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Miliband pledges to give people more control over their lives

Ed Miliband has pledged to give ordinary people "control over their own lives" by tackling the scourge of unaccountable state power if Labour win the next election.

The Labour leader last night set out plans for "people-powered" public services and said that in government, his party would decentralise significant powers to cities and towns.

Ordinary people would also have much greater access to information held about them electronically.

Individuals would also be able to track online the progress of, for example, their parking fine, in the same way they currently monitor internet shopping deliveries.

He said that Labour's approach was that information should be "owned by and accessible to the individual, not hoarded by the state".

"We are standing where the British people stand," Mr Miliband said.

"They want a government that will stand up for them against unaccountable power, wherever it is.

"They want more control over their own lives."

"I am determined that that is what the next Labour government will do."

In his speech, the annual Hugo Young lecture, the Labour leader said that his plans would most help those at the bottom end of the social spectrum, who often feel that they have little or no control over their own lives.

"I care about inequality of income and opportunity.

"But I care about something else as well. Inequalities of power," he said.

"Everyone - not just those at the top - should have the chance to shape their own lives."

And he compared the frustration felt by many at the intransigence and unaccountable nature of state bodies with the anger recently directed at energy companies.

"I meet as many people frustrated by the unresponsive state as the untamed market," he said.

"And the causes of the frustrations are often the same in the private and public sector: unaccountable power with the individual left powerless to act against it."

Attempts to increase the role of the private sector, a key New Labour policy, had often replaced "a large public sector bureaucracy with a large private sector bureaucracy", he warned,

Labour is considering proposals to devolve much more power to local councils.

Mr Miliband said his vision was of a "a radical reshaping of services so that local communities can come together and make the decisions that matter to them".

Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: "With significant budget challenges, public service reform is more important than ever."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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