Ed Balls apologises for failing to see crisis

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has apologised for his and Labour’s failings in the run up to the financial crash saying they should have been more stringent in regulating the banks.

Last night, in his Budget response broadcast, Balls dismissed Conservative claims that the deficit was down to Labour profligacy saying the “irresponsible actions” of banks were to blame.

He said: “But it was also the fault of governments and central banks – including the UK’s – who did not see the financial crisis coming and should have been tougher in regulating the banks. I would like to say sorry for the part that I and the last Labour government played in that.”

The coalition’s deficit reduction plan leans heavily on cuts to public spending and Balls said this is why the Government pins the blame for spending cuts on overspending by Labour.

He said: “The Conservatives want you to believe it was too much spending on schools, hospitals and police which caused the recession and the deficit, because they want an excuse to cut spending on those services now.”

He called on the Government to repeat the bank bonus tax this year and to use the money to build affordable homes, invest in job creation and to “strengthen the economy”.

He also attacked Chancellor’s George Osborne’s economic policy saying the economy has stopped growing, prices are rising and that Government borrowing was higher in February this year than last year when Labour was in Government.

He said: “For the sake of our country’s future, he needs to think again and start putting jobs and growth first, and he needs to do it now.”