UK Politics

Ed Miliband: 'It doesn't have to be this way'

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Media captionLabour leader Ed Miliband: "Britain is ready for a new beginning"

Ed Miliband has pledged a recovery that reaches people's "kitchen table" if Labour wins May's general election.

In his new year message, the Labour leader said many people were working harder "but standing still". He added: "It doesn't have to be this way."

Mr Miliband said his party would reveal ideas to raise wages, establish "fair rules for immigration" and "rescue our NHS" in the run-up to the election.

"As this new year dawns, we have the chance to change direction," he added.

Mr Miliband has faced questions over his leadership in recent months.

On Wednesday, speaking to the Economist, former Labour prime minister Tony Blair cast doubt on whether the party could win based on a "traditional left-wing" platform.

But Mr Miliband insisted the party could win power back in 2015.

"This year, we have the power to bring about the change working families all over Britain need," he said.

He highlighted families "struggling with bills that are growing faster than their wages" and young people "taking on mountains of debt to get a proper education, only to find themselves with no job at the other end".

He also spoke of the NHS "where people are waiting longer and longer to get the care they need."

'Concrete plan'

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Labour was not credible on the economy in his own new year message on Tuesday.

But Mr Miliband said: "This isn't about idle dreams or empty promises.

"It's about a real, concrete plan: a plan for a recovery which reaches your kitchen table."

The Labour leader said none of the changes would be "easy or instant".

"But it is possible if we run the country in a different way: with a different idea, a different plan: putting working people first," he added.

Referring to next year's 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, Mr Miliband said the challenges today were different.

"But if we could walk through those fires, we surely can meet the problems of our time," he said. "We can build a country that works for everyday people."

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