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Miliband in pledge on minimum wage
Labour will strengthen the national minimum wage, Ed Miliband has declared as he set out his party's plans to help people struggling with the rising cost of living.
On the eve of his party's conference in Brighton, Mr Miliband took to the city's streets to deliver his message that David Cameron's Government would stand up only for the "privileged few".
The Labour leader, who also confirmed his promise to abolish the "bedroom tax" cut to housing benefit if his party won the next election, promised an "economy that works for working people".
The announcements, which also included measures to extend childcare, came as Mr Miliband sought to seize the initiative as a drip-feed of claims from Gordon Brown's former spin doctor, Damian McBride, threatened to cast a shadow over the conference.
Mr Miliband, who earlier took a stroll along Brighton seafront with his wife Justine and children Daniel and Samuel, said: "This next election is going to come down to the oldest questions in politics: whose side are you on and who will you fight for?"
The Labour leader said: "We are going to scrap the bedroom tax, that's what I mean by a government that fights for you. And we are fighting for all of the low-paid people around our country. One of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government was the national minimum wage, making work pay for people.
"But under David Cameron's Government people are falling behind, the national minimum wage now paying people £20 less after inflation than it did when David Cameron came to office. That's just wrong. When we see that happening and when we think about one of the big banks, do we really think they can't afford to pay their cleaners a bit more?"
It was "wrong" that millions of people "are going out to work unable to afford to bring up their families".
He added: "The Labour government will put it right, we will strengthen the national minimum wage, we will make work pay for the workers of Britain. That's what I mean by a government that fights for you: abolishing the bedroom tax, strengthening the national minimum wage, childcare there for parents who need it. That's what I mean by tackling the cost of living crisis at this conference, that's what I mean by a government that fights for you."
Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: "Conservatives back the minimum wage. But if Ed Miliband was really on the side of hardworking people then he would have supported our welfare changes to ensure work always pays and should have voted in favour of halving the amount of income tax someone working full-time on the minimum wage pays. Ed Miliband's policy is for more borrowing and more debt - the same old Labour policy that got us into a mess in the first place - and would mean higher taxes and higher bills for hardworking people."