Ed Balls: Speech analysis

Ed Balls today laid out Labour’s economic policy, in effect shelving the cut in VAT as part of the 5-point plan for growth in favour of capital spending. 

The highlights of his economic plan is as follows:

  • A cut in winter fuel allowance on the top 5%, saving 100m by means-testingThe winter fuel payment is worth £200 to those aged over 60, rising to £300 for those over 80. Payments are reduced for couples, so a couple both aged between 60 and 80 get £200 in total, and two over-80s get £300. For those in care homes, the allowance is £100 or £150 for over-80s.

    According to Government figures published last month, withdrawing winter fuel payments from pensioners paying higher rates of tax would save £105 million a year.

  • Freezing the further building of free schools
  • Abolition of police commissioners
  • He hinted he would reinstate the top tax rate at 50p
  • Labour will not increase current spending after 2015-16 from government borrowing plans, but is prepared to increase capital spending above planned totals from savings made from the above. He praised the IMF’s call for an extra £10bn in capital spending.
  • industry should share the cost of their regulators, a merger of the four agencies working for motorists, a takeover of the delivery of High Speed 2 by Network Rail, a rethink on Titan prisons, a cut in the number of senior officers in the navy and army, and a merger of health and social care services.

He said: “If the entire infrastructure boost recommended by the IMF was spent on housing over the next two years, we calculate that it would allow the building of around 400,000 affordable homes across the country, and support over 600,000 new jobs in construction, including 10,000 apprenticeships.”