Labour launches campaign

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The Independent Online

Chief Political Correspondent

The battle for the general election got under way today with an advertisement by the Labour Party challenging the Tories' claims to economic success.

The full-page advertisement in the Independent was intended as a riposte to the Tory advertisements at the weekend claiming that Britain had been given low inflation and sustainable growth under the Conservatives.

But it marked the opening of the battle for the voters, which could run into 1997 if John Major is able to avoid a defeat on a confidence vote in the Commons.

The advertisement claims that Britain has fallen from 13th to 18th place in the world prosperity league, and says that one in three children in Britain are poor compared to one in 10 in 1979 when Labour last held office.

Labour's message claims that typical families are paying pounds 600 more in taxes than in 1992, in spite of promises by Mr Major that taxes will fall year on year.

The challenge came as the Treasury prepared to publish today the Finance Bill putting into effect the 1p cut in the basic rate of income tax next April.