Ed Balls sets out priorities for ‘first Labour Budget’ – UK

Ed Balls has said he will increase the minimum wage and the top rate of income tax and extend child benefit curbs in his first Budget if Labour wins power.

The shadow chancellor told Labour’s conference the party had “more work to do” to persuade people it can deliver the change he said people wanted.

He said he would act swiftly after the election to reverse housing benefit cuts and boost jobs for young people.

And he hinted that Labour would be prepared to accept Heathrow expansion.

In his last conference address before next year’s election, Mr Balls said Labour had learnt from its “past mistakes” and will not “flinch” from tough decisions if it regains power.

Anticipating his first Budget, which he would be expected to deliver in the summer of 2015 if Labour is elected, Mr Balls said his priorities would be:

  • Rise in minimum wage
  • Cut in business rates
  • Mansion tax on properties worth over £2m
  • 20-month freeze in energy bills
  • Jobs guarantee for young people
  • 50p top rate of income tax
  • Scrapping the “bedroom tax”
  • Extending the 1% cap on child benefit rises to 2017

Mr Balls said Labour was serious about “balancing the books” in the next Parliament and would not “make any promises it cannot keep or afford”.

“The country is crying out for change,” he said. “But we have more work to do to show Labour can deliver the change that people want to see.

“To show that we have learned from our time in government, that we will make the tough decisions we need to get the deficit down and that we can change our economy and make it work for working people.”

As part of what he said was a “fully costed” programme, he announced that the value of child benefits would continue to fall in real terms for the first two years of a Labour government.

Under his plans, child benefit payments would not rise in line with inflation but by a fixed rate of 1% per year until 2017. The policy is already in place until 2016, having been announced by the coalition, but Labour’s move would see it continue for another year.

Millions of households which receive the benefit would be affected by the move.

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Digestible Politics

 

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