Miliband pledges welfare bill cap

Ed Miliband made a bold bid to regain the upper hand in the benefits debate today by pledging to cap the overall welfare bill.

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Labour and union support for Miliband pledges

Labour MPs and Len McCluskey, the Unite General Secretary have put their support behind Ed Miliband on Twitter:

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95p in every £ of public investment in Housing goes on Housing Benefit, only 5p on building homes. Labour will move from benefits to bricks!

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Really pleased with significant week for Labour. Still lots to do, but important messages on fiscal probity and mutually fair welfare.

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Ed Miliband's speech offers hope that there is an alternative to Osborne's punishing experiment with the national economy #partyofwork

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MPs blast Miliband on Twitter

Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs have taken to Twitter to blast Ed Miliband after his bid to regain the upper hand in the benefits debate by pledging to cap the overall welfare bill:

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Could @ed_miliband just tell us ONCE why Labour did none of the things he is proposing in his/their 13 years in office?

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When Ed Miliband says he wants to cap the overall welfare bill does he mean people in need get nothing when the money runs out?

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Tax avoidance today, child benefit U-turn yesterday. Labour only stay the same when it comes to more borrowing and more debt.

Miliband: 'We have built too few homes in this country'

Ed Miliband said Labour was determined to control welfare costs by attacking long-term problems such as persistent unemployment, low pay and housing shortages.

Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive

He said: "We can't afford to pay billions on ever-rising rents, when we should be building homes to bring down the bill. Thirty years ago for every £100 we spent on housing, £80 was invested in bricks and mortar and £20 was spent on housing benefit.

"Today, for every £100 we spend on housing, just £5 is invested in bricks and mortar and £95 goes on housing benefit. There's nothing to be celebrated in that.

"And as a consequence we are left with a housing benefit bill that goes up higher and higher.

"For the simple reason that we have built too few homes in this country and therefore we see higher and higher prices, particularly in the private sector."

Miliband: Labour 'founded on the principles of work'

Ed Miliband dismissed accusations that Labour represented those who leech off the state, during a speech on the welfare state.

Labour leader Ed Miliband.

He said: "Our party was founded on the principles of work. We have always been against the denial of opportunity that comes from not having work.

"And against the denial of responsibility by those who could work and don't do so. This country needs to be a nation where people who can work, do.

"Not a country where people who can work are on benefits. That's about values."

Miliband would reduce cost of social security system

Ed Miliband said a Labour government would have "less money to spend" and could not rule out saving money from social security spending.

He pointed out that the social security budget is the biggest item of Government spending alongside the health service.

The next Labour government will have less money to spend.

If we are going to turn our economy around, protect our NHS, and build a stronger country, we will have to be laser-focused on how we spend every single pound. Social security spending, vital as it is, cannot be exempt from that discipline.

So we will reduce the cost of failure in the social security system, including the cost of long-term worklessness and the cost of housing benefit.

– Ed Miliband

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Ed Miliband pledges to cap welfare bill

Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged to cap the overall welfare bill in a bold bid to regain the upper hand in the benefits debate.

Labour leader Ed Miliband. Credit: PA

Mr Miliband said the public's faith in the system had been "shaken" and that Labour had not done enough to tackle rising incapacity benefit costs while in power.

He promised to cut housing costs, crackdown on low pay and make people work for longer before getting jobseeker's allowance in a bid to ease the burden on the taxpayer.

Those in workless households and single parents should also be obliged to attend Jobcentre interviews and undertake training while their children are getting free nursery education, he added.

His speech was immediately dismissed as "empty" by the Conservatives.

Overturning child benefit decision 'not Labour priority'

Ed Miliband said it would not be Labour's "biggest priority" to overturn the decision on taking child benefit from families earning over £50,000 per year.

Ed Miliband during his speech on Britain's welfare state.

The Labour leader was delivering a speech on benefits, where he said: "The world has changed and Britain's welfare state must change with it".

Mr Miliband denied accusations that he was painting a picture of welfare cuts without anyone losing, citing Labour's decision of not paying the "richest pensioners" a winter fuel allowance.

He also said that both partners in a workless home should prepare for a return to work when their child turns three or four.

Labour: We can show 'right ways' to reduce welfare bill

Labour leader Ed Miliband will today pledge to cap the overall welfare bill by admitting that the public's faith in the system has been "shaken".

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said Labour party proposals offer the "right ways" to bring the bill down.

Speaking to Daybreak he said:"We're saying that Labour believes in the social security system, we helped create it, we think we're the right people to reform it for the long term, but we can't go on as we are at the moment, with the bills going up and up and up.

"So what we're doing today is saying look: Here are the right ways in which we can bring the bill down."

Miliband 'too weak' for tough decisions on welfare

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps says Labour leader Ed Miliband is "too weak" to deliver the "tough decisions" on welfare.

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps. Credit: Press Association

He said: "Ed Miliband's much-trailed welfare speech is completely empty. Labour have opposed every one of our measures to fix the welfare system and have now shown they have no credible alternative.

"This Government has capped benefits so that people can never claim more in benefits than families earn in work. But Ed Miliband is too weak to deliver the tough decisions on welfare hardworking people rightly want to see.

"His plans would actually increase welfare spending, and mean more borrowing and more debt.

"This is just the same old Labour: empty rhetoric smattered with more spending, more borrowing and more debt. Hardworking people would pay the price with soaring interest rates."

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