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Ed Balls: 'Stats show Tories haven't fixed the economy'

Responding to today's disappointing economic figures, the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said that the Conservatives "have not fixed the economy for working families".

He said: “Tory economic policy may be helping a few at the top but for most people bills have gone up faster than wages, which are down £1600 a year since 2010.

The shadow Chancellor hit out at today's weak figures Credit: Tom White / PA Wire

"The Tories just don’t understand that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed."

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MPs expenses body loses court battle over receipts

Credit: PA

The regulatory body set up in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal has been told it must release copies of receipts submitted by politicians after losing a Court of Appeal challenge.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was founded in 2009 to independently oversee and regulate MPs business costs and expenses.

Speaking after the ruling, a spokesman said: "We were right to test the point of law through an appeal to see whether images of receipts add anything additional to all the information about MPs' expenditure that we already release.

"We remain completely committed to openness and transparency and already publish a detailed breakdown of every claim made by every MP."

British climber: I thought avalanche would bury me alive

A British climber has told of his terror as huge crevasses opened up around him and chunks of ice and snow threw him to his knees as he scaled the slopes of Mount Everest.

Alex Staniforth was with an expedition group climbing the mountain when a powerful earthquake hit Nepal, triggering an avalanche which claimed at least 18 lives - including three of the group's Nepali guides.

British climber Alex Staniforth has spoken of his terror as the avalanche struck Credit: Alex Staniforth

In an official statement released today, he revealed he believed he would be buried alive.

I was in the icefall when the ground shook; the same force that released huge avalanches full of rock/landslides... I couldn't run due to huge crevasses surrounding me.

I was blinded, thrown to my knees, suffocated by what felt like a snow cannon. I thought this was it - I was going to be buried.

– Alex Staniforth
Base camp was all but destroyed in the avalanche Credit: Alex Staniforth

The avalanche trapped many of the 350 climbers on the mountain at the time, but clear weather has meant helicopters have now been able to rescue everyone.

My team are now safely back at base camp after being evacuated from Camp 1 this morning, as the icefall was impassable due to the earthquake.

Tragically three of our Nepali staff were killed at base camp and I am hugely saddened by their loss. They are very much in my thoughts and I am very lucky to be alive.

– Alex Staniforth

He said he will be staying for a few days to help with the clean-up at base camp, and is due to return to the UK later this week.

Belgian defender critical after heart attack

Lokeren defender Gregory Mertens is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest, his club doctor has said.

Mertens collapsed during a reserve game on Monday against Genk and was treated on the pitch by medical staff from both clubs before being transferred to hospital.

Gregory Mertens collapsed during a reserve game. Credit: PA

Everything points to a cardiac arrest.

I am in constant communication with the treating physicians in Genk. The state of Gregory is still critical.

– Club doctor Kris Peeters speaking to Nieuwsblad.be

His condition is very critical. Gregory is in a medically induced coma, his heart function has been taken over by a machine.

The fate of Gregory is in the hands of the hospital. We hope for a miracle."

– Lokeren spokesman Herman Van de Putte speaking to sporza.be
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