Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves has acknowledged that Labour must restore trust with the public on the economy, otherwise voters won't listen to them on anything else.
Her comments come after a string of opinion polls which suggest the Tories are trusted more on financial matters, even when they trail Labour on the wider issue of who they'd vote for.
The most recent polls, published on Sunday and Monday, suggest Labour has recovered slightly in the polls since last month, with the NHS rows engulfing Andrew Lansley and David Cameron apparently costing the Tories support among voters.
An ICM poll published by the Guardian on Monday night indicated that Labour has made up some of the ground lost since December, when the Tories surged in the polls following David Cameron's veto on the EU fiscal treaty.
In a speech to the IPPR think-tank on Tuesday, Reeves will say: "If we don’t get this right, it doesn’t matter what we say about anything else. Because earning people’s trust that we will be responsible custodians of public money is the precondition for gaining the right to be heard on any other issue."
As the arguments on what should be in George Osborne's 2012 Budget next month heat up, Reeves will echo calls by Ed Balls at the weekend for tax cuts to stimulate growth. She will re-affirm that a VAT cut would be "the fairest and quickest option available," and also suggest another tax on bank bonuses, with the money directly channeled into tackling youth unemployment.
Recent polls suggest that voters believe the Tories are more competent than Labour on economic matters by a margin of two-to-one, and Ed Balls has previously warned that his party faces an enormous task to restore trust.
Two polls published on Sunday gave mixed results. A ComRes poll gave the Tories a one point lead on 38% - well within the margin of error - while the Sunday Times put Labour four points ahead on 41%.
The poll published on Monday night by The Guardian suggested the NHS reforms were costing the Tories support, losing four points since the last Guardian/ICM poll was published.Suggest a correction