David Cameron has put the economy centre stage as he outlines Conservatives commitment to deficit reduction ahead of the General Election.
The Prime Minister has outlined the economic policies which will underpin the Tory manifesto, with a renewed promise to create a budget surplus by the end of the next parliament.
His speech in the East Midlands was the latest sign that the two main parties have picked clear dividing lines on their campaigning strategy.
For Mr Cameron the General Election battle will see the Tories seek to convince voters that Government spending can be cut while maintaining jobs growth.
The PM said the party would campaign on jobs, taxes, education, home ownership and retirement, with today’s speech setting out the deficit reduction measures a Tory government would introduce.
Mr Cameron committed the party to introducing a budget surplus, reduce spending rather than cutting taxes, taking a further £12 billion out of the welfare budget, tackling tax avoidance and protecting NHS spending.
Turning his attention to Labour, Mr Cameron said: “If you don’t run a surplus, you increase your debt. If you increase your debt, you increase debt interest payments.
If you increase those, more of your money has to go to our creditors and foreign bankers than on our local schools and hospitals.
“Labour’s alternative to our plan means under-funded public services and deeper cuts in future.
“And that’s not even to mention the higher taxes that will have to come to pay for Labour’s wasteful spending.
“So this is not some abstract economic debate. This is about your local GP, your child’s school, about whether your taxes go to support those things or get sent off to foreign creditors because Britain is getting deeper into debt.
This is about your family’s money, about whether you get to keep more of your money each month with the Conservatives, or pay higher taxes with Labour.”
Meanwhile Labour has maintained its NHS focus in spite of Mr Cameron’s deficit-challenge.
Speaking at a question-and-answer session in Stevenage, Labour leader Ed Miliband said that for Mr Cameron the NHS was the subject that “dare not speak its name”.
“The reason David Cameron and George Osborne have failed on the deficit is because they have failed on living standards,” he said.
“Unless we have higher wages and living standards, we won’t get the revenue to reduce the deficit.
“Their plan will keep failing on living standards and therefore keep failing on the deficit.
“And now they want to go even further: back to the 1930s on public spending.
“No wonder David Cameron has gone from saying the NHS were the three most important letters to him to the health service becoming the subject that dare not speak its name.”