Miliband calls to protect family budgets

By Ian Dipple 28/03 Updated: 30/03 12:26

Buy photos » Ed Miliband chats with shoppers Rita and Barry White during a trip to Redditch. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1312039MMR6

LABOUR leader Ed Miliband has called on the Government to take action now to protect the budgets of hard working families during a visit to Redditch today (Wednesday).

Mr Miliband unveiled a five point plan during a question and answer session at Church Hill Community Centre which included stopping the cut to the 50 pence tax rate for people earning more than £150,000 and the freeze in tax allowances for pensioners, announced in last week's budget.

He also called for a cap on rail fare increases on every route, a policy to force energy firms to automatically offer their cheapest tariffs to the over 75s, stopping excessive fees charged by banks and airlines and to reverse the Government's tax break for high earners to restore cuts to tax credits.

Supported by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Mr Miliband told the meeting they were actions which would not cost anything and could be implemented now to help hard pressed households.

"These are things the Government could be doing right here, right now to make a difference to hard pressed households," he said.

"In the last few days this government has been listening not to hard working families across this country but their millionaire donors.

"Labour is changing to ensure we stand with you in tough times."

Mr Balls added: "We don't think the millions should pay for a millionaire's tax cut."

During the hour long session Mr Miliband fielded a series of questions ranging from jobs and training for young people, rising fuel costs and benefit cuts.

One woman said she faced having to take on a second job or face losing her tax credits as at her current workplace she could not get enough hours to meet the new rule stating couples had to work a minimum of 24 hours a week instead of 16.

Mr Miliband told her: "You are doing everything right. You are doing everything the Government is telling you to do - working hard, not relying on benefits - and still they are penalising you."

Earlier in the day he and his team had visited Morrisons supermarket off the Warwick Highway where they spoke to shoppers.

For more on this story see Friday's Redditch Standard.

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