Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Sunday, 27 April 2008 18:33 UK

Cameron 'would stand up for poor'

Conservative leader David Cameron talks to Andrew Marr.

David Cameron has pledged to "stand up" for the low-paid who he says feel "desperately let down" by Labour.

The Tory leader refused to say whether he would reinstate the 10p tax rate if he became prime minister as he could not make "unfunded" tax pledges.

But he said he would never sanction a Budget that "singled out the poor".

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said if the Tories "want the next election to be about who is going to do more for the low paid, I say bring it on".

Mr Cameron was speaking as an ICM opinion poll for The News of the World suggested he would win the next election with a large majority.

He refused to speculate on whether he believed the Conservatives had reached a "tipping point" in their quest for power - adding that the Tory poll lead would probably make Mr Brown delay an election.

'Low-paid families'

But he told BBC One's Andrew Marr show the past week had seen a change in the attitude of Labour's traditional supporters following the row over the abolition of the 10p tax rate.

I would not sanction a Budget as a Prime Minister that singled out the poor for a tax increase at a time when everyone else was either left alone or getting a bit of help
David Cameron
Conservative leader

"Those people have been let down by Labour and those are the people I want to stand up for," he said.

"People on low pay, families who struggle often to make ends meet, who have seen the cost of living rising and have seen their tax bill go up under Labour, those people who thought 'The Labour Party is for me'. I think they feel desperately let down.

"What I want to say to people like that is we are there for you."

Asked if he would reinstate the 10p rate, he said: "We will set out our tax plans at the next election.

"I would not sanction a Budget as a Prime Minister that singled out the poor for a tax increase at a time when everyone else was either left alone or getting a bit of help."

'Voters' concerns'

On Friday, Mr Cameron urged voters to "punish" Labour at Thursday's local and London mayoral elections over the abolition of the 10p rate.

But Foreign Secretary David Miliband defended Labour's U-turn over which saw it unveil a compensation package aimed at helping those who have lost out.

He said the government had to "keep very close to the concerns of voters and that's why the decision this week about the 10p rate was right".

And he accused Mr Cameron of lacking substance on the economy and issues such as the refinery workers' strike at Grangemouth refinery.

"He's a good salesman - but what's he selling? The minute you push and prod in any area, the economy or Grangemouth, actually he has got nothing to say about the future of the country," he told the Andrew Marr show.

Treasury minister Jane Kennedy accused Mr Cameron of refusing to say how he would pay for his pledges on the the army, prisons, health and education.

"While David Cameron might say he has made no "uncosted, unfunded tax pledges", the reality is that the Tories have made over 10 bn of unfunded tax pledges.

"David Cameron is putting political opportunism ahead of the stability of Britain's economy."

The ICM survey for the News of the World suggests 131 Labour MPs would be ejected from the Commons in favour of their Conservative challengers.

The findings point to a 9% swing from Labour to the Tories, giving Mr Cameron a 64-seat majority.

But another poll by ICM, for The Sunday Telegraph, puts the Tories on 39% nationally, 10 points ahead of Labour on 29% and the Lib Dems on 20%.



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