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Miliband signals tax rise policy

New Labour leader Ed Miliband has given his strongest signal yet that he would put up taxes in order to protect public services from spending cuts.

Mr Miliband said he would raise taxes further than former chancellor Alistair Darling had been planning in the previous Labour government to help pay off Britain's record deficit.

Deputy leader Harriet Harman will bring down the curtain on a tumultuous party conference, when she delivers the closing address to the delegates gathered in Manchester.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mr Miliband reiterated his determination to "improve" Mr Darling's deficit reduction plan which would have seen two thirds come from spending cuts and one third from taxation.

"We should look to do more from taxation. For example, taking more from banks or tackling tax avoidance," he said. "If I was in government at the moment, I would be looking - whether it is a tax on the banks or tackling tax avoidance - to lighten the load and the cuts and the impact that it is going to have on ordinary families. I would do more from taxation than Alistair proposed in his plan."

Already Labour's plans contrast with the coalition Government's aim to cut 80% of the deficit through spending cuts and 20% through higher taxes.

The Conservatives claimed that Mr Miliband would have to raise taxes by a further £35 billion - the equivalent of 7p on the basic rate of income tax - in order to meet the commitments he made during his leadership campaign.

Meanwhile, former foreign secretary David Miliband announced on Wednesday night that he was quitting the frontbench after being defeated by his younger brother in the battle for the Labour leadership. The MP for South Shields said he was returning to the backbenches to avoid becoming a "distraction", adding that it would also allow him to "recharge my political and intellectual batteries" and spend more time with his family.

David's departure from Labour's top team came as the deadline passed for nominations to the shadow cabinet. Some 49 Labour MPs - ranging from former cabinet ministers such as Alan Johnson, Ed Balls and Peter Hain to relatively unknown backbenchers - are standing for 19 elected positions in a ballot of MPs which concludes next Thursday.

As the new leader began to take control of his party, Rosie Winterton was elected unopposed as opposition chief whip after Ed Miliband asked incumbent Nick Brown - a close ally of former prime minister Gordon Brown - not to stand.


From Belfast Telegraph