UK Politics

Ed Miliband hits back at Labour critics

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Media captionEd Miliband: "I've learned to take the rough with the smooth"

Ed Miliband has brushed off criticism from senior Labour figures that he is failing to make an impact as leader.

He told party activists in Edinburgh he had learned to "take the rough with the smooth" and insisted he had a "clear vision for the future of this country".

He said the 2015 election would be about living standards and accused the Tories of economic complacency.

It comes as the Tories launched a website highlighting what they say a Labour government would cost voters.

Lord Prescott claimed Labour had been too quiet during the summer months and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the party had to "shout louder".

'Clear fix'

In a joint article earlier for The Guardian, former ministers John Denham and Peter Hain became the latest party veterans to offer their advice, urging Mr Miliband to focus on Labour's core economic message and set out a long-term vision.

The pair stressed they believed Mr Miliband would be Britain's next prime minister - with the support of his colleagues.

Mr Miliband said party leaders were always going to get advice - but he rejected claims the shadow cabinet had done little to get their message across in recent weeks.

Labour has published a list of recent statements by members of the shadow cabinet in an attempt to rebut allegations that they have been too quiet this summer.

Mr Miliband said he had a "very clear fix" on how the debate was going to play out between now and polling day in 2015 and he promised to focus on the issue he said mattered most to people - falling living standards.

"The serious fact we have to face today is that we have a living standards crisis across this country," he said.

"Since David Cameron became prime minister, real wages for Scots are down on average by over £1,400. Prices are up. They have risen faster under David Cameron than in any other major economy. In all but one month since 2010, prices have risen faster than wages.

"No prime minister on record has a record even close to that."

'More confident'

He added: "The Tories think they are heading for a re-run of 2010: a referendum on the last Labour government. They're wrong.

"The 2015 election will be fought on who can turn things around for hard-working people. It will be fought on who can make living standards better for people, not make things harder for them.

"Our job here and across the country is to show that only Labour can tackle the cost-of-living crisis."

Mr Miliband attacked Mr Cameron's claim Britain is in a "global race" with emerging nations, saying the country could not hope to compete with them on wages or employment rights and should concentrate instead on building a different kind of economy, with more investment and higher wages for the "working poor".

"The reason the Tories are satisfied and they think things are going well is that they have incredibly low expectations about what can be achieved for people," he told Labour members.

He said he felt "more confident" than when he won the Labour leadership three years ago and vowed to win the 2015 election.

'Cost of Labour'

Mr Miliband is preparing to reshuffle his shadow cabinet team and is reported to be preparing to make what he hopes will be "game changing" policy announcements at his party's autumn conference next month.

Launching the Conservatives' "Cost of Labour website", Economic Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid claimed Labour's plans would "hit hard-working people hard" and lead to an increase in mortgage rates, council tax and other household bills.

"We are securing an economic recovery for everyone who wants to work hard: cutting income tax for 25 million people, helping councils freeze council tax, and cutting the deficit to keep mortgage rates low."

"Labour would undo all of this, with the same old Labour policies that got us into this mess."

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