Ed Miliband to set out Labour's economic plan to tackle the deficit

Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A Labour government would deal with the deficit by cutting public spending by most Whitehall departments every year as part of a "tough and balanced" approach to restoring Britain's economic fortunes, Ed Miliband will announce.

The Labour leader will make a host of new economic pledges in a speech later today. Mr Miliband will restate Labour's pledge to eliminate the current deficit "as soon as possible" after the general election and by 2020 at the latest, but will insist that the party will do it in a "fairer" way than Conservatives.

Casting next May's election as "a fight for the soul of our country", Mr Miliband will accuse Tories of planning to take public spending back to 1930s levels and argue that the programme set out by George Osborne in last week's Autumn Statement would "put at risk our NHS, undermine our economic future and threaten working families".

He will be trying to lay to rest the wholesale criticism he faced for forgetting to mention the deficit in September's keynote party conference speech.

Mr Miliband will set out his 'One Nation Labour' approach to dealing with the deficit based on five principles:

Ahead of the speech, shadow chancellor Ed Balls wrote to all shadow cabinet ministers to warn them of spending cuts to come every year until Labour balances the current budget.

Aside from the NHS and international development and a "limited" number of other areas to be set out in the 2015 manifesto, shadow ministers should be "planning on the basis that your departmental budgets will be cut not only in 2015/16 but each year until we have achieved our promise to balance the books", wrote Mr Balls.

Miliband to set out Labour's plan to tackle the deficit Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Conservatives have responded to the Labour plans saying they "would mean more debt."