By Jonathan Davies

Labour has become the first party to launch its manifesto ahead of the general election, promising that each of its policies are "fully funded" and will not require extra borrowing.

The party's leader Ed Miliband said a Labour government would not embark on a "shopping list of spending policies" and would cut the deficit every year as the party tries to position itself as the "the party of responsibility".

Unveiling the manifesto, Mr Miliband said it "sets out a vow to protect our nation's finances; a clear commitment that every policy... is paid for without a single penny of extra borrowing".

He also said the Conservatives could not be trusted to fund their policies without great borrowing, adding: "In recent days you have seen the Conservatives throwing spending promises around with no idea of where the money is coming from, promises which are unfunded, unfair and unbelievable."

Conservative Treasury minister David Gauke said Labour has "no plan to clear the deficit" and would have to borrow more.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “Keeping the UK economy on track over the coming years will be critical for whichever party is successful at the general election.

“As healthy public finances are a prerequisite for a successful economy, the Labour Party’s focus on fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction are welcome — and business will want to see clear timescales for achieving this.

“Labour’s manifesto includes a number of proposals that are positive for business, including remaining within a reformed EU, establishing an independent infrastructure commission, and focussing on skills. But market interventions in labour and other specific sectors, together with signals on corporation tax, are a cause for concern.”