Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Gordon Brown warns Tory cuts will hit middle classes

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown said the Tories planned to cut benefits and frontline services

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned a Tory government would hit the middle classes with cuts in vital public services and benefits.

He told the Scottish Labour conference his party had done more to make Britain fairer in a decade than his opponents had managed in two centuries.

Mr Brown also dismissed the SNP, saying the party was the same as the Tories.

And he mounted a strong defence of the Union, saying it played a vital part in fighting the recession.

The Labour leader addressed delegates in Glasgow, after starting the day in the Midlands by unveiling the party's election pledge card.

With election day expected to be 6 May, Mr Brown focused on the core themes of economic growth and fairness to all.

He told the conference at the Glasgow Science Centre that the election was a choice between a Labour or Conservative government.

On every major question facing our country there are only two answers - the Tory answer and the Labour answer
Gordon Brown
UK prime minister

"In this coming election I ask you to focus on the future - the future on offer with a Labour government, the future at risk with a Conservative government," he said.

"Because let us be in no doubt - that is the choice facing Britain.

"On every major question facing our country there are only two answers - the Tory answer and the Labour answer."

The prime minister said: "There is no middle way, no risk-free way of voting for another party, and still being sure that you prevent a Conservative government."

Mr Brown said that, under the Tories, two thirds of families would lose their child trust fund, while planned inheritance tax cuts would benefit only the 300 wealthiest people.

"The Tories want you to be taken in by their warm words - but take a long careful look at the cold reality," he said.

"The Tories want you to be seduced by their soft-focus posters - but you should take a long careful look at the very hard facts.

"The Tories want you to think they are compassionate Conservatives - but take a long careful look at the realities of what they propose."

Mr Brown added: "Let's be clear - the Tories might have a lot of warm words for the middle class - but the cold reality of their plans is to cut your benefits, cut your frontline services and cut your jobs."

Turning to the SNP, the prime minister attacked the party's record as the Scottish government, saying it was Labour which had saved financial institutions such as the Royal Bank of Scotland.

"Nobody of any credibility claims that an independent Scotland could have achieved an independent bailout of the banks," he said, adding: "The old ways of separation and division are obsolete in this country."

Skilled jobs

On the election fight ahead, Mr Brown said people had "long memories" and would "remember what 18 years of Tory misrule was like".

"Our message is clear - on jobs, the NHS, schools, policing, the best start for children, security for the elderly: Labour is on your side. We are for the hard-working majority.

"And if you give us the chance, we will fight for your future - not just in this spring time of choice, but in every season of our country's life."

Labour's target for the next five years is to create one million new skilled jobs, Mr Brown said, including an additional 100,000 skilled jobs in Scotland.

Mr Brown declared: "I ask this of Scotland and of Britain today, in the moment of decision that lies ahead, remember one thing - in all the moments of decision that have already tested us, we have never left you, we have always put you - the people - first.

"And I ask you to stand with us now - for your future and for our country's future.

"Stand with us in the weeks ahead and know that in the years ahead we will be right there where we have always been - on your side, backing your dreams, helping your family by serving the people."

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