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Miliband calls for devolution to local government

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A Labour government would “reverse a century of centralisation” to bring devolution to England, leader Ed Miliband has told his party conference.

Speaking in Manchester, Mr Miliband said: “We will devolve power to local government right across England”, though he did not go into any specifics.

Wider constitutional change should be “led by people, it cannot be a Westminster stitch-up so we need a constitutional convention”, he added. The House of Lords would become “a senate of nations and regions”, the Labour leader pledged.

Citing the experience of the Scottish referendum, Mr Miliband also said he would reduce the voting age to 16.

Mr Miliband urged Labour not to cede the concept of ‘Englishness’ to other parties and accused prime minister David Cameron of being more concerned about the political threat from Ukip than with England’s future.

“Pandering to Ukip is just one more reason why he is not fit to be prime minister of this great country,” he said.

The Labour leader also said he would repeal the Health and Social Care Act  were he to win next May’s general election, and create “an NHS there when we need it”.

This would be paid for by a clampdown on tax avoidance, a ‘mansion tax’ on homes worth in excess of £2m and a tax on tobacco industry profits.

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