Ed Miliband attacks government over ‘cost of living crisis’

By Adam Bienkov

Labour today went on the offensive against the government's economic record as further signs emerged that the UK economy continues to recover.

Ed Miliband used a visit to a south London market to accuse the coalition of presiding over a "cost of living crisis", telling voters that "David Cameron is out of touch; you are out of pocket".

Miliband's appearance is his first in a torrid few weeks for the Labour leader and comes as new figures show that the number of people out of work is continuing to fall.

According to the Office for National Statistics, unemployment dropped by a further 4,000 between April and June with 69,000 more people now in work over the quarter.

However while the overall jobless figure is down, the number of young people out of work continues to rise.

Labour pointed to this as a further sign that "ordinary families" are still suffering.

"Any increase in employment is to be welcomed, but the real story of the labour market is a living standards crisis with falling real wages, and millions working harder for less," shadow employment minister Stephen Timms said.

"David Cameron says he's fixed the economy but for ordinary families things are getting harder not easier."

The TUC also accused the government of presiding over a "recovery for the one per cent".

"The government's idea of economic recovery is one where the super-rich are rewarded with tax cuts, while low-paid, insecure work is perfectly acceptable for ordinary workers.

"It's no wonder consumers are having to run down their savings to keep up with the rising cost of living. This is a recovery for the top one per cent, while the living standards crisis continues for everyone else," TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said.

Ed Miliband's return to frontline politics today risked being overshadowed as more senior Labour figures and commentators spoke out against his leadership.

Former Labour minister Chris Mullin told the BBC that Miliband needed to "bring back the grownups" to the front bench while Labour's former director of communications Alastair Campbell accused him of "playing into Tory hands".

Even a mostly supportive article by former frontbench MP Tom Harris was marred by his description of the Labour leader as a "b*******".