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Labour Will Make Five Election Pledges And This Is The First One

Ed Miliband is going to keep cutting public spending in an attempt to appear economically credible.

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Labour will go into the 2015 general election with five key pledges. On Thursday, Ed Miliband used a speech in central London to unveil the first one:

The pledge commits Labour to cutting the amount the government spends every year until the deficit is balanced. But the party won't cut the NHS budget and doesn't intend borrow any extra money to fund their policies.In short: Labour is begging the electorate to trust it to look after the economy.
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The pledge commits Labour to cutting the amount the government spends every year until the deficit is balanced. But the party won't cut the NHS budget and doesn't intend borrow any extra money to fund their policies.

In short: Labour is begging the electorate to trust it to look after the economy.

The Labour leader used the speech to claim that Conservatives want to cut public spending back to levels last seen in the 1930s.

PA Wire/Press Association Images Stefan Rousseau

He said:

Eight days ago in the Autumn Statement, it became clear what the Tory plan for the country is.

They promised to clear the deficit in this parliament and they have failed. Now they say they want to run a big surplus by the end of the next parliament. And their plan is to return spending on public services to a share last seen in the 1930s: a time before there was a National Health Service and when young people left school at 14.

They have been exposed by the Autumn Statement for who they really are. Not compassionate Conservatives at all. But extreme, ideological and committed to a dramatic shrinking of the state, whatever the consequences. They are doing it not because they have to do it but because they want to do it.

The majority of the public still don't trust Labour with the economy, so shadow chancellor Ed Balls is committing to closing the deficit.

Last month's ComRes poll for The Independent found that 43% of the public think they would be better off under David Cameron, while only 32% believe they would do better with Miliband as prime minister.

The deficit – the difference between the amount the government spends and how much it earns in revenue – has remained stubbornly high under the coalition government. George Osborne originally intended to close the gap during this parliament but it could now take until the end of the decade.

With this in mind, Balls has written to fellow Labour politicians to tell them that public spending cuts will continue under Labour: "You should be planning on the basis that your departmental budgets will be cut not only in 2015/16, but each year until we have achieved our promise to balance the books."

Exactly which departments will be hit hardest by Labour cuts remains unclear – but Miliband believes he doesn't have to cut spending as harshly as the Conservatives, providing he can raise wages and impose more taxes on the wealthy.

Four more pledges to go.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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