Labour under fire over Balls U-turn on cuts

Tim Wallace
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LABOUR will not reverse the coalition’s spending cuts, despite spending the last 18 months describing them as “too far, too fast,” shadow chancellor Ed Balls has announced.

He acknowledged that to become “credible” Labour must make “a clear commitment to balanced but tough spending and budget discipline.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday confirmed he would not oppose the government’s public sector pay freeze, arguing that, in a trade-off between employment and pay, employment must take priority.

In a speech to the Fabians, Balls maintained that George Osborne’s deficit reduction plan had “choked off the recovery” meaning “the next Labour government will inherit a substantial deficit that we will have to deal with”.

However, “we cannot make any commitments now that the next Labour government will reverse tax rises or spending cuts,” he said.

Deputy Conservative party chairman Michael Fallon hit out at Labour’s “confused” stance.

“Today they support cuts in principle while at the same time opposing billions of pounds of cuts every week,” he said.

“By U-turning and claiming cuts are now needed, Balls and Miliband look like they are conceding defeat.”