Labour manifesto promises ‘budget responsibility lock’

13 Apr 15

Ed Miliband has today set out a plan for the Office for Budget Responsibility to verify a Labour government's plans to cut the deficit in every year of the next parliament.

Publishing the party’s election manifesto today, Miliband pledged that the first line of the party’s first Budget would be a promise to cut the deficit every year of the next parliament. He promised that the party would only ever lay before the House of Commons budgets that meet this commitment, which would be verified by the OBR.

Under what he called a ‘budget responsibility lock’, Miliband also said the party’s manifesto required no additional borrowing. Labour would also legislate for all major parties in future to have their spending and tax proposals independently audited by the OBR before a general election.

With opinion polls indicating that the election result will lead to another hung parliament, Miliband insisted Labour would not compromise on its ‘strong and fair’ fiscal rules, which include a pledge to get the national debt falling as a share of gross domestic product ‘as soon as possible’ in the next parliament.

Today’s manifesto was ‘a clear commitment’ to improving the UK’s finances. he said. Instead of big spending, the document proposed reforms to the economy to ensure prosperity is fairly shared.

‘My case is simple: Britain can be better – for you, your family and our country. But only if we change the rules by which the country is run, the ethic that drives government, the leadership we offer,’ he said.

‘And everything we do is based on a simple truth: it is only when working people succeed that Britain succeeds.’

Responding to the launch, the Conservatives said Labour would not balance the books because it had pledged to only run a current spending surplus, allowing it to continue to borrow for capital projects.

Responding to the launch, Conservative financial secretary to the Treasury David Gauke highlighted Institute for Fiscal Studies figures, which had projected that capital borrowing could lead to a deficit of as much as £30bn a year by the end of the next parliament in 2020.

‘The independent experts confirm Ed Miliband has no plan to clear the deficit and balance the books,’ he said.

‘Britain's hardworking taxpayers will pay the price for the economic chaos.’

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