. It is clear that if he is still talking in these terms then his party has had pitifully little influence on the evolution of society...


Page 45 of 94


More Politics stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.