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Ed Miliband pledges to cap welfare spending

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Labour leader Ed Miliband has today pledged to cap overall spending on welfare if he becomes prime minister in 2015.

Speaking in Newham today, Miliband said welfare spending needs to be reformed and costs need to be brought under control.

The Government has introduced a cap of £26,000 on the amount households can claim in benefit payments that Labour has opposed in parliamentary votes.

Miliband said: “Planning social security over three years should become a central part of each spending review. And I also believe that a cap on social security spending should be part of that planning process.

“Because what governments should be doing is looking three years ahead and setting a clear limit within which social security would have to operate.

”Now, clearly there are detailed issues that need to be worked on to make any cap sensible. The Government has also talked about a cap on social security. And we will look at their proposals.”

Miliband re-iterated calls by shadow chancellor Ed Balls to cut winter fuel allowance for 40p and 45p rate taxpayers. He also pledged to keep the Government’s cut to child benefits for one person earning more than £50,000 a year.

He said job seeker’s allowance should be reviewed and housing benefit costs should be reduced by building more homes and allowing councils to negotiate cheaper rents on behalf of recipients.

Miliband also pledged to increase the retirement age to deal with rising state pension costs and people living longer.

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