Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has denied that Labour has an "anti-business agenda" after pledging to restore the 50p tax rate for high earners

Ed Balls sparks tax rate debate

Politicians at both ends of the political spectrum need to be more honest about the true motivations behind their tax policies.

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Police launch investigation into Ed Balls driving incident

Police have launched an investigation into an incident in which shadow chancellor Ed Balls drove away after colliding with a parked car without telling the owner.

The Labour MP was involved in the collision in his Morley and Outwood constituency on April 5th.

Ed Balls said he was 'terribly sorry' after colliding with a parked car Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Balls issued a statement saying he had not realised the other car had been damaged but has now apologised to the driver.

"Until I was contacted the following Wednesday, I had no awareness at all that there had been any damage to the other car. As soon as I was made aware of what had happened, I took full responsibility for any damage caused," Mr Balls said.

"I have written to the owner of the other car to say I was terribly sorry and to reimburse the owner concerned for the necessary repair," he added.

Pickles attacks Balls over 'sleeping during Budget' claim

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has hit back at Ed Balls after the shadow chancellor suggested he had fallen asleep during today's Budget speech.

Mr Balls had told a briefing of lobby journalists:

"Eric Pickles fell asleep for a quite extended period of time and Ed [Miliband] and I were worried because, you never know, there might have been some big cut in local government spending coming which he didn't know about so we just politely suggested to Vince Cable that he should wake him up."

In a Twitter reply to the Daily Mail's Tim Shipman, Mr Pickles witheringly dismissed Mr Balls' claims.

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Ed Balls has revealed the Labour front bench spent much of the Budget speech urging Vince Cable to wake up Eric Pickles.

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@shippersunbound my dear chum Shippers wide awake although sleep would have been a blessed release from Lab lacklustre response

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Ed Balls: Wayne Rooney worth the big salary

Manchester United star Wayne Rooney's reported £300,000 a week should not be controlled as his talent attracts the high salary, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has suggested.

Mr Balls said in the footballer's case it was perhaps "genuinely the talent getting the pay" as there is "only one Wayne Rooney" who could go anywhere in the world.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls supports Wayne Rooney receiving a 'big' salary. Credit: PA

Mr Balls made the remarks after he was questioned about Business Secretary Vince Cable's comments in the Observer that he did not understand "why people need a million quid a year".

He told BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics: "I think in some parts of our economy - when it's not a great idea or when it's not the talent of Wayne Rooney - then you do think to yourself these massive multimillion-pound salaries, it feels like a bit of a Ponzi scheme."

Balls rules out VAT cut due to 'daunting' deficit

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has ruled out a reversal of the rise in VAT in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, adding that he is "daunted" by the size of the deficit.

In 2012, Balls called for a temporary cut in VAT in an effort to boost the economy, but says the public finances would not allow such a measure after the next election.

Mr Balls added that the breadth of the "cost of living crisis" meant it was unlikely Labour would restore child benefit for higher earners, even though he would "like to".

Ed Balls outlines Labour's six point budget plan

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Labour Ed Miliband have outlined the party's six point budget plan. In an article in the Sunday Mirror, Labour say they would:

  • Freeze energy bills until 2017 and reform the energy market to stop customers being ripped off
  • Cut taxes for 24 million working people on middle and low incomes with a lower 10p starting rate of income tax
  • Make work pay by expanding free childcare to 25 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds
  • Put young people back to work, with a job the young unemployed have to take – paid for by a tax on bank bonuses
  • Get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 and cut business rates for small firms
  • Balance the books in a fairer way by reversing the £3 billion tax cut for people earning over £150,000

Read: Ed Balls - 'Working people £1,600 a year worse off'

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Ed Balls: 'Working people £1,600 a year worse off'

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has outlined as six point budget plan, saying that the stakes are high for next week's announcement because "working people are on average £1,600 a year worse off".

Ed Balls says the Tories are "out of touch". Credit: Toby Melville/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Mr Balls said: "We can all expect George Osborne and David Cameron to try and claim everything is going well. But that’s totally out of touch when millions of working people on middle and lower incomes are not feeling any recovery at all."

Ed Balls calls for cuts to Help To Buy scheme

Ed Balls also called for an emergency "help to build" scheme. Credit: PA

The Government's programme of taxpayer-funded support for first-time home buyers should be cut back, amid fears rising house prices could push up interest rates, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said.

In an interview with The Guardian, Mr Balls said the unbalanced nature of the housing market risked choking off Britain's economic recovery.

He called on Chancellor George Osborne to reduce the maximum size of a mortgage that qualifies for support under the Help To Buy scheme from £600,000 to £400,000 - with regional caps to reflect the vastly higher prices in London and the South East.

"The low interest rates we need to strengthen growth and business investment are under threat if we do not have a balanced housing market recovery," he said.

George Osborne: Labour needs 'new crystal balls'

Chancellor George Osborne made a joke at Ed Balls' expense after figures showed that Britain's economy went up by 1.9% last year.

Mr Osborne claimed that the shadow chancellor had missed all of his economic forecasts and suggested Labour needed "new crystal balls."

Read: How sustainable is Britain's economic growth?

Ed Balls: This is not a recovery that is built to last

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has welcomed today's economic growth but added that with construction output down and business investment "weak" this was not "a recovery that is built to last."

Today’s growth figures are welcome and long overdue after three damaging years of flatlining. But for working people facing a cost-of-living crisis this is still no recovery at all.

Wages are now down £1600 a year after inflation under David Cameron and tax and benefit changes since 2010 have left families worse off by an average of £891 this year.

And with business investment still weak, construction output down and housing demand outstripping housing supply, this is not yet a recovery that is built to last.

Risks remain in the global economy and simply to catch up all the lost ground since 2010 we need 1.6 per cent growth each quarter between now and the election.

– Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow chancellor

Read: How sustainable is Britain's economic growth?

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