New Labour leader describes school building cuts as ’irresponsible’

The new leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband has used his first leader’s speech to the Labour Party Conference to hit out at cuts to the school building programme.

Miliband said the coalition government was endangering the recovery by cutting spending too quickly, as he used his speech to set out “good society” vision for the Labour Party and allay fears over a swing to the left.

He said: “The starting point for a responsible plan is to halve the deficit over four years, but growth is our priority and we must remain vigilant against a downturn.

“You see when you cancel thousands of new school buildings at a stroke, it isn’t just bad for our kids, it’s bad for construction companies at a time when their order books are empty.

“It’s not responsible, it’s irresponsible,” he added.

Miliband also joined criticism from shadow business secretary Pat McFadden earlier today of the decision to cancel a proposed £80m loan to nuclear manufacturing firm Sheffield Forgemasters.

The new leader may have raised fears from construction employers however, by saying he would “challenge the old thinking that flexible labour markets are always the answer.” He said: “Employers should not be allowed to exploit migrant labour in order to undercut wages.”

Developers may also be alarmed by rhetoric around protecting high streets from redevelopment. He said: “We must be on the side of people trying to protect their high street from looking like every other high street, not the people who say that’s just the forces of progress.”