Miliband urges Cameron to push for Europe growth
LIVERPOOL (Reuters) - Labour leader Ed Miliband urged Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday to show leadership over the international economic crisis and work with other European countries to push for growth.
"Let's get stuck in, let's engage, let's get Europe to grow, that's the priority," he told the BBC before the Labour Party began its annual conference in Liverpool.
Miliband said rising unemployment showed Cameron's deficit-cutting strategy was not working and action was needed to get the economy growing.
Miliband, elected a year ago to lead Labour after its election defeat ended 13 years in power, said Cameron had not acted on his calls to press for international action to get the world economy moving.
"There is an absence of leadership and I say to the prime minister 'Put the politics to one side, start showing some leadership'," he said.
The priority in Europe was growth but Cameron was standing aside and trying to avoid getting lumbered with the euro zone's problems, Miliband said.
Financial markets plunged last week on fears Greece's near-bankruptcy could spread to other euro zone countries, heaping pressure on European policymakers to prevent a repeat of the chaos that swept the world in 2007-2009.
Britain, a member of the 27-nation European Union but not of the euro zone, has largely left it to the euro zone to tackle the crisis.
The Conservative-led coalition government has launched a tough austerity programme to eliminate the country's budget deficit by 2015 from a record 10 percent of GDP before it came to power in May 2010.
Labour proposes halving the deficit in four years, saying the coalition's deep cuts risk snuffing out growth.
The Labour conference voted on a package of proposals on Sunday aimed at reforming itself in the wake of its election defeat and giving party members a bigger say in policy-making.
The result will not be announced until Monday but the reforms are expected to be approved.
Labour proposes to copy U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy in the 2008 election by recruiting thousands of people prepared to be party supporters but not paid-up members.
If enough supporters sign up, they will be given a say in future elections of Labour Party leaders.
Party officials billed the reform in advance as diluting the influence of trade unions, Labour's traditional paymasters who helped Miliband win the leadership election last year in a cliffhanger vote against his brother.
But the final version of the proposals do not dilute union power as the supporters' share of the vote would be drawn equally from unions, party members and members of parliament.
In an interview with the Observer newspaper, Miliband said Labour would cut the maximum tuition fee for university students by a third to 6,000 pounds a year.
Labour would pay for this by reversing planned tax cuts for the banks and by asking the highest-earning graduates to pay more interest on their loans. The coalition has almost tripled university tuition fees starting from next year.
Treasury Minister Justine Greening said Miliband was making proposals that cost more money while saying he wanted to cut the deficit. "His total lack of answers on the economy shows how weak a leader he is," she said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Matt Falloon; Editing by Sophie Hares)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this