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Ed Balls warns against 'flirting' with European Union exit

Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said that Britain "shouldn't flirt" with the idea of exiting the European Union.

He told attendees at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference that Britain walking out of the EU was the "biggest risk to our economy in the next decade".

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Balls to blast Tories over 'damaging' EU exit hints

A British exit from the European Union is the greatest threat facing the country's economy in the next decade, Ed Balls will say as he attacks Conservative ministers for creating uncertainty for the country's businesses.

The shadow chancellor will acknowledge the need for reform of the EU but will hit out at David Cameron's policy of offering an in/out referendum, warning the Tories are "flirting with exit" for narrow political party interests.

Labour frontbenchers Mr Balls and Chuka Umunna will address the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference and stress the party's pro-business agenda following a string of attacks from senior corporate figures in recent days.

Mr Balls is expected to say:

Because Britain walking out of the EU is the biggest risk to our economy in the next decade. EU exit risks British jobs, trade and investment and the future prosperity of the UK. And every comment by senior Cabinet ministers saying they would be happy or relaxed to see us walk out, and every hint that a referendum could happen as early as next year - before any meaningful reform agenda could be achieved - only adds to the uncertainty and risk for British businesses.

– Ed Balls

Cameron mocks Ed Balls for 'Bill somebody' gaffe at PMQs

Labour faced ridicule from David Cameron after Ed Balls forgot the name of one of the party's business supporters in an interview.

David Cameron mocked shadow chancellor Ed Balls failed to remember the name of the man who chaired Labour's small business taskforce, identifying him only as "Bill".

Mr Cameron seized on Mr Balls' gaffe, claiming that the shadow chancellor could only identify "Bill somebody" when he was asked for the name of a business leader who supported Labour.

Cameron mocks Balls' 'Bill somebody' gaffe at PMQs Credit: PA Wire

The Prime Minister joked: "Bill somebody isn't a person, bill somebody is Labour's policy."

In a BBC interview, Mr Balls failed to remember the full name of Bill Thomas, the former HP and EDS executive who is leading Labour's small business taskforce.

Labour leader Ed Miliband responded by accusing the Prime Minister of failing to act to close a tax loophole for hedge funds because "too many of his friends would get caught in the net".

Ed Balls calls for support for North Sea oil industry

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has written an article calling for the protection of the North Sea oil industry amid plummeting oil prices.

Writing in the Press and Journal ahead of a visit to Aberdeen with Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, he warned that the industry was "at a cross-roads" and called for a resilience fund for oil workers and tax incentives:

The oil industry is vital to the Scottish economy and nobody can doubt it needs support. There's nothing to stop the SNP Government in Edinburgh setting this up now. There's no time to waste ...

We need to see urgent action to improve the tax incentives for North Sea oil investment. And if George Osborne fails to act then I am clear that, after the general election in May, a UK Labour government will. Because failing to act will not only risk jobs and investment now, it will also cost the UK taxpayer in the long-term as we lose revenue from oil that gets left in the ground.

– ed balls, shadow chancellor

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Ed Balls congratulates newest Labour MP after win

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has congratulated Labour's newest MP after she won the Heywood and Middleton byelection:

McInnes was elected just 617 votes ahead of the Ukip candidate and was jeered as she made her victory speech last night.

Labour insist Queen would pay new mansion tax

Labour insist the Queen will pay mansion tax on homes worth over £2 million. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Queen and other royals would pay Labour's mansion tax like any other wealthy property owner, according to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.

Labour plan to partly-fund a boost in NHS spending via a charge on homes worth over £2 million and Mr Balls told Sky News' Murnaghan programme that the tax will also be levied against Royal residences.

Mr Balls said: "We have fair and tough rules for the financing of the Royal Household but members of the Royal Household pay taxes just like everybody else and rightly so. There aren't different rules for anybody. That's the nature of our society."

Balls: 'I want child benefit to go up in next Parliament'

Labour wants child benefit to rise within the next Parliament, but that will only be possible if it is capped for the first two years, Ed Balls has said.

The Shadow chancellor told Good Morning Britain he "would not be being straight" with voters if he did not put some restrictions on welfare, given the deficit the government has been struggling with after the 2008 crash.

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