Labour say they would run the economy with 'iron discipline' if they are elected. But a former spin doctor causes controversy in Brighton.
Aiming to show that Labour is ready to deal with the deficit, the shadow Chancellor has got pensioners paying top rate tax in his sights.
The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls says George Osborne's creditability has been damaged by today's Autumn Statement.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has urged the Government to "get a grip" on the costs of the HS2 rail scheme to ensure the project was value for money.
Mr Balls stressed that Labour had supported HS2 "in the past", but said it was vital that costs "stacked up".
An official report released today revealed that the estimated economic benefits of the £50 billion project are dwindling.
Mr Balls said: "We have supported HS2 and there is a case for new investment in a new North-South rail link. But when you have got a project of this scale - £50 billion potentially - you have got to know that it is really value for money.
"In the last couple of years the Government has been all over the place and the costs have got out of control. So my message to David Cameron and George Osborne is 'Get a grip - you shouldn't be cheerleaders, you should be taking a hard-headed look at costs and benefits'."
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who suffers from a stammer, has hailed the "fabulous example" of schoolboy Musharaf Asghar whose battle against a speech disorder in a bid to gain an English GCSE was featured in the documentary Educating Yorkshire.
Mr Balls said: "For kids right across the country, I hope they watched that programme and think, 'If Musha can do a GCSE and do that speech, then so can I,' and that's the key thing."
He added: "I hope that this programme and the fabulous example of Musha will give confidence to stammerers, children and adults, across our region, across the country and their parents too.
"With the right help and support and by being open and talking about it, you can succeed and do well, it's not something that should hold you back."
After three damaging years of flatlining, it's both welcome and long overdue that our economy is growing again.
But for millions of people across the country still seeing prices rising faster than their wages this is no recovery at all.
– Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor
Working people are on average over £1500 a year worse off since David Cameron came to office, yet very high earners have enjoyed a huge tax cut. And on the cost of living, growth and the deficit, this Government have failed every test they set themselves in 2010.
We now need action to secure a strong, balanced and sustainable recovery that works for the many, not just a few at the top. And simply to catch up all the lost ground since 2010 we would need 1.5 per cent growth in every quarter between now and the election.
The shadow chancellor Ed Balls has spoken in detail about how he copes with a stammer.
He told Daybreak he only realised he suffered from the speech impediment when he became a Cabinet minister, and admitted there were a number of occasions he found it upsetting, particularly during heated Westminster debates.
Mr Balls was promoting a new initiative launched by the British Stammering Association to encourage those who suffer from a stammer to talk openly about it and to encourage employers make sure they look beyond the stammer during an interview.
Today is International Stammering Awareness Day. Around 1% of the population lives with a stammer, with men are four times more likely to be afflicted than women, according to the NHS.
The Labour leader Ed Miliband wished David Cameron "Happy Birthday" at the start of Prime Minister's Questions.
Later as the leaders argued over the cost of living, energy prices and the economy, Mr Cameron said "the best birthday present I could have - the Shadow Chancellor (Ed Balls) staying in the Shadow Cabinet".
He later added his special birthday treat was Mr Balls revealing that alongside Mr Miliband, Labour would win the next election "because of their experience, track record and credibility".
He said: "That's like the captain of the Titanic running on his safety record."
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said the government should review the Help to Buy scheme now, rather than annually.
He said: "It's totally ill-thought through for George Osborne to decide that a scheme which should be about helping first time buyers will allow taxpayer backed mortgages for homes worth up to £600,000.
"And George Osborne is still failing to address the fundamental problem of the lowest level of house building since the 1920s.
"You can't deal with the cost of living crisis without building more homes."
The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said he was "horrified" by reports that his former boss Gordon Brown had asked his spin doctor to "brief against" members of the Labour cabinet.
Mr Brown's former spin doctor Damian McBride said he carried out political assassinations against three former cabinet ministers John Reid, Charles Clarke and Ivan Lewis, at the former Prime Minister's request.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference, Ed Balls said: "I have never done or sanctioned any briefing against a shadow cabinet or cabinet colleague."
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the HS2 rail project has been mismanaged by the government and that there would be "no blank cheque" from Labour after costs escalated.
He told Labour's party conference: "We support investment in better transport links for the future, we continue to back the idea of a new north-south rail link but under this government the High Speed 2 project has been totally mismanaged and the costs have shot up to £50 billion.
"David Cameron and George Osborne have made clear they will go full steam ahead with this project – no matter how much the costs spiral up and up. They seem willing to put their own pride and vanity above best value for money for the taxpayer.
"We will not take this irresponsible approach. Let us be clear, in tough times – when there is less money around and a big deficit to get down – there will be no blank cheque from me as a Labour chancellor for this project or for any project.
"Because the question is - not just whether a new High Speed line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it is the best way to spend £50 billion for the future of our country."
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has made a joke about David Cameron's manhood at Labour's party conference in Brighton.
Mr Balls, who was referring to a picture published in The Daily Telegraph of a topless Prime Minister, said he had a "surprisingly small towel".
ITV News' Political Editor Tom Bradby said: "I think that Ed Balls suggesting the Prime Minister is somewhat small in the manhood department is a bit of a new low, even for modern politics."