Both Miliband and Balls know they need to do more if people are going to be persuaded to put them in charge of public money.
The Chancellor boasted of higher GDP and employment, but the living standards squeeze is set to continue.
Minute-by-minute coverage of the Chancellor's announcements and the OBR's new forecasts.
The Chancellor should use his Autumn Statement to reward families on modest incomes who have quietly endured squeezed living standards during austerity.
Including, when will living standards start to rise, will there be new money for the NHS and how much more austerity is Osborne planning?
Rather than using the forecast structural surplus to pay down the national debt, the government should invest it in science, skills and childcare.
The top 1% of earners now pay 30% of all income tax because they're earning more. And the poorest still pay the largest overall share.
Having spent months denouncing Miliband's energy price freeze as a "con", the Tories, spooked by the opposition's poll lead, are now trying to match it.
If the Chancellor starts doling out goodies he risks undercutting the Tory message of long-term discipline.