Labour will abolish the “bedroom tax” and “strengthen the minimum wage” Ed Miliband says as he delivers a speech on the streets of Brighton on the eve of his partys annual conference.
The Labour leader promised an “economy that works for working people” in the soapbox-style speech, and criticised David Cameron’s government for looking after the “privileged few”.
Mr Miliband said: “This next election is going to come down to the oldest questions in politics: whose side are you on and who will you fight for?
“We are going to scrap the bedroom tax, that’s what I mean by a government that fights for you. And we are fighting for all of the low-paid people around our country.
We will strengthen the national minimum wage, we will make work pay for the workers of Britain. Ed Miliband
“One of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government was the national minimum wage, making work pay for people.
“But under David Cameron’s government people are falling behind, the national minimum wage now paying people £20 less after inflation than it did when David Cameron came to office. That’s just wrong.
“When we see that happening and when we think about one of the big banks, do we really think they can’t afford to pay their cleaners a bit more?”
He added: “The Labour government will put it right, we will strengthen the national minimum wage, we will make work pay for the workers of Britain.
“That’s what I mean by a government that fights for you: abolishing the bedroom tax, strengthening the national minimum wage, childcare there for parents who need it.
He (David Cameron) refuses to act because of who he stands for, he stands for just a privileged few at the top. Ed Miliband
“That’s what I mean by tackling the cost of living crisis at this conference, that’s what I mean by a government that fights for you.”
Mr Miliband has appointed Alan Buckle, deputy chairman at accountants KPMG, to investigate how the powers of the Low Pay Commission could be extended to strengthen the minimum wage.
Read more: How to beat the 'bedroom tax'
Mr Buckle will consult with employers and employee groups on ways to restore the value of the minimum wage so that it catches up with where it was in 2010.
And Mr Miliband turned his sights on the Conservative Party, saying the Tories had delivered “tax cuts for millionaires” whilst the “powerless” continue to suffer.
He said living stands are falling “month after month after month” but David Cameron “refuses to act.”
“Why does he refuse to act? He refuses to act because of who he stands for, he stands for just a privileged few at the top,” Mr Miliband said.
The Labour leader continued: “The way a country succeeds is not just with a few at the top it’s with what I call the forgotten wealth creators. The people who put in the hours, who do the work, who do two jobs, who do the shifts.
“They are the people we should be supporting in this country. That’s how we tackle the cost of living crisis, that’s how we have an economy that works for working people again in our country.
“That’s how we change Britain, that’s what a Labour government is going to do, that’s how we build One Nation.”