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Labour 'would stand up to powerful'

Ed Miliband has promised a Labour government would stand up to the "powerful" as he set out the party's election promises at a spring rally.

The Labour leader painted a stark picture of a future Conservative government and accused the party of leaving families worse off.

Unveiling Labour's election pledge card in Birmingham, he insisted that Britain's economic prosperity rests on the success of the many and told voters they face a choice on May 7 between fear and hope.

Mr Miliband said: "The Tories say they want an election about leadership. Well be my guest.

"Because Britain does face a choice about the type of leadership it wants. It is not leadership to say 'we're all in it together', while cutting taxes for millionaires and imposing the cruel, vindictive, unfair bedroom tax, a tax soon to be abolished with a Labour government.

"It is not leadership to be strong in the face of the weak but always weak in the face of the strong.

"And it is certainly not leadership to claim to be a strong leader but to refuse to defend your record in front of the British people in a TV election debate.

"Let me tell you what leadership is: It is about having strong, consistent ideas to change the country.

"It is about standing up for those ideas, through thick and thin, even in the face of powerful forces.

"And it is about standing up for people from every background and every walk of life, not just those with the access, the power and the wealth.

"That's what matters in leadership. That's the leadership I will bring."

The party's pledge card sets out five promises to voters:

:: A strong economic foundation

:: Higher living standards for working families

:: An NHS with the time to care

:: Controls on immigration

:: A country where the next generation can do better than the last

Mr Miliband insisted that none of Labour's manifesto commitments will need additional borrowing.

The rally at Birmingham's ICC was opened by Labour Party member Jermain Jackman, winner of television reality show The Voice.

Mr Miliband was also given a public endorsement by Broadchurch star Shaun Dooley, who told the 1,500-strong crowd that the party leader had principles, adding: "I believe in Ed."

LoveFilm founder Simon Franks took to the stage to tell the rally that Labour is "committed to having an economy open to business".

Mr Miliband urged voters to choose Labour's vision on May 7.

"The choice at this election is not simply between parties and leaders but different visions of our country.

"Different visions of how we succeed. Different visions of how we live together.

"Different visions of the kind of country we can be.

"We say that a country where only the rich and powerful are better off is a country that is failing.

"We say: Britain only succeeds when working people succeed.

"We say: Britain can do better than this."

The SNP's Stewart Hosie claimed that Labour would make cuts that hit the poor.

He said: "While Ed Miliband completely failed to mention Scotland in his speech, the SNP has Scotland's best interests at heart - first, last and always. It's no wonder the people of Scotland see the SNP as the party to make sure the things that matter to them are firmly on the Westminster agenda.

"Ed Miliband might speak of standing up to the powerful but the reality is all his party offers is more cuts - and these will most likely hit the poorest hardest. His party recently voted with the Tories for £30 billion more in budget cuts while wasting over £100 billion more on Trident renewal.

"It is clear that left to their own devices, Labour would continue with Tory austerity that is causing misery across the country.

"Only a strong team of SNP MPs will work to build a progressive alliance at Westminster to increase spending and boost growth and jobs, deliver the powers promised in the referendum, and scrap Trident renewal and invest that cash in vital public services."

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