Labour’s Ukip? Rival emerging as Miliband suffers in polls

Figures from the creative arts world have hit out at Labour by calling for a "new party of the left", as the opposition's economic credibility takes another blow.

Film director Ken Loach, poet Michael Rosen and actor Roger Lloyd Pack were among those blaming Ed Miliband for moving against the unions, attacking him for not blaming the economic crisis on "unfettered capitalism" and pointing out he could not even be clear about his opposition to the bedroom tax in the letter.

It comes as a poll by ICM for the Guardian newspaper released today indicates the opposition still has a mountain to climb to persuade voters it can be trusted again.

Labour is just three points ahead on voting intentions, giving Miliband a limited advantage with just 21 months to go until the next general election.

The Conservatives were down four points to 32%, with Labour slipping one to 35%. Ukip increased its vote share by three points to reach double figures on ten per cent, with the Liberal Democrats up one point to 14%.

Ukip poses a major threat to the Tories at the next general election, but Labour could find itself stripped of its competitive advantage if an alternative left-wing party quickly establishes itself.

"Labour will not provide the opposition to coalition policies that the situation demands," the letter stated.

"We need to provide a genuine alternative to the austerity policies which the three main parties support. A party that is socialist, environmentalist, feminist and opposed to all forms of discrimination."

Left Unity will hold its founding conference in November and poses a potential headache for Miliband, who could see a rival for trade union funding emerge.

"We call on all those who are sick of austerity and war, who want to defend the NHS and our public services, and want to see a fairer Britain, to join us," the letter concluded.

The ICM poll found the number of people trusting Ed Miliband and Ed Balls with the economy had risen from 19% in June to 24% in August.

But the Conservative team of David Cameron and George Osborne saw a much bigger jump in the last two months, up by 12 points from 28% to 40% over the same period.

The improving state of the economy could be behind the general positive trend, as faith in the mainstream parties' ability to provide steady growth slowly recovers.

It is the Tories who are winning the battle, however, suggesting Labour's efforts to focus on cost of living issues for the poorest in society are having only limited success.

ICM interviewed 1,001 randomly selected adults between August 9th and August 11th.