Disillusioned Lib Dems provide ripe target for Labour

Labour is inviting young people to join the party for a penny in a recruitment drive designed to attract disillusioned former supporters of the Liberal Democrats.

Launching the offer yesterday, Labour Leader Ed Miliband vowed to fight for young people's priorities, telling them: "Join us and we will be your first line of defence."

Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham accused the Government of taking a clear choice to make young people, rather than wealthy bankers, bear the brunt of its programme of cuts.

He set out Labour's three key aims of halting the abolition of the 30-a-week educational maintenance allowance for disadvantaged teenagers who stay on after GCSEs, opposing the closure of SureStart Centres and campaigning against the rise in university tuition fees.

Mr Burnham said he accepted "tough choices" were needed to get the deficit down, but said that Labour would do this with "fair tax rises, spending scaled back, and a focus on growth".

"This Tory-led Government have launched an unprecedented attack on young people which threatens to turn the hopes of the next generation to dust," he added.

"By trebling tuition fees, and scrapping educational maintenance allowances and the future jobs fund, Tory Ministers are pulling up the drawbridge and kicking away the ladders.

"This is a Government out of touch with what life is like for young people who have least but want to make a success of their lives. From early years to adulthood, they are systematically putting up barriers and attacking aspiration."

Mr Miliband said that the Lib Dems were propping up a right-wing Conservative Government.

"The key economic and welfare decisions are Tory decisions," he said.