Ed Miliband has launched an attack on the UK Independence Party (Ukip), insisting that it does not have the answer to the problems besetting the country.

With Nigel Farage's party widely expected to top the poll in Thursday's elections to the European Parliament, the Labour leader acknowledged there was "deep discontent" at the way the country was being run.

But campaigning in Crawley, he said that the only alternative Ukip had to offer was a combination of even deeper cuts than the coalition and higher unemployment with its demand for withdrawal from the European Union.

"If the question on the ballot paper next Thursday is whether we can turn Britain from a country run for a few at the top to a country run for working people once again, Ukip is not the answer," he said.

"They claim to offer something new. But what are their answers? 'Keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive'. Bigger cuts than the Tories. Charges to see your GP. Leave Europe with all that means for investment and jobs.

"Friends, this agenda will never serve the working people of Britain."

Meanwhile Mr Farage defended controversial remarks that he would be concerned if a group of Romanians were to move in next door to him, insisting they were not racist.

"The unfortunate reality is that we are in political union with a post-Communist country that has become highly susceptible to organised crime," he said in a statement.

"Where there are differential crime rates between nationalities, it is perfectly legitimate to point this out and to discuss it in the public sphere and I shall continue to do so.

"Police figures are quite clear that there is a high level of criminality within the Romanian community in Britain. This is not to say for a moment that all or even most Romanian people living in the UK are criminals.

"But it is to say that any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door.

"So far as I can see most of those media commentators objecting to this statement are people living in million pound houses for whom the prospect of such a turn of events is not a real one."