Labour Leader Visits Harlow

Ed Miliband today said the current generation of politicians owe a "massive obligation'' to young people as he vowed to only make promises he can keep.

Mr Miliband was participating in a question and answer session at Harlow College in Essex, which was attended by students and people from the local community.

The Labour leader said he would only make pledges he could stick to whilst acknowledging his generation's responsibility for improving the future of young people.

He added that today's youth unemployment mirrored that of the 1980s and 90s and said it takes "a generation'' to correct the problem.

He said: "I genuinely believe that we, whether it be Nick Clegg, David Cameron or myself, owe you a massive obligation.

"Inter-generational justice, inter-generational fairness and equality is going to be the issue of the next 10 or 15 years. Is this generation, my generation, going to do right by the younger generation?''

Mr Miliband compared today's youth unemployment with problems in the 1980s and said the country needs a prime minister who cares about the issue.

"You don't just need a minister for youth unemployment, you need a prime minister who cares about youth unemployment, because I met somebody in my own constituency a week ago who was looking for work, who was really pretty depressed about the prospect of finding work, and I just remembered growing up in the 1980s and this blight of youth unemployment.

"And the thing you learn is that it takes a very short time to create youth unemployment, it takes a long time, a generation, to undo the effects of it,'' he said.

He added: "The Government came in and got rid of something we introduced called the Future Jobs Fund. Not every programme Labour introduced was a good programme, but I think this was a terrible mistake that they have made.''

Mr Miliband responded to a question about what an audience member referred to as his "lack of ambition'' for the Labour Party by saying that he is not prepared to promise things he may not be able to deliver.

"Part of Nick Clegg's problem is that he made a set of promises he couldn't keep,'' he said.

Mr Miliband added that if he were to follow suit, he would be "like the rest of them'', adding that people have "had enough'' of promises that are not followed up with positive action.

"You've got to make sure you don't make promises you can't keep,'' he said.

Speaking to an audience which included a number of students who will be of voting age in the next general election, Mr Miliband emphasised the importance of voting and remarked that taking the time to vote is not like "climbing Mount Everest''.

He said: "My appeal to people is: stay engaged with politics. People fought for the right to vote. Less than 100 years ago, women were fighting for the right to vote.''

During the session Mr Miliband was asked about whether he thought Twitter was a force for good or evil, to which the politician said he thought it was a "very important medium''.

"I think you have to find different ways of bringing politics to people,'' he added.