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PM, Osborne 'wedded to old rules'

George Osborne is failing British businesses and families because he is the "last bastion of the old mindset", Ed Miliband is to claim.

The Labour leader will also accuse the Chancellor and Prime Minister David Cameron of proving they are "wedded to an old set of rules" by intervening "haphazardly and belatedly" on bonuses.

Mr Miliband will argue that tackling excessive payouts is "pro-business" as he launches a sustained attack on the duo's record on fairness.

"Mr Osborne wants to present himself as a champion of business, but the painful truth is he is the last bastion of an old mindset that is letting down British business and letting down British families," he will say. "He says that action to tackle big bonuses is 'anti-business'. It is not.

"It is pro-business to demand responsibility at the top and an end to the something-for-nothing culture which has damaged our economy in the financial crisis at every level, wrecked businesses and left everyone else squeezed."

The attack comes in direct response to Mr Osborne's vow to stamp out "anti-business culture" - widely seen as a swipe at Labour - and claim that the row over bonuses and pay threatens to undermine the jobs and prosperity provided by the free market economy.

Giving the inaugural lecture at the Sheffield University Political Economy Research Institute, Mr Miliband will accuse the Chancellor of letting down business, working people and the economy as a whole.

"George Osborne has failed to give business the certainty it needs by bringing in a clear set of rules for an economy in which responsibility is hard wired in from the benefits office to the boardroom," Mr Miliband will add.

"Instead, he and David Cameron have intervened haphazardly and belatedly on bonuses while showing they are wedded to an old set of rules which are bad for people in the squeezed middle, bad for business, and bad for our economy.

"By defending an unreformed bonus culture, this Government confuses the interests of the economy as a whole with the interests of an irresponsible few. We need banks to be lending to small business rather than handing out big bonuses. We need executives to recognise that exceptional rewards should only be for exceptional performance. We need a proper plan for growth and jobs."

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