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Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 16:50 UK

Reaction of the other parties to Labour's manifesto

Gordon Brown delivering Labour's manifesto
The other parties have unsurprisingly been critical

The Labour Party has published its manifesto for the general election, but what has been the reaction of the other main parties?

Gordon Brown says Labour would be "relentless reformers", and have a "plan for the future".

Key pledges include reform of financial markets and public services, minimum wage rises, increasing paternity leave, and not extending VAT to food and children's clothes.

Here is the reaction of the other parties, pressure groups, business organisations, and unions.


Shadow Cabinet member Liam Fox said Labour was saying nothing new.

"Given that we have a broken economy, a broken society and broken politics, there was a distinct lack of ambition and imagination," he said.

"People will look at the promises and say 'After 13 years of broken promises, why should be believe any of the promises in this one?'. It's time for change."

Fellow Conservative frontbencher, Chris Grayling, said Labour's manifesto was "a series of reheated promises that Labour have already broken once".

He added: "We had a number of big promises that had absolutely no costing attached to them at all".


Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg questioned how Labour could promise "fairness and new politics" when they had already done so, and failed to deliver, in the past three general elections.

Gordon Brown delivers Labour manifesto

"If they haven't managed to do it in 13 years, why would anyone believe they are going to do it this time?" he said.

However, the Lib Dem's Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said he agreed with Labour's decision to only include a few new spending commitments.

"I do approve of that," he said. "There's no scope at the moment for any government to have new eye-catching spending commitments.

"We have gone to the other pole of saying there's a massive government deficit, we have got to be upfront with the public about how we deal with it."


SNP campaign co-ordinator Stewart Hosie said Labour offered "a future feared by all".

He accused Labour of planning "deeper and tougher" cuts than under Margaret Thatcher.

"Labour's plans pose a direct threat to Scotland's public services and will mean 10,000 lost Scottish jobs," he added.


Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones chose to level his criticism against both Labour and the Conservatives.

He said they were "engaged in a phoney war over who can inflict the worst cuts on our public services".

Mr Jones said both had also "allowed the banks to be deregulated and allowed the worst financial crisis we've seen since the end of the Second World War".


Friends of the Earth's executive director Andy Atkins said Labour's environmental pledges fell "far short" of the action needed to tackle climate change.

"It fails to commit the UK to cutting its emissions by at least 42% by 2020, which is needed to ensure this country plays its fair part in tackling global warming," he said.

"Even welcome policies such as promoting electric vehicles are undermined by gas-guzzling plans such as motorway widening and airport expansion.

"Labour should have set the bar far higher on environmental issues - the other parties must show voters they have far greater ambition."


The Institute of Directors (IoD) said the manifesto did not give enough detail on how Labour would sort out the public finances.

"We simply can't see how the deficit is going to be tackled quickly enough if the government is only prepared to identify as little as £10bn of spending reductions," said the IoD's director general Miles Templeman.

"If Labour wins the election are ministers going to reveal a much longer list of spending cuts or will we face higher taxes on top of the National Insurance hike?"

However, Mr Templeman did welcome the government's commitment to a third runaway at London Heathrow.


Greenpeace said Labour's commitment to a third runway at Heathrow "sticks out like a sore thumb" in the manifesto.

"Most independent observers now agree that opposition from the Tories, the Lib Dems, Labour backbenchers, the courts, environmental groups and local residents means the third runway will never be built," said Greenpeace executive director John Sauven.

"It's a shame that the Labour leadership couldn't join in."

Mr Sauven did, however, welcome Labour's pledge to boost green, low carbon industries.

"This manifesto shows real recognition of the role that low carbon industry can play in Britain's economic recovery," he said.

"We need to see these words backed with massive investment in new infrastructure which can bring thousands of new jobs to this country as well as boosting our energy security, making our homes warm and tackling climate change."

Mr Sauven added that the real test would be if a re-elected Labour government safeguards such investment "despite the clamour for cuts".


The TUC union umbrella group welcomed Labour's pledge to increase the National Minimum Wage in-line with the rise in average earnings.

"It is good to rule out letting the minimum wage fall behind the growth of average earnings," said TUC general secetary Brendan Barber.

"The minimum wage must never be allowed to 'wither on the vine' otherwise low-paying employers will be allowed to shirk their responsibilities and needlessly abandon low-paid workers to poverty pay," he added.


The CBI business organisation said Labour was not proposing to tackle the public debt fast enough.

"The next government must set out a clear and robust plan for restoring the public finances, and the current deficit must be balanced earlier than Labour's proposals," said CBI deputy director-general John Cridland.

Mr Cridland also appeared to be nonplussed with Labour's pledge to raise the National Minimum Wage in line with average earnings over the next five years.

""The setting of a national minimum wage is a matter best left to the independent Low Pay Commission," he said.

Mr Cridland was more upbeat on Labour's plans to boost the UK's low-carbon economy, saying the party had "interesting ideas here".

He also welcomed the recognition in the manifesto that the private sector can play a part in public sector reform.

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