Miliband’s new year’s resolution: Come up with some policies

The Labour party will begin providing detailed policy proposals next year, Ed Miliband has promised in his new year's message.

Coalition ministers have repeatedly criticised the opposition for not having any distinctive alternatives to their policies in the first half of this parliament.

Now, with Labour's policy review making steady progress under the direction of Jon Cruddas, Miliband has pledged to provide more details of the alternatives on offer from a Labour government in 2013.

"I've set out a vision of what this country can be, 'one nation', and in 2013 we will be setting out concrete steps on making that vision a reality from business to education to welfare," the Labour leader said.

"I don't offer easy answers and I'm not going to offer false promises either. But I do believe Britain can be better than it is. There can be hope for people again."

The new year message also looks forward to next year's comprehensive spending review, when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will offer full austerity plans to extend spending cuts well into the next parliament.

Miliband added: "That's what 'one nation' is all about, a country we rebuild together where everyone plays their part and 'one nation' Labour is about reaching out to every part of Britain.

"It's about a party that is as much the party of the private sector as the public sector, a party of south as well as north, a party determined to fight for the future of the United Kingdom, and a party rooted in every community of our land."

Part of that message appeared to clash with a recommendation from John Denham that the party should drop talk of a north-south divide in a bid to get more votes from the south of England, the Times reported.

Denham also reportedly suggested shadow Cabinet minister should use more stories about struggling southern voters in speeches.

Miliband's new year message began with an anecdote about his visit to a food bank in London, where he met a man who had walked 11 miles for a job interview.

"It tells me about the indomitable spirit of people trying to find work even in difficult circumstances, but it also teaches me about politics and what politics must do," he said.

"We've all at least got to imagine walking in the shoes of others, to be the man who walked 11 miles to the job interview, that's what it means to be a 'one nation' prime minister."