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Britain`s Brown to unveil election plans

Last Updated: Monday, April 12, 2010 - 11:31

London: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown`s Labour party unveils its manifesto for the May 06 election on Monday, as campaigning steps up a gear ahead of the first televised debate between the main party leaders.

Labour has promised no big spending commitments as Britain emerges from recession -- in contrast to the main opposition Conservatives -- but pledged to protect public services from cuts designed to tackle a record deficit.

"There are no big new spending commitments, but there is a determination for every penny to be used wisely, and, as present plans make clear, to give the maximum protection to frontline public services," Brown says in the manifesto.

At the launch in Birmingham, central England, Labour will argue that businesses are key to restoring jobs and growth, and promise not to raise the basic rate of income tax.

In addition, it will pledge reforms to the voting system and the unelected upper House of Lords following last year`s row over lawmakers` expenses.

Brown is missing a nuclear security summit in Washington because of the campaign, although Foreign Secretary David Miliband will attend in his place.

The economy has dominated campaigning so far and in its first election broadcast on Sunday, Labour presented the vote as a crossroads between continuing the road to recovery or veering off, to certain disaster.

Conservative leader David Cameron, by contrast, has criticised Brown`s record as prime minister and as finance minister for 10 years under Tony Blair, and insisted his party could do a better job.

The Tories` manifesto, to be unveiled on Tuesday, will include pledges to scrap a planned rise in payroll taxes, give married couples a tax break and introduce a young people`s community service programme.

Cameron has said he wants to see a "great national coming together" to solve Britain`s problems and has accused Labour of having "no new ideas".

"If we join together, if we act decisively and move forward with optimism, we can start to fix the economic, social and political problems that threaten the nation," he will tell voters in the manifesto.

Opinion polls this weekend suggest the Tories are about eight points ahead of Labour but may not have enough votes to win a parliamentary majority, a situation known as a hung Parliament.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, April 12, 2010 - 11:31
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