In the original version of the Labour leader's speech, he had been set to warn his party "there won't be money to spend after the next election."
He was going to tell activists: "Labour’s plan is based on a tough new approach. Eliminating the deficit as soon as possible in the next parliament. Getting the national debt falling. And no proposals for additional borrowing. We will get the deficit down."
However, the Labour leader did not make these remarks in the conference hall, and it did not appear in the final transcript of what he said in his conference speech,
Miliband's avoidance of the deficit jars with what shadow chancellor Ed Balls said on Monday, warning members he would have to make "unpopular decisions" and pledging "fiscal responsibility in the national interest".
In an attempt to bolster Labour's economic credentials, Balls said the party would be "straight" with the public by admitting that it would make real-terms cuts, and that he would "not spend money we cannot afford".
The Tories seized on the absence of any mention of the deficit as proof that he has "no plan for the economy". Conservative MP Henry Smith said: "This is a man who wants to be Prime Minister, but in his speech today he cut out all references to difficult decisions because he’s too weak to take them."
Labour has been trying to repair its credibility on the economy as senior figures worry that the party's failure at the 2010 general election to talk about cuts led voters to believe it was not serious enough about the deficit.
Balls and Miliband have also regularly trailed George Osborne and David Cameron in polls over who is most trusted to run the UK economy, with a recent poll putting the lead enjoyed by the Tories on this at 25%.
In response, a Labour source told Paul Waugh that Miliband "did make clear [that there would be] no further borrowing".
Re EdM forgetting to deliver lines in speech text re deficit, Lab source:"This was a long speech and he did make clear no further borrowing"— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) September 23, 2014