UK Labour leader lays out vision for the future

AP News
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Posted: Sep 23, 2014 12:49 PM
UK Labour leader lays out vision for the future

LONDON (AP) — Britain's opposition leader Ed Miliband laid out his vision Tuesday for the country's top job ahead of national elections in 2015, offering a 10-year-blueprint for the future.

In the last Labour Party Conference before the May election, the party's leader promised thousands more doctors and nurses as part of a 2.5 billion pound ($4 billion) investment in the National Health Service — a sum to be paid for in part by taxes on tobacco companies and a "mansion tax" levy on homes worth more than 2 million pounds.

"'Can anyone build a better future for the working people of Britain?' That is the general election question," he said. "Our task is to restore people's faith in the future."

Pounding on the word "together" he offered a raft of populist-style promises ranging from raising the minimum wage to addressing the "modern injustice" of self-employed people lacking pensions.

He portrayed Prime Minister David Cameron as the champion of the super-rich — a man more interested in playing Angry Birds on his iPad and playing tennis with Russian oligarchs than he is with representing ordinary people.

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps challenged Miliband's assessment — and described the 65-minute speech as having failed to offer a serious plan to boost the economy.

"All Ed Miliband offers is more wasteful spending, more borrowing and more taxes," Shapps said. "You can't fund the NHS if you lose control of the nation's finances and bankrupt the economy like Labour did last time."