Labour may not match spending plans set by the coalition at the next election, a shadow cabinet minister has suggested.
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said Labour would "come up with our own plan", but did not say whether that would involve an increase in spending.
Mr Murphy also blamed the blanket coverage of Baroness Thatcher's death for a decline in Labour's opinion poll ratings. An Opinium poll in the Observer showed the party has dropped 3% to 35% compared with a fortnight ago, with the Tories up 1% to 29%, Ukip up 1% on 17% and the Lib Dems unchanged on 8%.
Mr Murphy told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics: "Of course we have got a lot of work to do to win the election, that's obvious. We're ahead in the opinion polls, you always want to be further ahead in the opinion polls."
He added: "We've just had a week, and this isn't a criticism it's an observation, where the country appeared like a one-party state, where it was the Conservative Party and those who were supporting Mrs Thatcher eulogising what they considered to be her achievements." It was "inevitable" that would mean the polls would narrow, he said.
Reports last week suggested the Opposition was ready to "bet the house" in 2015 by promising higher public spending.
Mr Murphy said Labour would not tie itself to coalition budget limits but would set out its own proposals.
"You can't have a situation where there aren't cuts, the dogs in the street know there's a need for savings, there's a need for cuts and we'll set that out," he said. But "you cannot cut, cut, cut your way out of the difficulties we have, there has to be some optimism of growth".
In June, Chancellor George Osborne will set out spending plans for 2015/16, beyond the date of the general election. Mr Murphy said: "We'll come up with our own plan and it's right for the opposition party to come up with its own plan."
Asked if that would involve spending more, he said: "We will look at the state of the public finances and we will set our own plans. I'm not inviting you to speculate on what that would mean but when you don't know what the Government's plans are, how can you be challenged to say will you stick to the Government's plans?"