Brown warns middle classes of 'Tory squeeze'

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Gordon Brown warned middle class voters they faced a Tory "squeeze" today as he signalled Labour would not adopt a "core vote" strategy for the general election.

The Prime Minister said the Opposition planned to slash services for all but the poorest and would force the "mainstream majority" to pay for tax cuts for the super rich.

He conceded that Labour would have to cut public spending but said the way out of recession was to "unleash a wave of social mobility" not seen in this country for more than six decades.

In what was his first major campaign speech of election year, Mr Brown brushed aside suggestions he was set to mount a "class war" campaign against David Cameron's party.

Hailing his own middle class upbringing, he said the party would continue to campaign as "New Labour" and not shift leftwards in a bid to secure a fourth term.

Addressing the Fabian Society conference in London, he said: "It is quite clear that our opponents do not understand the needs and worries of middle income Britain.

"Because they have rejected the very economic policy that is the key to creating the middle class jobs of the future.

"They have said that if you are middle class you should not expect that children's centres will be available to you, that if you are middle class child tax credits should not be available to you, that if you are middle class there will be no child trust fund available to you.

"They've said they'll be no cancer guarantee for you, no check up guarantee, no waiting time guarantee, no GP guarantee, no tuition guarantee, no school standards guarantee, no skills guarantee.

"And they have said they will erode many of the universal services which gives us something beyond price - a sense of community.

"But they have said that their one pledge they will not reconsider is to give £200,000 each to the top 3000 estates in Britain: £200,000 each to half a dozen people in every constituency, paid for by hurting the mainstream majority in every constituency.

"And so the Tories have planned a raid on the quality of life of our middle class. They want to take away middle class guarantees. And they have no account of future middle class jobs.

"And that trio of threats - denying access to services, removing guarantees of quality, and abandoning jobs for the future - leads to only one conclusion; that it is only Labour that offers a manifesto for the middle - only Labour that owns the progressive centre ground."