Ed Miliband has unveiled Labour’s pledges for the General Election, covering the economy, the NHS, immigration and tuition fees.
The Labour leader said the choice for voters is not simply between parties and leaders, but between different visions of the country.
Mr Miliband’s five pledges are:
:: Economy – Labour claims it will balance the books and cut the deficit every year.
:: Living standards – Boosted by Mr Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy bills until 2017.
:: NHS – Labour says it will recruit 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.
:: Immigration – People who come to the UK will not be able to claim benefits for at least two years.
:: Young people – Tuition fees cut to £6,000, more apprenticeships and smaller class sizes for primary school children.
Speaking to delegates in Birmingham, he said: “Today I urge the British people to choose optimism, to choose a country for the many, to choose the good of all, to choose hope – and to recognise that when working people succeed, nothing can stop us as a country.”
Mr Miliband claimed “the Tory experiment” over the past five years had failed, and suggested that working people were £1,600 worse off because of David Cameron’s Government.
He added: “We know what their plans mean – it means education cut, the NHS undermined, it means social care devastated, our infrastructure crumbling. Britain cannot afford to take that risk.”
To applause from supporters, Mr Miliband also criticised the Prime Minister’s decision not to participate in some of the upcoming TV election debates.
It is not the first time Labour has unveiled a pledge card. Tony Blair and John Prescott did so successfully in 1997, winning a landslide general election victory.
But the pledges were very different in 1997. First was cutting class sizes, second was quicker punishment for young offenders, third was cutting NHS waiting lists, while getting under-25s off benefit and no rise in income tax made up the other two.
Responding to Mr Miliband’s speech, Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps said: “The real choice at this election is between the stability and strong leadership of David Cameron and the Conservatives working to a long-term economic plan, securing a better future for Britain.
“Or Ed Miliband carried into Downing Street in the pocket of Alex Salmond and the SNP – meaning more borrowing, more debt, higher taxes and weaker defences.”
Ed Miliband seeks to highlight how he would run the UK in a “different way” if he becomes PM, as he launches Labour’s five key election pledges.