Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has urged the Government to give small businesses taking on new workers a one-year National Insurance tax break and called for VAT to be cut to 5 per cent for homeowners looking to make improvements to their property.
Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool today, Balls urged the Government to implement his five-point plan to help the economy grow and create jobs.
His proposals include a repeat of the bank bonus tax, an immediate reduction of VAT to 5 per cent for people who make improvements to their homes for one year, a temporary reversal of January’s VAT increase from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent and a one-year National Insurance tax break for small firms taking on extra workers. He also urged the Government to bring forward long-term investment projects such as building schools and roads.
Balls said: “That is a plan to help struggling families and small businesses to get our economy growing and create jobs which are the key to getting our deficit down. Action on jobs, investment brought forward, support for families, support for homeowners, support for small businesses – five immediate steps the Government could take tomorrow. If they do so, we will back them.”
He also conceded that Labour did not “regulate banks toughly enough” or do enough to stop their irresponsible practices in Britain and the rest of the world.
Talking about the sale of government stakes in state-owned banks Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland, Balls said Labour would use any windfall from their sale to repay the national debt.
Balls also criticised the heavy cuts the Government has made to public spending, arguing that making such radical cuts so quickly would “choke off the recovery” in the economy.