Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls has challenged the “strong and broad” consensus around the need for spending cuts and warned that a “second storm looms on the horizon”.
In a speech at Bloomberg’s offices in London this morning, Balls slammed the “political and media consensus” that has developed around the need for tough spending cuts. He suggested there was “no mandate from the British people” for the level of cuts being proposed.
He said: “It seems incredible to me that such fundamental and far reaching economic decisions are being taken by the coalition Government with so little debate.”
The Shadow Children and Education Secretary rejected Chancellor George Osborne’s claims that Labour “failed to fix the roof while the sun was shining” and compared the current Coalition Government’s economic policies to “ripping out the foundations of the house just as the hurricane is about to hit”.
He suggested Osborne’s “declaration of cautious optimism” will go down in history alongside “Norman Lamont singing in his bath” – a reference to press reports after the withdrawal of the pound from the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
He said economic policies must be “based on a careful balance between employment, spending and taxation” but only after growth is fully secured.
The speech is likely to be seen as a pitch for the job of Shadow Chancellor should his leadership campaign fail.