Live updates


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".

Tories and Labour blame each other over tax evasion

The Conservatives and Labour have blamed each other for failing to tackle tax evasion after claims HSBC helped wealthy customers hide billions of pounds in secret Swiss accounts.

Of the thousands of names on the list, only one has been prosecuted in Britain.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has more:

Over a thousand Sure Start centres 'could provide extra places'

The charity 4Children has estimated that there are around 1,100 Sure Start centres that could provide additional places if given extra support or direction:

Childcare is one of the biggest financial and logistical challenges for many parents - we know that one in five parents paying for childcare are considering giving up their job or reducing their hours as a result of the financial strain.

With over 3,000 children's centres across the country, and a third telling us they have space to provide more childcare, there is a huge untapped resource which has the potential to both support parents with the challenges of childcare and give children the best start in life.

– Anne Longfield, chief executive, 4Children


Hunt: Charities and private childcare providers would use Sure Start centres

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has admitted that a Labour government would rely on charitable and private childcare providers to put "mothballed" Sure Start centres back into use.

Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hunt said councils would be obliged by law to invite such providers to make use of Sure Start centres:

Blair 'will do what it takes' to help Miliband win election

Tony Blair has promised Ed Miliband his full co-operation during Labour's General Election campaign as the party maintains a slim poll lead despite a week of disputes with business leaders.

Tony Blair 'will do what it takes' to help Ed Miliband win the election . Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

The former prime minister, who led the party to three consecutive election victories, said he "will do whatever the party wants" to help secure victory in May, The Observer reported.

Blair's previous comments that fighting on a "traditional left-wing" platform was a recipe for defeat forced the former Labour leader to insist he had been misinterpreted and that he expected Miliband to follow him into Number 10.

Hunt: 'Put the lights back on, get the kids back in'

Labour has said that the removal of the statutory obligation on councils to provide childcare via Sure Start centres by the coalition Government has directly led to a dramatic decline in numbers.

There are 720 fewer now than in 2010 and many more mothballed or running much-reduced hours.

Hunt: 'Put the lights back on, get the kids back in' Sure Start. Credit: PA

With half of authorities predicting budget cuts will further restrict the service in the next two years, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said it was vital to restore the pressure to "put the lights back on, get the kids back in".

Labour pledges to 'save' Sure Start network

Labour have pledged to reimpose a requirement to local councils to provide childcare via Sure Start centres in a bid to "save" the network, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt announced.

Labour leader Ed Miliband in a Sure Start centre in Feltham. Credit: Press Association

The network of facilities for parents in mostly deprived areas is seen as one of its most significant initiatives of its time in power.

Load more updates