Ed Miliband has insisted working families are his priority, not new powers for English regions.
The Labour leader yesterday promised to set out his “new plan” for a Britain yearning for change in an eve-of-conference rallying cry.
Mr Miliband said the country “doesn’t work for most working people”.
Reflecting on last week’s independence referendum, the Labour leader said: “The last few months have been about keeping our country together. The next eight months are about how we change our country together.”
In the last party conference before next May’s General Election, Labour is expected to unveil a string of policy plans including building more homes and protecting the NHS from privatisation.
Addressing activists gathering in Manchester yesterday, the Labour leader said: “Constitutional change matters, but we know that something else matters even more: this country doesn’t work for most working people and we, the Labour Party, are going to change it.”
Setting out his priorities, he said: “This conference is about all of those families treading water, unable to benefit from the recovery. This conference is about all of those young people who worry about their future.
“And this conference is about our National Health Service sliding backwards under this Government.”
David Cameron and Mr Miliband have clashed over how to proceed, with the Prime Minister determined to make changes to ensure “English votes for English laws” at Westminster as part of a package of reform something that Labour fear will erode the influence of their Scottish MPs.
The Labour leader indicated that he was moving on from the alliance forged between the three Westminster parties in the Scottish referendum campaign as he spoke in Manchester.
In an interview with an English newspaper, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said the party will seek to fight the election on the twin issues of stagnant living standards and safeguarding the NHS.
But he stressed that Labour would only pursue changes that are “credible and costed”, ruling out free universal child care in the next parliament.
Labour would set up New Homes Corporations to increase the number of properties being built. Mr Miliband’s party will also commit to cutting business rates for small firms in 2015 if they win the election.
A Tory spokesman dismissed the housing plan as “an empty promise from Ed Miliband”.
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