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Miliband launches election campaign

Ed Miliband pledged to be the public's "voice in tough times" as he launched Labour's local election campaign.

Mr Miliband said people should back his party in May as the "first line of defence" against the coalition's spending cuts.

The call came as Labour claimed the coalition's reductions in local government funding would cost the average family with two children £182 this year.

The party also insisted that on average its councils are charging less than Tory and Liberal Democrat authorities - by £207 and £40 respectively.

"Labour launches our election campaign with a clear pledge to people across the country: we will be your voice in tough times," Mr Miliband said. "Cuts designed by David Cameron and Nick Clegg are coming direct from Downing Street to your street. Families in every part of the country will be hit by these unfair cuts.

"Areas with the greatest need are being asked to bear the greatest burden. The worst off areas are being hit the hardest while the average family will be hit much harder than people in David Cameron's constituency.

"Labour will be your community's first line of defence against the damage being done by a Conservative-led Government and their Liberal Democrat allies. Labour's record is clear: Labour councils cost you less, with council tax bills on average £207 lower than Tory authorities."

Mr Miliband is to kick-start the election campaign with a speech and question-and-answer session in the Midlands.

But Tory Matthew Hancock insisted Labour had "no credibility". "Labour left every working family with £83,400 of debt," he said. "All they have to offer is lazy attacks on what the new Government is doing to clear up their mess. They have no credibility."

The Labour leader, who announced on Wednesday that he would marry long-term partner Justine Thornton in May, denied feeling any political pressure to tie the knot. "If I had, I would have got married earlier. What people care about in this country is people having stable families," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph