Ed Miliband's Labour conference speech - live blog

Minute-by-minute coverage of the Labour leader's speech to delegates.

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3.27: "The promise of Britain lies in its people. The tragedy of Britain is that it is not being met." Miliband's speech ends with a standing ovation.

3.24: Those ill-thought out election posters are still haunting Cameron. Miliband recalls them: "No more top-down reorganisation of the NHS". Big applause as Miliband intones: "You can't trust the Tories on the National Health Service".

3.22: "We must take on the vested interests wherever they are, because that is how we defend the public interest." Big cheers as he speaks of the need to defend the NHS against the government. Interesting that he is referring to this as a "Tory government" rather than "Tory-led" as previously.

3.18: He's talking now about rewarding responsibility in the welfare system. He is saying that hard workers are the ones who will lose out from the governments' reforms (through tax credits and sickness benefit). Sounds like he is trying to out-Tory the Tories: "while those who do the right thing are hit hard, the demands on those who don't work aren't tough enough".

3.16: Miliband is taking issue with the Conservatives' "we're all in this together" mantra. It's eloquently put and worth quoting at length:

Have you noticed how uncomfortable David Cameron is when he has to talk about responsibility at the very top?

He found it easy to be tough on you. VAT went up. He called it a tough decision. Tax credits were cut. He said they couldn't be afforded. Help paying for childcare was hit. He said it was the only thing he could do.

When you have had to pay, it's always necessary, it's always permanent, it can never be reversed. And yet at the same time they are straining at the leash to cut the 50p tax rate for people earning over £3,000 a week.

Only David Cameron could believe that you make ordinary families work harder by making them poorer and you make the rich work harder by making them richer.

3.13: Safe to say there is no love lost between Miliband and the Lib Dem leader. "It wouldn't be responsible to make promises I can't keep. That's Nick Clegg's job." Revenge for Clegg's comment about him and Balls being the "backroom boys" in the Treasury during the last government.

3.12: Interesting that he refers to young people "doing the right thing" -- I remember hearing that phrase a lot at the Tory conference last year.

3.11: Slightly stuttering delivery there, but the message is the same: "The wealth of our nation is built by the hands not just of the elite few but every man and woman who goes out and does a day's work."

3.10: Miliband is criticising the dominance of the big energy firms -- "a rigged market". This is in keeping with his strategy of presenting himself as the champion of everyman/the consumer.

3.09: Cheap gag about Nick Clegg being a Tory: "You know, the boundary review means his seat will be represented by a Tory after the next election.No change there then."

3.07: "When I am Prime Minister..." - confident!

3.06: Big cheers as he criticises "asset strippers" and calls for a new way of doing business. He particularly calls out the private equity firm involved with Southern Cross.

3.03: Miliband will be glad that the earlier blip with the TV live-streams was sorted out in time for this segment on bashing the bankers. He is saying that the financial services industry is too dominant and must change, and calling for a return to real manufacturing. "Not financial engineering but real engineering" -- it's a good line.

2.59: "Twenty-first century Britain, still a country for the insiders." This is the message that Miliband is hoping will resonate with the wider public. He's trying to make the social democratic message into something easy to relate to. "So this is who I am. The heritage of the outsider. The vantage point of the insider. The guy who is determined to break the closed circles of Britain."

2.58: National hate figure Fred Goodwin is getting it: "Fred Goodwin shouldn't have got that salary. And I tell you something else: We shouldn't have given Sir Fred Goodwin that knighthood either." Good to hear a Labour figure finally apologising for that knighthood.

2.56: This is the key part of Miliband's speech. He's criticising the double standard in values applied to big companies/vested interests and those applied to ordinary people. The notion of "trickle-down economics" is being questioned.

2.52: Miliband has moved on to the riots. Most of the people who live in the affected areas are decent, law-abiding people, says Miliband, and more were involved with the clean up than the riots. "I'm not with the Prime Minister, I will never write off whole parts of our country by calling them sick." Powerful line.

2.45: Big cheers on the importance of taking risks and adjusting to leadership: "I'm not Tony Blair. I'm not Gordon Brown either... I'm my own man and I'm going to do things my own way." He's been pushing this message in the last few days.

2.43: Miliband is referring to the Millie Dowler phone-hacking revelation as a turning point. "That's why I had to speak out." He (and the rest of his camp) are very proud of his reaction to that.

2.42: "There is an alternative," he repeats. This alternative includes reversing the VAT rise, and looking at youth unemployment. "Protecting our economy matters more than protecting a plan that has failed".

2.41: He's drawing a distinction with the government on growth: Labour is worried about it and the government isn't.

2.39: "I am determined to prove that the next Labour government will spend only what it can afford". This is probably as close as Miliband will come to the apology that many have been calling for. He reiterates the point Balls made that every penny made from the sale of bank shares will go towards repaying the debt.

2.38: We're onto the serious stuff now. He sets the scene of the global crisis and the lack of growth in Britain. "I am determined we restore your trust in us on the economy".

2.37: He's on fire! More jokes - this time about his deviated sceptum. "Typical Labour leader.He gets elected and everything moves to the centre.".

2.34: Miliband has taken to the stage. "It's been a busy year for me," he says, and starts by thanking his wife Justine, in what has become something of a conference tradition. Big laughs and cheers for his comments about his marriage: "Look, it's 2011, get over it." He makes another joke about his sons: "A new generation of Miliband brothers. Me and Justine are hoping they become doctors".

2.15pm: Ed Miliband will be addressing the Labour Party conference shortly.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Scotland's vast deficit remains an obstacle to independence

Though the country's financial position has improved, independence would still risk severe austerity. 

For the SNP, the annual Scottish public spending figures bring good and bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that Scotland's deficit fell by £1.3bn in 2016/17. The bad news is that it remains £13.3bn or 8.3 per cent of GDP – three times the UK figure of 2.4 per cent (£46.2bn) and vastly higher than the white paper's worst case scenario of £5.5bn. 

These figures, it's important to note, include Scotland's geographic share of North Sea oil and gas revenue. The "oil bonus" that the SNP once boasted of has withered since the collapse in commodity prices. Though revenue rose from £56m the previous year to £208m, this remains a fraction of the £8bn recorded in 2011/12. Total public sector revenue was £312 per person below the UK average, while expenditure was £1,437 higher. Though the SNP is playing down the figures as "a snapshot", the white paper unambiguously stated: "GERS [Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland] is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances". 

As before, Nicola Sturgeon has warned of the threat posed by Brexit to the Scottish economy. But the country's black hole means the risks of independence remain immense. As a new state, Scotland would be forced to pay a premium on its debt, resulting in an even greater fiscal gap. Were it to use the pound without permission, with no independent central bank and no lender of last resort, borrowing costs would rise still further. To offset a Greek-style crisis, Scotland would be forced to impose dramatic austerity. 

Sturgeon is undoubtedly right to warn of the risks of Brexit (particularly of the "hard" variety). But for a large number of Scots, this is merely cause to avoid the added turmoil of independence. Though eventual EU membership would benefit Scotland, its UK trade is worth four times as much as that with Europe. 

Of course, for a true nationalist, economics is irrelevant. Independence is a good in itself and sovereignty always trumps prosperity (a point on which Scottish nationalists align with English Brexiteers). But if Scotland is to ever depart the UK, the SNP will need to win over pragmatists, too. In that quest, Scotland's deficit remains a vast obstacle. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.