Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Coalition Government of offering only a “counsel of despair” as ministers attempt to cut the UK’s budget deficit.
In his New Year message, Miliband (pictured) says Britain will begin 2012 in “the most difficult of moments” after unemployment reached 2.64 million earlier this month.
However, he says the Government’s approach to deficit reduction has benefited the richest in society at the expense of the poorest.
He says: “Just when the challenges facing our country are the greatest for a generation, many people feel politics cannot answer their problems.
“Some believe things would be the same whoever was in charge. And others fear the Government is in the grip of forces so powerful that nothing can be done.
“It suits the current Conservative-led government to go along with this idea. Having failed in their promise to make Britain a safe haven, they now say that there is no alternative to rising joblessness and years of falling living standards for working people. It is a counsel of despair.
“When this government, in the Treasury’s Autumn Statement, takes three times as much from the working poor as from the banks, it shows where its priorities lie – with the privileged few.”
Miliband says Labour’s aim for 2012 is “to show people politics can make a difference”, with the party set to continue to press ministers to introduce policies to stimulate jobs and growth.