The big dividing line at the coming general election will be between a Labour Party determined to protect frontline services and a Conservative Party seeking "blanket public spending costs", Gordon Brown said.
Speaking on the first day of Labour's last annual conference before the election in Brighton, The Prime Minister said that there was a "huge difference" between his approach and that of David Cameron's Tories, even though he has now accepted the need for cuts.
While the Tories would start cutting state spending now, Labour would delay reductions until after the recession has ended, he said.
And he said no other country in the world was following the Conservative strategy of cutting spending during the downturn.
Mr Brown told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "That is really the political divide. We are determined to protect frontline services - all the advances we have made in schools and hospitals and policing.
"I think you will find that on the opposite side, there is a determination to have blanket public spending cuts which would be bad for the economy and bad for the public services."
He added: "There is a huge difference. Let's be clear, the Conservatives would have cut £5 billion this year - they wouldn't have supported the programme to take us out of recession. We would still be even more deeply in recession under the Conservatives, unemployment would be higher, deficits would be higher, debt would be higher, more small businesses would go under.
"As far as the future is concerned, they would cut £30 billion next year. So you start from a proposition that the Conservatives are cutting now and they would cut massively next year, even before we are absolutely sure we are out of recession."