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David Miliband backs Osborne's spending envelope

By Paul Goodman
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David MilibandThat, at any rate, is Nicholas Watt's view over at the Guardian.  On Wintour and Watt, he writes that reports of Miliband's speech in yesterday's welfare debate have missed "the most significant aspect of his speech – an apparent attempt to reframe Labour's economic policy which is being run by his great rival Ed Balls."

Watt says that while Miliband lined up with Balls on spending priorities he parted from him on spending figures.  He writes:

The former foreign secretary told MPs he accepted the government's "envelope" in a key part of the public finances – a line Balls has yet to cross. *Miliband said the debate should not focus on affordability but about priorities within the "envelope" of "all benefits, all tax credits and all tax relief for the next few years".

Miliband's words apparently were: "I am happy to debate priorities within that envelope. I will take the envelope that they have set. But let's have a proper debate about choices, not the total sum – a priorities debate, not an affordability debate.  Watt reports that the words "I will take the envelope that they have set" are missing from Miliband's website.

George Osborne and the Treasury team in particular will seize on Miliband's words with rampant glee, doubtless treating him with exaggerated respect in order to wind up Balls.