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Main parties feel they are struggling to be heard

The two leaders most likely to be prime minister after the general election, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, have been struggling to get their message across, party insiders have told our Political Editor Tom Bradby.

There are even media reports tonight that Labour has been in behind-the-scenes talks with Sinn Fein to lay the groundwork for a potential coalition agreement.

'Cameron's NHS is what tuition fees were to Clegg'

Ed Miliband has said an NHS under David Cameron "is what tuition fees were to Nick Clegg".

The Labour leader accused Cameron of "broken promises" after he stood outside a hospital with a sign saying "no cuts" then later closed its A&E department.

His comments came as he outlined Labour's 10-year plan for the NHS if elected, which includes an extra 20,000 nurses and 8,000 GPs.


Miliband promises an 'NHS with time to care' if elected

Miliband said the NHS is facing it's 'most perilous moment in a generation.' Credit: ITV News

Ed Miliband has promised an "NHS with time to care" if Labour wins at the General Election.

The Labour leader pledged to recruit an extra 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 GPs and join home services up with hospitals.

He also said he would also guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer test results within one week.

In a speech in Trafford, Manchester, he added: "An NHS that is better for patients, better for staff and better for all of us."

Ed Balls calls for support for North Sea oil industry

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has written an article calling for the protection of the North Sea oil industry amid plummeting oil prices.

Writing in the Press and Journal ahead of a visit to Aberdeen with Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, he warned that the industry was "at a cross-roads" and called for a resilience fund for oil workers and tax incentives:

The oil industry is vital to the Scottish economy and nobody can doubt it needs support. There's nothing to stop the SNP Government in Edinburgh setting this up now. There's no time to waste ...

We need to see urgent action to improve the tax incentives for North Sea oil investment. And if George Osborne fails to act then I am clear that, after the general election in May, a UK Labour government will. Because failing to act will not only risk jobs and investment now, it will also cost the UK taxpayer in the long-term as we lose revenue from oil that gets left in the ground.

– ed balls, shadow chancellor

Scottish Labour calls for North Sea resilience fund

Scottish Labour is calling for a resilience fund to be made available for those whose livelihoods depend on the North Sea oil and gas industry.

It has also suggested reducing business rates on the sector as a temporary measure to "allow the business to stabilise or to mitigate the impact of large scale redundancies".

Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran accused both Westminster and Holyrood of inaction:

We need the UK Government to come forward with their long term plan for the industry to provide operators with some certainty, and we need the Scottish Government to set up a Resilience Fund so that Aberdeen and the surrounding areas do not have to bear the brunt of losses in the industry.

– Margaret Curran, shadow Scottish secretary


Miliband vows climate leadership if he becomes PM

Ed Miliband will promise to provide global leadership on tackling poverty and climate change if he wins the General Election in May.

In a speech later today, the Labour leader will insist that a commitment to the green agenda and a desire to reduce inequality are "at the heart of my beliefs" rather than being "part of a branding exercise".

Ed Miliband will address an event in Queen's Park, northwest London, later today. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Miliband will promise to use a series of major global summits after the election to push for action to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030 and reduce global net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

He is also set to reaffirm Labour's commitment to decarbonising the UK's electricity supply by 2030 and claim that "tackling climate change is the most important thing I can do in politics for my children's generation".

Murphy: Labour does not want coalition with the SNP

Labour does not want a coalition with the SNP if it fails to secure a majority in the General Election, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has said.

Ed Miliband was pressed on his potential coalition plans at the weekend amid polls predicting a surge in support for the SNP, and he did not rule out a deal with the party if the election results in a hung parliament.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy made his thoughts on an SNP coalition clear. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

But Murphy said Labour "don't expect, we don't need, we don't want and we are not planning for a coalition with the SNP or anyone else".

"That's our approach and we have been quite consistent about it," he added.

Burnham: 'It's time to combine health and social care budgets'

Andy Burnham has said that Labour would combine the health and social services budgets to try and care for the elderly in their homes before they become a burden on the NHS.

The shadow health secretary told Good Morning Britain: "I've repeatedly warned that if you cut social care, if you take away support from older people in their homes; in the end that falls back on the NHS because people go into hospital and they become trapped there. "I've said that we'll bring health and social care together I think the time has come to see them as one budget."

'Not a single' promise funded by additional borrowing

Ed Miliband stressed Labour has no manifesto proposals funded by additional borrowing, adding, "Not a single one."

The Labour leader dismissed Conservative claims that the opposition had made £20.7 billion in unfunded spending commitments.

'No proposals in our manifesto funded by additional borrowing. Not a single one.' Credit: Pool

Miliband said the party would make cuts to public spending but deal with the deficit "responsibly," including through higher taxes on the wealthiest.

Labour will show they "can do more with less", the leader said.

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