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Britain's opposition leader calls for economic, social reforms

(Xinhua)

10:43, September 28, 2011

LONDON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The leader of Britain's opposition Labor Party on Tuesday told the party's annual conference he wants to strike a "new bargain" with voters and reform "an economy and society too often rewarding people with the wrong values."

Labor leader Ed Miliband criticized British society in the wake of scandals involving politicians cheating on their expenses, journalists hacking into the mobile phone messages of teenage murder victims, and bankers continuing to reward themselves with big bonuses in the wake of the financial crisis.

He said there was a "something for nothing culture - who cares as long as you get away with it" and added, "It's all go to change we need a new bargain about how our society and economy is run."

Miliband was critical of the plan of the current coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron to cut the structural deficit in government spending by 2015, which has brought big job losses in the public sector.

Miliband also accused Cameron of not being a force for change and of being "the last gasp of the old rules," and said the country wanted "closed circles" of power at the top of society broken up.

He said that government should champion industries and businesses that invested in the long term, and that a short-term approach to business and investment was damaging. "Growth is built on sand -- if it comes from our predators and not our producers," he said.

The next general election in Britain until 2015, with Cameron likely to remain prime minister with a coalition government until then.

Miliband has been leader of the opposition for almost a year, but has failed to develop a big opinion poll lead over Cameron, at a time when the government is likely to be highly unpopular with cuts in public spending, a stalled economic recovery and hundreds of thousands of job losses in the public sector.

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