A million new jobs at heart of PM's election pledges

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown will today unveil the five key pledges on which Labour will fight the general election, including promises to create a million skilled jobs and a citizens' right to take anti-social offenders to court.

In a surprise move, the Prime Minister suggested last night that he would keep Alistair Darling as Chancellor if Labour holds on to power at the election expected on May 6. He had been thought likely to instal his close ally, the Schools Secretary Ed Balls, at the Treasury. Mr Brown told The Guardian that "of course" he wants to keep Mr Darling as Chancellor if Labour wins, praising him for doing "a superb job and delivering a brilliant Budget".

Today Mr Brown will tell Labour activists that Britain faces its "biggest choice for a generation" and issue the credit-card size pledge card on which Labour will seek a fourth term. The five promises are to : secure the recovery; raise family living standards; build a hi-tech economy; protect frontline investment in policing, schools, childcare and the NHS – with a new guarantee of cancer test results within a week; and strengthen fairness in communities through controlled immigration, guarantees of education, apprenticeships and jobs for young people and entitling victims of anti-social behaviour to take out civil injunctions, funded by the local public authority, if the police do not take action within a set period.

Yesterday Labour received a post-Budget boost as a ComRes poll for the BBC suggested that voters trust Mr Brown and Mr Darling more than David Cameron and George Osborne. One third of respondents said they most trusted Mr Brown and his Chancellor to handle the economy, compared with 27 per cent who opted for Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne and 19 per cent for the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

In a Downing Street podcast, Mr Brown pledged tough action to reduce immigration, saying that a ban on unskilled workers from outside the EU would remain for the "foreseeable future".

The Tories accused ministers of punishing unmarried pensioners on moderate incomes by £110 a year by freezing income tax allowances and raising pensions by less than inflation. Mr Cameron vowed to keep the winter fuel allowance, pension credits and free bus travel and TV licences.

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