ED BALLS yesterday committed not to borrow any money in order to fund promises in Labour’s election manifesto in a speech at the party’s conference in Manchester.
Announcing plans to extend the freeze on child benefit and curb ministers’ pay, the shadow chancellor prepared Labour voters for difficult decisions in a speech designed to bolster his party’s economic credibility.
“In our manifesto there will be no proposals for any new spending paid for by additional borrowing,” Balls said. “We will not make promises we cannot keep and cannot afford.”
The speech received a mixed reaction. Director general of the Confederation of British Industry John Cridland welcomed the lack of surprises, adding: “Balancing the books is a given for whoever is in government next, so the business community will be reassured by Mr Balls reaffirming Labour’s commitment to fiscal discipline.”
Simon Walker, from the Institute of Directors, warned of the risks associated with higher income taxes.
“Bringing back the 50p rate would raise an insignificant amount for the taxman while sending a clear signal that Britain doesn’t want wealth-creators,” he said.