Balls criticised over plan to use 4G proceeds to build homes

THE INSTITUTE of Directors (IoD) yesterday criticised shadow chancellor Ed Balls after he proposed using £4bn from the sale of 4G mobile phone licences to subsidise affordable homes.

“The windfall from the 4G auction is a rare bit of good news for the public finances, and any money it raises must be used wisely,” said the IoD’s chief economist Graeme Leach. “Ideally, it should be put into the essential process of deficit reduction – or if it’s going to be spent, then spend it on the infrastructure which will support economic growth.”

Union leaders also expressed their displeasure after Balls reiterated his commitment to a public sector pay freeze, on the basis that protecting jobs is more important than wage increases.

“We cannot make any commitments now that the next Labour government will be able to reverse particular tax rises or spending cuts. Because, unlike Nick Clegg, we will not make promises we cannot keep,” the MP said in a speech at the Labour conference.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, called for an end to the “false choice of jobs or wages”.