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Ed Balls: Labour to cap child benefit rise for two years

Child benefit would see cuts for the first two years of a Labour government, Ed Balls is expected to announce.

The shadow chancellor will say that Labour will cap child benefit for at least two years. Credit: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/Press Association Images

The shadow chancellor will present a 1% cap on rises in the help for parents as one of the "tough decisions" necessary to deal with the deficit if the party takes power next year - claiming it will save the taxpayer £400 million over five years.

He will seek to soften the blow by cutting ministers' pay by 5% and then freezing it until the party is able to "balance the books".

Addressing activists at the Opposition's final annual conference before the general election in May, he will vow not to "flinch from the tough decisions" needed to deal with the economy.

He will tell the Manchester gathering:

I want to see child benefit rising again in line with inflation in the next parliament.

But we will not spend money we cannot afford. So for the first two years of the next parliament we will cap the rise in child benefit at 1%.

It will save £400 million in the next parliament. And all the savings will go towards reducing the deficit.

– Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor

Ed Balls leaves player bloodied in football match

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls as he left an opponent bloodied in the annual football match between Labour and Lobby journalists.

Ed Balls makes a tackle. Credit: @CllrSimonHogg

The shadow chancellor was involved in a nasty clash with Northern Echo hack Rob Merrick as the politicians struggled to overturn a goal deficit at Manchester City's Etihad complex.

The pair were contesting a 50-50 ball on the edge of the Lobby penalty area when a stray elbow from Balls left a slash under the reporter's right eye.

Merrick had to leave the pitch for medical treatment as blood covered his shirt - but later returned to be named man-of-the-match.

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Ed Balls fined over £1,000 for minor road accident

Ed Balls has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 in fines and costs and has had five points put on his driving license after he admitted failing to stop after a minor road collision.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A district judge said the incident in the shadow chancellor's constituency of Morley and Outwood, West Yorkshire, was "at the lower end of the scale of seriousness".

The judge also rejected the option of a total driving ban.

Mr Balls hit the bumper of another car when he was moving out of a car park next to the Labour Unity Club, in Morley in April, causing minor damage.

The Labour politician already had three points on his license after going through a red light in central London in 2012.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is 'facing driving ban'

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls could be banned from driving today for failing to stop after bumping into another car.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls could lose his licence or be fined up to £5,000. Credit: PA

The Labour front-bencher claims he was unaware he damaged another vehicle as he attempted a "tight manoeuvre" in his constituency of Morley and Outwood in West Yorkshire on April 5.

His office said he would not be contesting the charge and would respond to Leeds Magistrates in writing.

The offence of failing to stop after an accident can incur five to 10 penalty points, disqualification, a fine of up to £5,000 or, in the most serious cases, a jail sentence of up to six months.

Mr Balls is understood to have three points on his licence already - and will be in line for a ban if he ends up with 12 or more.

Enterprise means 'prosperity and economic security'

More business and enterprise means "prosperity and economic security for us all", according to David Cameron

In a major speech on the economy to be given alter today, the PM is expected to say:

As part of our long-term economic plan we are backing business and ensuring our budding entrepreneurs get the finance and support they need to kick-start and grow their businesses.

Business and enterprise mean more jobs for hard working people; more opportunities for people to break out on their own and be their own boss; and more prosperity and economic security for us all.

– David Cameron

Balls accuses Conservatives of cutting taxes for the rich

Ed Balls will criticise the Conservatives for cutting taxes "at the top" and doing nothing to help those on low incomes increase their wealth.

In a speech given in Bedford, Mr Balls will say:

We know the Tories' real economic plan - it's to cut taxes at the top and hope that wealth will just trickle down.

Having already cut taxes for millionaires in this Parliament, they're champing at the bit to do it again if they win the election - cutting the top rate of tax for people earning over £150,000 again from 45p to 40p. Another tax cut worth £3 billion for the richest 1% of our country.

– Ed Balls

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Cameron and Balls set out visions on economy

David Cameron and Ed Balls will both set out what they want to see from the economy in separate speeches later today.

The IMF has raised its forecast for the economy twice in 2014. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister will announce a £100 million cash injection into the "Business Bank", where the Government provides loans to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

The Conservative party leader will also claim the Government has reached a significant milestone by awarding the 20,000th loan to an entrepreneur.

However, Labour's Ed Balls will hit out at the drop in real-terms wages and criticise the Government for failing to act.

The Shadow Chancellor is expected to say average earnings having fallen by £1,600 in real terms since 2010, the current parliament will be the first since the 1920s when real earnings will be lower at the end than they were at the beginning.

Ed Balls pledges to keep low corporation tax rate

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is to set out how Labour would help nurture British business by maintaining the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G7 group of major industrialised nations.

At a speech in London, Mr Balls will say: "The last Labour Government left Britain with the most competitive rate of corporation tax in the G7 and we are committed to maintaining that position."

Ed Balls is setting out how business taxes would look under a Labour government. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/Press Association Images

However he will also argue that a further cut in corporation tax next year is not "the right priority", instead committing Labour to a freeze on business rates that would affect 1.5 million business properties.

He will say the aim of Labour's business tax approach will be to make the UK "a great place to do business, not simply a cheap place to shift their profits".

Ed Balls: 'Cameron has lost control, Britain is suffering'

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the Prime Minister's actions in Brussels this week were "catastrophe for Britain and the British national interest."

"We won't be influential in the world, unless we are influential in Europe," he told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show.

Ed Balls said David Cameron 'has lost control'. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"I've never seen a negotiation so cack-handed," Mr Balls said about David Cameron's failure to stop the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new head of the European Commission.

Mr Balls said about the Prime Minister: "He's weak, he's lost control, he's on the back foot, Britain is suffering. I think it's catastrophic for Britain."

Ed Balls: Jon Cruddas 'excited' by Labour reforms

Ed Balls said policy chief Jon Cruddas was "excited" by the party's agenda despite him claiming that Labour was stopping bold reforms in favour of "cynical nuggets of policy."

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/

The shadow chancellor told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "I talked to Jon a couple of days ago and he's not frustrated, he's excited about his policy agenda.

"He's frustrated by the way in which one report of 250 pages gets reduced down to one headline."

He added: "Jon Cruddas, with me and Ed and others, has been working for years on big reforms, they're going to come out in the next few months, people will see the policy review he has led has been a big deal."

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