Ed Miliband commits to sticking with coalition spending plans and rules out more borrowing to reverse public spending cuts.
The Labour leader Ed Miliband will tell the party’s National Policy Forum in Birmingham that he will not commit to reversing any of the public spending cuts due to be announced by George Osborne next week.
Mr Miliband will not make any promises on changes to the spending plans set out by the chancellor unless he can be “absolutely crystal clear” where the money would come from.
Any changes to the plans laid out in the chancellor’s 2015/16 spending review will require cuts from elsewhere or tax increases – but must not be funded by adding to the national debt, he said.
Mr Miliband is expected to say: “None of us get to choose the times in which we live and we won’t get to choose the circumstances of the next Labour government either.
“If we win the election, we will come to power in tougher economic circumstances than we have seen in generations and that will have to shape the way that we govern.
When George Osborne stands up next week and announces his cuts in day to day spending, we won’t be able to promise now to reverse them because we can only do so when we can be absolutely crystal clear about where the money is coming from. Ed Miliband
“Our starting point for 2015/16 will be that we cannot reverse any cut in day to day, current spending unless it is fully funded from cuts elsewhere or extra revenue – not from more borrowing.
“So when George Osborne stands up next week and announces his cuts in day to day spending, we won’t be able to promise now to reverse them because we can only do so when we can be absolutely crystal clear about where the money is coming from.”
Mr Miliband will say he and shadow chancellor Ed Balls are clear about the approach, and will urge the rest of the Labour Party to get behind it.
“It’s a hard reality. But I am clear about it, Ed Balls is clear about it, and everyone in the Labour Party should be clear about it too.
“People will only put their hope in us if we show how we will make a difference. But people will only put their trust in us if we show we are credible. Only if we have the discipline to face the challenge of our times, can we change the direction of our country.”
Mr Balls has said the party would stick to the coalition’s 2015/16 departmental budgets if it wins the next general election, and announced that wealthier pensioners would be stripped of winter fuel payments.
Mr Miliband has effectively ruled out reversing the coalition’s child benefit cuts for high earners, saying other priorities would come first, and also promised a cap on welfare spending.
He will tell the National Policy Forum: “We will have to govern in tough times and we will have to turn things round by making different choices, reforming our economy so it works for working people, investing in the long-term and, most of all, by always being guided by our values: the values of One Nation of everybody having the chance to play their part, of everybody sharing responsibility.”