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Labour Party Conference 2011: Ed Miliband Warns Of 'Quiet Crisis' In UK Society

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ED MILIBAND
PA

Ed Miliband has warned of a "quiet crisis" in Britain as he attempts to win back voters in his keynote speech to the Labour Party conference.

The Labour leader told a packed hall that the banking crisis, the phone hacking scandal and the English riots all point to a society that is "too often rewarding not the right people with the right values, but the wrong people with the wrong values."

His put himself firmly on the side of "grafters" and young people - confirming his commitment to lower tuition fees and reaffirming his opposition to the NHS reforms.

And he promised that Labour would regain economic credibility under his leadership - and he outlined new fiscal rules and rules for business regulation.

"We must learn that growth is built on sand if it comes from our predators and not our producers. For years in our country we have been neutral in that battle... But when I am prime minister, how we tax, what government buys, how we regulate, what we celebrate will be in the service of Britain's producers."

Despite the speech coming the day after two polls suggested the public is far from convinced by his leadership of the party, it was well received in the conference hall, with Miliband often having to pause for applause.

However a ComRes poll for the Independent last night found only one in four voters believe he is a "credible prime minister-in-waiting" and showed the Conservatives had moved ahead of Labour for the first time since October 2010.

And a YouGov survey for the Sun newspaper cut Labour's lead to 41 per cent, just two points ahead of the Conservatives on 39 per cent. The Lib Dems were on on eight per cent.

"Labour will always stand as the voice of the people, our people. Their values will be heard. And we will challenge the vested interests that benefit when the wrong values are rewarded," he said.

Miliband promised a Labour government would reward businesses and individuals which benefit the country, in a "something for something" society.

And he said he wanted to fight for a "new bargain" for the economy, saying: "I aspire to be your prime minister not for more of the same, but to write a new chapter in our country's history. The promise of Britain lies in its people."

The Labour leader also used his speech to slam benefit cheats, telling delegates: "The hard truth is that we still have a system where reward for work is not high enough, where benefits are too easy to come by for those who abuse the system and don't work for those who do the right thing."

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